Some of you may be bothered by the fact that NBC News lied and is now lying about its lies in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. As Breitbart.com reported while all the mainstream outlets except the Washington Post looked the other way, NBC News edited a tape of Zimmerman’s 911 call to make Zimmerman sound like a racist. A full description of the scurrilous edit is at the link.
When they were caught in their dishonesty, NBC News temporized. When they could no longer temporize, they scapegoated a single unnamed producer, firing him late on the Friday before Easter/Passover weekend so no one would notice. Then NBC News President Steve Capus released a statement to Reuters saying the deliberate editing of the tape to misrepresent the phone call was “a mistake and not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call.”
Some of you may read that statement and say to yourself, “Golly, Klavan on the Culture! How can Mr. Capus keep the word News in his title and not curl up in a ball of shame while tearing at his own flesh with his fingernails and begging God to forgive him for having sunk to depths of disingenuousness unimaginable to any real news person?” And some others of you may scratch your heads and wonder, “Gee! How come Andrew Breitbart was accused of dishonesty and racism when he posted edited videos of Shirley Sherrod, even though he attached a post explaining the edited context?” After which, you might add, “Crikey! Didn’t Breitbart respond to the accusations by making every piece of material in the Sherrod case readily available online?” And you might go on to remark, “Holy Moly, whatever a Moly is! Isn’t it kind of unfair that when NBC News actually has been dishonest and racist — and when they’ve responded to being caught in their dishonest racism by being even more dishonest — the news media doesn’t accuse them of anything at all but merely puts their collective fingers in their collective ears and whistles Dixie?”
Ah well. I can explain. There’s a double standard — but that’s okay! You see, NBC News is allowed to lie and get away with it because they’re good. Breitbart couldn’t even tell the truth without catching hell because he was bad. See the difference? It’s subtle I know — in fact, it’s so subtle you may have to be a big time literary theorist and legal scholar to understand it. So let’s turn for an explanation to big time literary theorist and legal scholar Stanley Fish.
Recently (as my colleague Michael Walsh pointed out to me) Stanley Fish wrote an article for the New York Times explaining why there was a firestorm when Rush Limbaugh made an inappropriate remark about a woman whereas Bill Maher and Ed Schultz made even worse sexist remarks but remained relatively unscathed. “Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice,” Stanley Fish and his mighty mind explained. “Rush Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy.” There you have it. It’s okay when leftists are evil because they’re good; but it’s evil when patriots are good because they’re evil.
Now I understand you may need a few more years of graduate school before you can understand the reasoning of a very smart man like Stanley Fish, but it’s worth the effort because with a presidential election coming up, I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a lot more lies from the mainstream media like the ones we saw from NBC News. And I wouldn’t want you to think that mainstream journalists were being evil when they were only being evil out of goodness. Because if you couldn’t see that their evil was good because they were good when they were being evil, you might carry Mr. Capus and some of his MSM buddies out of their offices and tar and feather them in the public square.
And that would be evil. Or good. Really, it’s hard to say.