The competition for the most loathsome news organization in the U.S is fierce.
Based on their offenses against the basic tenets of journalism seen during just the past two weeks, some of which would have made the propagandists at the former Soviet Union’s Pravda blush, three lame losers — Politico, the Huffington Post, and the Associated Press — have emerged as leaders of the left agenda-promoting, Barack Obama keister-covering brigade.
Politico is the trailblazer in frequently tailoring and even altering its coverage to minimize Obama administration embarrassment. The practice makes a mockery of its “Our Story” page promise of “tough, fair and fun coverage of politics and government” while “delivering nonpartisan news, fast, fair and first.”
On August 4, the web site’s Kyle Cheney published an item headlined “Poor attendance at Obamacare event in Virginia.” The headline perfectly fit the story. At one such gathering orchestrated by the Obama agenda-promoting Organizing for Action in the Metro DC community of Centreville, “Just one volunteer stayed … and the event’s organizer bolted after 20 minutes.”
The next day, Reid Epstein outdid these headline fixers. In a writeup about OFA’s totally unsurprising and questionably legal involvement in efforts to assist Democratic candidates in electoral contests, he informed readers that two people he had already interviewed for his story “asked to be removed” — and that he had honored their requests. The two people involved begged off “after receiving a phone call” from OFA Executive Director Jon Carson.
So the leader of Obama’s political shock troops gets to dictate what material Politico can and can’t use. And they still expect us to believe that they’re really journalists?
Two other Politico items seem to pale in comparison to the first two just noted, but are remarkable for their studious attempt to avoid an inconvenient yet truthful word. As the disgusting bipartisan spectacle of Congress exempting itself and its aides from the ravages of Obamacare by allowing the federal government to continue paying nearly 75 percent of their healthcare premiums unfolded in late July and early August, reports co-authored by John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman, except in one quote from a Republican senator, somehow avoided using any form of the word “exempt.” Their preferred description: “Obamacare fix.”
The Huffington Post has had its own recent rough and rotten self-inflicted run.
On July 29, it withdrew and replaced a disgracefully erroneous, completely unchecked report by a University of Kansas undergrad who misrepresented his status there about how “Doubling McDonald’s Salaries Would Cause Your Big Mac To Cost Just 68¢ More.” The truth? The average price of Mickey D’s signature sandwich would have to increase by $1.28 to $5.27, a 32 percent hike. But it’s all good, because the haughty HuffPo found an “expert” to claim that “McDonald’s is so vast and lucrative that it could easily survive a major wage increase.” Not if none of its other competitors followed their suicidal lead.
On August 7, HuffPo’s Nick Wing — or is it “Nick Left-Wing Nut”? — ever on the alert for opportunities to smear potential Republican presidential contenders, reported the following context-free statement by Rick Santorum about certain supporters of the “pro-choice” movement:
“They make it uncomfortable for students who come to Austin to shower at a Young Men’s Christian Association, YMCA, gym,” he said.
In isolation, it appeared that Santorum might have been referring to worries about homosexual or other assault. Many lefty loons with keyboards who read Wing’s woeful piece had no difficulty inferring that.
There’s only one problem. Byron York at the Washington Examiner, doing work Wing should have done himself, pointed to a story (“Anti-abortion group says it was bullied out of YMCA”) published four weeks earlier at KVUE in Austin. Specifically, a YMCA, which had allowed a group of out-of town pro-life protesters to take nightly showers there for a week, backed out of their agreement after one night because “there were some people that support abortion who talked to our staff, intimidated them. They actually said that they felt threatened, and they asked us not to come back.”
So Santorum was right, for reasons that had everything to do with pro-aborts acting like thugs and nothing to do with his personal-issue positions. Though HuffPo posted a prominent update, others who linked to it have either ignored it or twisted the situation to legitimize the Y’s cowardly excuse that the pro-lifers, by entering and leaving its facilities wearing T-shirts supporting their cause, were somehow “bringing a political debate” into their precious building. Over at HuffPo, I suspect that the prevailing sentiment is: “Mission (mostly) accomplished.”
Politico’s and HuffPo’s hypocritical poses, their sheer volume of misinformation and disinformation, and their obsequious treatment of the Obama administration, leftists, and Democrats make them arguably closer to being official wings of the Democratic National Committee than even the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press.
Not that the AP isn’t trying mightily.
On August 7, the wire service’s Russ Bynum inserted unspoken words into a direct quote from Obama’s appearance on Jay Leno’s NBC show to make it appear as if the president didn’t misspeak when he referred to Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida as ports “along the Gulf”:
“If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — (and in) places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla. — if we don’t do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we’ll lose jobs,” Obama said.
After a tidal wave of outrage and ridicule administered by Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, and center-right sites like Twitchy.com, which first discovered Russ’s ruse, the AP issued a childish “correction.” Its introduction still would not concede that Obama had committed a gaffe. The revised story itself, which is what will remain in the historical record, let Obama’s quote stand without its parenthetical addition, but failed to note that his statement was factually wrong.
All three of these faux news organizations are suffering as a result of their persistent patterns of bias and ignorance. None of them seem to really care.
Drudge reports that HuffPo, which became part of AOL in 2011 as a result of “Huffington’s Heist” — in which Arianna Huffington pocketed an estimated $18 million and a plush CEO job after building her “business” on the backs of unpaid content contributors for over five years — “is said to have lost $7 million last year.”
AP, organized as a not-for-profit cooperative, has seen its newspaper subscriber base shrink from roughly 1,700 in 2005 to 1,400 in 2011. Employment fell by over 6 percent in 2012. An expected decline in revenues this year will be the wire service’s fifth straight. The AP Stylebook has turned into a parody of political correctness, potentially courting widespread rejection by everyday news consumers. Difficult contract negotiations with its Occupy movement-sympathetic union loom.
Still, AP’s subscriber base, its influence on broadcast and online outlets, and its completely undeserved but still widely perceived reputation for objectivity make it the most perniciously negative news organization in the U.S. Far too many still treat AP content as presumptive gospel.
These three news organizations are likely among the cadre of supposedly legitimate “media outlets” to which Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who believes that the government “must define a journalist” and determine their “constitutional and statutory protections,” would want to provide full First Amendment protections. Everyone else? You would apparently be at the government’s tender mercies.
A recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial asserted that if Durbin ever gets his way, “our republic and the liberty it guarantees are in trouble.”
Actually, thanks to the journalistic malfeasance at the three news organizations just discussed and at so many others imitating their Pravda-like practices, they already are.