How Media Bias Actually Works: A Case Study

Leftist media bias isn’t limited to the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and the rest. It operates at all levels of the establishment media. Last Wednesday, the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota published a piece that is a textbook example of how Leftist “journalists” present news articles designed to manipulate the public into holding the views they wish them to hold.

Wrote Argus Leader reporter Joe Sneve: “Mike Gunn, a retired business owner and a dark horse in the 2018 Sioux Falls mayoral race, drew attention from the nonprofit South Dakota Voices for Justice for a series of Facebook posts expressing support for tighter immigration laws and alarmism over the country’s increasing Muslim population.”

So right off the bat, we have Mike Gunn against the South Dakota Voices for Justice, which makes it sound as if Gunn is against justice. The candidate’s crime was actually that he shared posts from “the Facebook page of Americans First, Task Force of Aberdeen SD, a self-described educational page that regularly shares memes and news stories critical of Islam.” It’s a “self-described” educational page, you see: Sneve is semaphoring that readers should approach this group with skepticism.

And what post did Gunn share? “The post in question included a story from the website JihadWatch.com stating the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is tied to terrorist organizations. Similar claims have been made by Republican and conservative office seekers throughout the country who site [sic] a Center for Security Policy report linking the organization to terrorist groups in the Middle East.”

This gives readers the impression that Jihad Watch (which is the website that I operate) and the Center for Security Policy are responsible for the claim that CAIR is tied to terrorist organizations.

So I wrote to Joe Sneve and pointed out that it was not I who stated that CAIR was tied to terrorist organizations, but the Justice Department. I sent him this link to substantiate what I was saying. Sneve, however, wrote back saying that after consulting with his editor, they had decided not to change the wording of their story.

Sneve’s story continued: “But the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation, has repeatedly defended CAIR and says the Center for Security Policy is an anti-Muslim extremist group.”

In my email to Sneve, I also wrote: “I wonder if you are familiar with the charges that the Southern Poverty Law Center is not a neutral arbiter of what constitutes an ‘extremist’ group and what does not, but has been harshly and justifiably criticized for turning a blind eye to Islamist extremist groups such as CAIR while defaming legitimate conservative organizations with their ‘extremist’ label.” Sneve never responded to this.

Note also that he describes the SPLC as “a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation.” In contrast to how he treated the Americans First group, Sneve slaps no “self-described” qualifier on his description of the SPLC despite considerable evidence that it is not a neutral arbiter. The evidence points to it being a hard-Left smear group that uses its “extremist” label to tar legitimate groups that oppose its Leftist agenda.

Sneve is no different from hordes of other establishment media self-described reporters in larger markets. It is virtually universal practice for mainstream reporters to treat Hamas-linked CAIR and the defamation factory SPLC as if they were reliable sources, and to force conservatives such as Mike Gunn to defend themselves against their charges.

In a sane world, people such as Mike Gunn would be lauded for his determination to defend the nation. The story would be about Joe Sneve and the Argus Leader, and their manipulative propaganda designed to intimidate and shame people such as Mike Gunn into being afraid to stand for the national defense.

But you’re only going to read that here at PJ Media, one of the Internet’s few and rapidly diminishing islands of sanity.