No new hot take ground is being broken with the opinion in that headline, I know. Still, I began writing about politics almost twenty years ago in protest of liberal bias in the media, and I’m still compelled to do so.
This week is wrapping up with two Mainstream Media (MSM) attack frenzies that are galling for the free press, and disheartening for the future of journalism.
This first came Thursday, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein launched a desperate 11th hour #MeToo smear on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Feinstein’s handling of the matter was so egregiously awful that her own Democratic colleagues, and even MSNBC, have taken her to task over it.
The “story” thus far is that Kavanaugh is being accused of committing sexual assault when he was a teenager. Allegedly. The woman accusing him prefers to remain anonymous and, according to what little information there is about this, has no interest in pursuing it.
Judge Kavanaugh unequivocally denies the allegation.
If true, it’s obviously damning. Then again, if true, why would Feinstein sit on it for so long? That’s the aspect of this story that is so fishy. This is certainly the kind of thing that would merit immediate scrutiny by all concerned in the confirmation process.
Noted #MeToo journalist Ronan Farrow got on the case and the most damning thing he could unearth was the concern over Feinstein’s handling of the information.
Not content to coast into the weekend with just one hit piece under their belts, the MSM decided to turn on UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for a Friday smear about…the cost of draperies.
Let us pause briefly to have a good chuckle over the fact that the same people who champion taxpayer-funded healthcare and education for illegal aliens are feigning concern about government spending in the tens of thousands of dollars, or at all.
Here is the key fact from this Times exposure of this huge scandal:
A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.
There is absolutely no follow-up on that by the “reporter” so it’s pretty easy to infer that it was confirmed.
With that, the crux of the scandalous news disappears.
One would think that the Times taking the teeth out of its own story would be enough to kneecap it and keep it from proliferating.
One would be wrong.
Of all of the supposed ills wrought by social media, perhaps the worst is that it has created legions of people who merely read headlines or tweets and fancy themselves well-informed. They then share the headlines or tweets and — Voila! — thousands of people who never bothered to read the original material are suddenly outraged experts on it.
I will admit that the above problem is truly bipartisan. All of us who blog about politics are familiar with people responding to the headline of a post and revealing that they obviously haven’t read one word of it.
The difference between it happening on the right or left is in how the mis (or dis)-information is disseminated and proliferates.
The right obviously has its own echo chamber. However, when a “headline only” thing is being passed around it is being done on a much smaller scale.
The left has ALL of the major news networks. It has most of the celebrities, all of whom have millions of Twitter followers. When, as with the Haley story, the source is the New York Times, the disinformation spreads even quicker. The Times has long been the Mother Ship for left-wing news. With very little examination, it’s easy to see most MSM outlets taking their cue from the Times on any given day. When the directive comes from on high like that, everyone on the left runs with it. For example, their favorite pubescent attack dog immediately jumped in with this:
Hogg is too young and stupid to know he’s being used so his willingness to be led around like a labradoodle on a garish fetish leash by the New York Times is understandable. Sadly, the majority of Democrats and progressives are dutiful puppies as well.
The Times editors know what they are doing. Misleading headlines are all they need to fuel a rage-filled news cycle. I’ve written and tweeted about numerous articles in the Times and the Washington Post that debunk their own headlines. Once either publication gets the headline on Twitter, it’s all barking dogs from there.
The noise then becomes very disproportionate relative to real, or more important stories. Here is a great example:
That seems like something that might be newsworthy to a free and responsible press that was genuinely interested in the truth. It interferes with the “Can Beto turn Texas blue?” narrative, so truth be damned.
Were O’Rourke a Republican, there would be no need whatsoever for any facts supporting this story. An anonymous allegation and a little sprinkle of innuendo are all that are needed to give an anti-conservative smear legs.
This is from Think Progress on Thursday:
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may have committed a very serious crime — possibly even a sex crime. Or maybe he didn’t. That’s what we just learned from an extraordinarily vague press statement by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
“May.” “Possibly.” “Or maybe he didn’t.”
Translation: “Guessing.” Guessing.” “Yeah, we got nothin’.”
That follows a headline that accuses Kavanaugh of having a “mysterious #MeToo problem.”
Admissions of wrongdoing or being misleading are rare and, even when they do happen, don’t mean much because the damage has already been done thanks to the hivemind disinformation network on the left.
Since I began writing this column. the Times has decided to correct itself rather publicly:
New: The New York Times has updated its story on @nikkihaley: "An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question." pic.twitter.com/GQg7Bj0qfv
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 14, 2018
As I surmised earlier, they had confirmed that the purchase was OK’d by the previous administration and decided to go with the hit piece headline anyway. That correction came after the misleading story had been filling up a Friday news cycle for eight hours or so.
I just refreshed the Times Twitter feed and this is still there:
Keeping it out there as long as they can.
Again, damage done. Don’t expect the Hogg puppy to retract anything.
Much has been made in the Trump era about conservatives’ enmity towards the MSM. In the media’s telling of the story they are simply objective innocent bystanders who are dutifully chronicling history while the big, mean, Most Powerful Man on Earth gins up a mob that hates them.
It’s pure rubbish.
President Trump didn’t manufacture conservative distrust and dislike of the media out of whole cloth as they would have us believe. Paraphrasing the words of the previous president: they built that. Their relentless and often unhinged partisan advocacy isn’t remotely akin to journalism. They can call themselves whatever they want but if it acts like a partisan hack, talks like a partisan hack, and writes like a partisan hack…well, you know.
They actively engage in partisan-driven attempts to ruin careers, reputations, and even families when they’re on a roll. As I recently wrote, the same media who were lauding John McCain at his funeral once reported on a nonexistent extramarital affair in an effort to derail his presidential bid. They did this while sitting on verifiable evidence that Democrat John Edwards was not only cheating on his sick wife, but had fathered a child as a result of the affair.
President Trump just happens to be the first Republican president with the guts to admit publicly that this group masquerading as truth-to-power torch bearers for freedom are thoroughly corrupt.
What few good and honest reporters there may be out there can have all of their efforts undone by editors who are infected with an incurable partisan cancer. Editorial directives do exist, and they heavily influence the direction in which a reporter will go. If said reporter wants to keep his or her job, of course.
America would obviously benefit from a responsible political press that wasn’t completely partisan. It’s probably too late to do that without the aid of a time machine. The very things that enable the MSM to be so irresponsible can also be used by libertarians and conservatives to help keep them at least somewhat accountable. We can use social and digital media to keep battling and win what little ground we can, when we can. Resolve is the key.
It may not seem like much, but the New York Times didn’t issue that correction because somebody on the left urged them to. Conservative response was quick on that story. While I conceded earlier that the damage was done, this was still a victory for vigilance.
We have to take them where we can get them.