Over the weekend, the media engaged in coverage of three separate stories that once again demonstrated just why the America people don’t trust them. The first story: the attempted destruction of Covington High School students over false allegations of harassment of an elderly Native American. The second story: the imploded BuzzFeed scoop that President Trump told former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The third story: an attempt by Left-wing media to portray a 21-second clip from my show as a bizarre defense of Hitler.
All three stories were lies. All three stories were politically driven.
Take, for example, the Covington High School story. On first blush, it’s understandable that members of the punditocracy immediately leapt to the conclusion that the students had done something wrong – after all, would members of the media, the blue-checkmarked brigade, really have butchered video badly enough to completely lie about the story? Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to Newsbusters, CNN and MSNBC spent some 53 minutes and 20 seconds on the original, false narrative.
Then, as the facts emerged, everyone had to reconsider – the full video not only exonerated the kids, it actually cut directly against the prevailing narrative that the MAGA-hatted kids had surrounded the Native American man after he defended a group of black activists from them. In fact, the black activists were members of the cultish Black Hebrew Israelites, they were shouting racial and sexual slurs at the kids, and the Native American man sauntered with his group into the center of the high school crowd, banging his drum in the face of one particular student. The students reacted to all of this by singing their high school chants and songs. End of story.
That still hasn’t stopped members of the media from trying to dig up other information demonstrating the racism of the high school, or targeting the students for supposed bad behavior, or justifying the leap to conclusions as a predictable result of living in Trump’s America.
The lesson: don’t trust the media’s immediate take. And count on their screw-ups to consistently reinforce a Leftist narrative about American racism and Trumpist bigotry.
Then take the BuzzFeed scoop. That story audaciously claimed that not only had Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress about a prospective Trump Tower deal, but that the lie had been documented via “interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.” This report was so badly flawed that in unprecedented fashion, the Mueller investigation actually slammed it: a spokesman stated, “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
BuzzFeed said it stood by the report, asked the Mueller office for clarification (which it clearly can’t give). Defenders in the media then responded by claiming that BuzzFeed shouldn’t be called on the carpet by the public:
Those trying to tar all media today aren’t interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves. There’s a lot more accountability in media these days than in our politics. We know we live in a glass house, we hope the folks we cover are as self aware.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) January 19, 2019
After all, impugning the motives of those pushing BuzzFeed to backtrack is obviously the most good-faith way to correct media malfeasance.
Finally, there’s the story of my podcast last Friday at the March for Life. During that podcast, I discussed the oft-made argument that abortion lowers the crime rate. Here’s what I said, in total:
This is a cohesive argument, with a colorful example.
(Worth noting: The New York Times tweeted about the “baby Hitler” example in 2015, Tom Hanks commented on it, and a bevy of thinkpieces were written about it.)
A progressive activist, however, cut out just this 21-second version:
Ben Shapiro at March for Life: “The truth is no pro-life person would kill baby Hitler. Baby Hitler was a baby.” pic.twitter.com/PPgQcbWSrq
— jordan (@JordanUhl) January 18, 2019
The idea, of course, is that this was a random comment about Hitler that was stupid, because the March for Life is stupid, and thus should be ignored. Again, idiocy at the top level from the media. But that didn’t stop the out-of-context story from being utilized by the media for purposes of clicks and mockery.
Wonder why conservatives don’t trust the media? Perhaps it’s because when the media make mistakes, they tend to run only in one direction. Perhaps it’s because the media operate all-too-often in pure bad faith. Perhaps it’s because when corrected, they deflect toward criticizing their attackers, as Todd does.
Conservatives have a bevy of reasons not to trust the media. And the media keep feeding them fodder, day in and day out.