Media watchers in the past week rightly have criticized multiple media outlets for suddenly deciding that religious freedom needs quotation marks, as in “religious freedom.” Leave it to the news pages of The Wall Street Journal, though, to use those quotation marks, which by their nature indicate that the very concept is in dispute, in the same story with the term gay rights published without the same punctuation.
Quin Hillyer is a Contributing Editor of National Review magazine, a Senior Editor for The American Spectator magazine, and a nationally recognized authority on the American political process.
Even the Wall Street Journal news pages can get caught in the politically correct labeling games that mar so much of today's reporting -- especially when it comes to Islam. Case in point: Friday's story about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, complete with big headline and large photo, occupying the whole top third of the back page of the front section. The article explored Western governments’ reluctance to fully back Al Sisi's call for military action against Islamic State's terrorists in Libya. According to the article, Western diplomats object to Al Sisi's "crackdown at home on moderate Islamists."
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has had a decades-long love affair with the Landrieu family, and it has been particularly in the tank for the increasingly difficult re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu this year. But the T-P, or at least its online version known as NOLA.com, outdid itself on Monday with a hideously biased "news" story by "legislative and state politics reporter" Cole Avery. Note: "reporter," not "columnist."
The headline writers captured, and amplified, the editorialized message right from the start: "Rand Paul, Rob Maness endorsements show far-right ready to embrace Bill Cassidy."
Those of us frustrated by the bias and bad reporting of broadcast media should remember just how big a role print (or cyberprint) outlets play in keeping falsehoods alive. Case in point: a tendentious piece today by Brian Beutler in The New Republic online, making a vain attempt to show that conservative suspicions about lost IRS emails is merely a "conspiracy theory."
Amidst the usual complement of misdirectional arguments, Beutler proffered this oft-repeated falsehood: "We know that the IRS identified and scrutinized political groups seeking non-profit status on a somewhat arbitrary, probably inappropriate basis, but that the criteria they used ensnared both liberal and conservative groups." And, later: "We know the IRS wasn't singling out conservative non-profits."
Ronan Farrow opened his MSNBC program Tuesday with these words: "Who can steal Magnolia State voters?" The opening words on the screen behind him were: "Mississippi Mud," followed by a chyron reading "Stealing the Magnolia State." Farrow's reporting quickly emphasized, several times, that the primary was a Republican one, and that it had gotten "nasty."
Several minutes followed, with NBC's Kasie Hunt reporting live from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, detailing the "really hard fought, really nasty" campaign between U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, portrayed on the whole as a doddering figure, and strongly conservative challenger Chris McDaniel, portrayed as an insensitive extremist.
It is a rare occasion when I have reason not to criticize a news report, but to praise it copiously. But give credit where it’s due: In Tuesday’s early afternoon newscast on CNN, host Brooke Baldwin and her crew aired several superb segments relating to the arrest of alleged Benghazi-attack mastermind Ahmed Abu Khatalla.
Baldwin led her newscast with a few words of welcome, and then this: “For almost two years, the U.S. has been trying to bring to justice the raid on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. But even though CNN could locate one of these suspects, the U.S. apparently could not. In fact, we talked to him, in public, inside a café – but finally today that suspect is in U.S custody.”
Tom Blumer's Plame post is essential reading to understand how the liberal media tries to maintain an impression favored by the left wing, even when the facts are otherwise. Take the still tendentious "correction" by the Los Angeles Times of its original story this week falsely identifying Lewis "Scooter" Libby as the man who leaked the name of former CIA employee Valerie Plame. I would add just a few points.
First, it is worth noting that the media's obsession with covering up the identity of real leaker Richard Armitage (one of their favorites) extended this week to The Guardian as well, which could only bring itself to note that "someone inside the George W. Bush administration" leaked the name
One reason the Media Research Center works so hard to call the media into account is because the media culture has such a substantial impact on daily American life. With that in mind, it's worth reading Scott McKay's piece in today's online American Spectator, "The Wrong Fight: Rick Santorum has more important work to do than run for president." The "more important work" McKay suggests is for Santorum to fight for the culture from within the media/entertainment world, via the movie studio Santorum heads, called Echo Light.
Forget Santorum for a moment, and put aside the question of whether he should run for president. What's important here isn't McKay's take on Santorum, but his take on the importance of culture:
First, let’s get this straight: By very definition, Hillary Clinton actually did suffer a "traumatic brain injury" in 2012. She fell; she hit her head; she suffered a concussion; and she developed a blood clot which hospitalized her. A concussion is precisely a “traumatic brain injury,” according to official medical definition.
Thus, when Karl Rove indelicately -- and perhaps not wisely for political purposes -- raised a point the other day about Hillary Clinton’s health, based on the "traumatic brain injury" she suffered in 2012, he was technically on solid ground. What wasn’t so solid was the over-reaction by media outlets to Rove’s rather unchivalrous suggestion. To see the difference between the “pile on Rove” mentality and actual, balanced coverage, consider how CNN rushed to paint Rove as evil, compared to how Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza put the issue in broader perspective.
Typical media bias continued Friday on two fronts, on two networks, both doing backflips away from real news in order to portray things in the best possible light for Barack Obama.
First came CBS This Morning, which sometimes plays news a bit straighter than other morning shows and than its evening news broadcast. Not this morning.
The establishment media has treated the story of despicably racist basketball owner Donald Sterling as if it is a world crisis, but it has given full credibility, with no context at all, to one of Sterling’s chief detractors, NBA Players Association adviser and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson – even though Johnson himself has a terribly tawdry past involving both financial and sexual improprieties.
This is not to argue that Sterling deserves any sort of pass. He doesn’t. The now-famous audiotape makes him sound like vermin.