The Top Ten Misreported and Underreported Media Stories of 2016
As we look back on 2016, we would like to highlight some of the American media’s worst abuses that occurred during the past year, including coverage of the very divisive election campaign. We have picked ten stories in which the media were either derelict in their duty to report the truth, or sold a false or biased narrative to the public that furthered the left’s agenda. In other cases, the media missed the story altogether or made excuses for their own biased reporting. We could easily have picked additional stories that meet those criteria, but arbitrarily chose to look at ten, in no particular order.
- Presidential Election Coverage
- Hillary Clinton Email / National Security Scandal
- Clinton Foundation / Pay for Play
- Rigged FBI Investigation
- Obama’s Legacy Failures
- Iran Nuclear Deal
- The Economy
- Terror Attacks in the United States (Islamic Terror)
Presidential Election Coverage
Erroneous Election Predictions
The mainstream media repeatedly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election—and by a wide margin. The New York Times, in particular, gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of winning on election night. “Hillary Clinton today is more likely to win in a landslide that would not only have an impact on this race but realign the country politically to some extent, than Trump is to win at all,” argued Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin. Similarly, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said that “This could be tight, or it could be a landslide for Hillary.” The media pundits were all, very, very wrong.
Now that Clinton has lost, postmortems of the election abound: media pundits blame fake news, FBI Director James Comey’s FBI investigation, WikiLeaks, and the alleged Russian interference in the election. Hillary apparently had nothing to do with her own defeat. The fact that she won by more than 2.5 million votes means that the Russians failed, if their goal was to help Trump win the most votes. Surely they didn’t expect that Trump would be the winner if he lost the popular vote by such a margin. The mainstream media have become “election results deniers.” This fuels their anti-Trump bias and demonstrates why they called the election for Clinton, who was a very flawed candidate, even in the eyes of most Democrats.
“The inescapable fact is that most of the mainstream media got it wrong because they simply couldn’t believe that Americans would elect someone like Donald Trump,” wrote Mathew Ingram for Fortune. “Denial can be a powerful drug.” Yet even Ingram blames fake news for the outcome.
Many in the mainstream media have also been guilty of reporting their own fake or misleading stories. Their fascination with exposing fake news writers revolves around the desire to prove that their own reporting is above reproach, and should be trusted. That is especially true now when their credibility is in short supply after their flawed election predictions.
The so-called mainstream media have no corner on the truth, and it’s clear that when someone challenges their left-wing agenda, their first reaction is to try to destroy the challenger at any cost. The name-calling, caterwauling, crying and disgust will continue on the left, as they figure out how to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Kellyanne Conway, the First Successful Female Presidential Campaign Manager
Kellyanne Conway is the first woman in the United States to lead a presidential campaign to victory, and she did so by selling a Washington outsider who so many in the media predicted would lose. Granted, her campaign scuttled the possibility that there would be the first female president, but Conway is establishing a first of her own. Yet the mainstream media have been virtually silent about this historic accomplishment.
Conway has a “terrific life story,” according to Peter Roff of U.S. News & World Report. Although she was born to a single mother household, she “is largely a self-made success due to her intellect, her ability to relate complicated ideas in ways that can be understood by a large general audience, because she’s never been afraid to take risks and because when she wants something she’s gone for it rather than waiting for someone to hand it to her,” he writes. Conway has a stable marriage and four children.
“Of course there’s always the possibility that the progressive men who really run things in the Democratic Party can’t stomach the fact they got beat by a girl,” writes Roff. “But really, who would believe that? It’s so…sexist.”
The sorry truth is that members of the Democrat-media complex aren’t interested in women’s successes—they are only interested in celebrating leftist and progressive women’s successes. Is it asking too much for the mainstream media to celebrate a woman’s victory against the glass ceiling if the heroine of the story isn’t Hillary Clinton?
Media Abandon Objectivity in Reporting on Trump
The mainstream media were never objective regarding Donald Trump, but what was notable in this election cycle was that they openly advocated abandoning their journalistic impartiality in order to prevent Trump from winning. The most notable admission that this was true came from New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg, who wrote a front-page story back in August titled, “Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism.” Rutenberg’s main point was that Donald Trump is so uniquely crude, provocative, and dishonest that reporters can’t and shouldn’t be expected to stay neutral. Similarly, New York Times reporter Thomas Friedman called Trump outright “disgusting.”
“How balanced do you have to be when one side is just irrational?” asked MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
After Trump won the election, the deputy publisher and executive editor of the Times wrote that they believed that they had reported “on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign,” and that they would “hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.” In other words, the Times is signaling more of the same: it will hold the president to account through misinformation and misreporting, just as it did during the campaign season.
The media accused Trump of using “dog whistles” to incite violence and racism, but it was, in fact, that same media that signaled, on a daily basis, to attack Trump. He was vilified as a fascist, a racist, a xenophobe, sexist, and many other of the same sort of crimes. Yet the prevailing narrative is that Trump is the one attacking the media. “Donald Trump keeps up media attacks with misleading tweets about New York Times,” reported The Washington Post in November. Similarly, “Donald Trump Prepares New Attack on Media, Clinton,” reported The Wall Street Journal in October. And in October The New York Times also reported that “Partisan Crowds at Trump Rallies Menace and Frighten News Media.”
The media would like to play the victim in its face-off with Trump, but Rutenberg’s column and other admissions by reporters make it clear that media played the bully during the election cycle, and will likely continue its oppositional and adversarial journalism for the next four years.
Hillary Clinton Email/National Security Scandal
As we have argued, Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is not just about the misuse of a private email server—it is a national security scandal. Mrs. Clinton, despite denials to the contrary, wrote over a hundred emails containing classified information. “In roughly three-quarters of those cases, officials have determined that material Clinton herself wrote in the body of email messages is classified,” reported The Washington Post in March.
Contrary to the mainstream media’s reporting, the number is actually much larger—with thousands of emails later deemed classified by the government. Politifact and Mrs. Clinton consider these emails “retroactively” classified. However, it is impossible to know how many of the 33,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton deleted also contained classified information. And, as we have repeatedly cited, whenever this classified material involved confidential communication from foreign governments, it thus was “born classified”—requiring no markings.
According to the State Department Inspector General, Mrs. Clinton’s failure to turn over those 33,000 emails was a violation of the Federal Records Act.
The media consistently labored to repair Mrs. Clinton’s reputation by creating, along with the campaign’s help, a false equivalency between Mrs. Clinton’s actions and other government officials such as former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Powell himself denied telling Clinton to use a private email server. Rice commented via email that “I don’t think Hillary’s—‘everyone did it,’ is flying.”
Neither Powell nor Rice set up a private email server to manage their emails. Mrs. Clinton’s actions were a shameless attempt to evade accountability to the public during and after her time in office—and she continued to lie about it, repeatedly, throughout the course of her campaign.
While the reports on Hillary Clinton’s email server spanned over a year and a half, some details garnered little attention from the mainstream media. For example, in 2015 we reported that there were signs that Mrs. Clinton had edited her emails before sending print versions to the State Department. Another underreported fact was, as Select Committee on Benghazi Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) noted, that there were gaps of months in those emails. When close confidant Sidney Blumenthal turned over relevant emails to the Select Committee, it became evident that Mrs. Clinton had deleted work-related content.
Each of these revelations happened in 2015, providing evidence of the enduring scandal and Hillary’s web of lies. Yet, as soon as these revelations broke, the news media buried these stories as fast and as thoroughly as it possibly could. The mainstream media had “Hillary Clinton Scandal Amnesia.” As we observed in our special report, The Hillary Clinton File, “While the search for smoking guns implicating Hillary Clinton in criminal activity continues, through a mountain of emails, there are more than enough smoking guns hiding in plain sight. In a way, the endless search for a single smoking gun clouds the issue and makes it seem as if nothing consequential enough has so far been found. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
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