Media Malpractice: The ABCs of Media Bias
By Malcolm A. Kline
When America’s most powerful media outlets demonstrated their understanding of participatory democracy by actually participating in the 2016 presidential election campaign, it backfired on them, big time.
For example, when President Trump came to the CIA and received the type of ovation he usually gets at rallies of his supporters, his appearance blew away yet another media narrative several weeks in the making about his alleged war on the intelligence community. “It was clear to any objective observer with a set of eyes and ears that Trump’s speech at CIA headquarters was a tremendous success. He was interrupted by applause 11 times,” Cliff Kincaid, Director of the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, pointed out. Cliff counted, because he can, unlike many of the “best and the brightest” in the media, as we shall see.
At this point, the only relatively reliable news that America’s so-called mainstream media offer are sports, weather and traffic reports. Even then you may want to get a second opinion. There is bias by commission and bias by omission. In other words, the media slant stories by what they report and by what they don’t. With the former, if you subscribe to Democratic National Committee e-mails, you will notice how remarkably they track with headlines and teasers in the media. The latter problem would be solved if the media actually adhered to their stated mission and reported the news.
Indeed, the catalogue of inaccurate news reporting is so voluminous that we concluded the only way to maintain our sanity was to relay it alphabetically.
Pro-Life March, Called the “Anti-Abortion March” by the Media
As we go to press in early 2017, the annual “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. has recently taken place. National Public Radio estimated the crowd size at “hundreds.” The pro-life activists who organized the march put it at tens of thousands. The latter is probably more accurate. Don Irvine, Chairman of Accuracy in Media (AIM), and Spencer Irvine, Director of Social Media for AIM, actually went down to the Mall and covered the March, finding that there was a sizable crowd, certainly in the thousands, but definitely more than “hundreds.”
Five years after it occurred, the media are still in a state of denial over this one. For instance, when the House Select Committee on Benghazi report came out last summer, the Chicago Tribune editorialized that, “The Benghazi report offers evidence of Clinton’s lapses, but not a lot of path breaking information.”
But AIM Editor Roger Aronoff, who founded AIM’s Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, recently wrote that “Despite the media’s lackluster enthusiasm for covering new developments in the Benghazi story, several key events occurred in 2016 in the search for the truth. In June, the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi released its second report on the Benghazi attacks of 2012. The report outlines how the Obama administration willfully and ‘materially aided known al-Qa’eda-linked militias to topple [Muammar Qaddafi’s] regime.’ This, as we have argued before, demonstrated how the administration actively ‘switched sides’ in the War on Terror. In addition, the new report revealed that the Obama administration sent aid to forces that would later coalesce into the Islamic State.”
Black Lives Matter
The media still like to put this radical advocacy group in the same category as the original March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Doing so does Dr. King a grave injustice. As William Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations, noted on the day after the attack at a BLM rally in Dallas in which five police officers were killed, “I think [the Obama Administration] continued appeasements at the federal level with the Department of Justice, their appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter, actively calling for the death of police officers, that type of thing, all the while blaming police for the problems in this country, has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible.”
The reporting on both sides of the Atlantic regarding Britain’s exit from the European Union in order to go back to governing itself shows how successfully media bias can go global, and collapse. Probably the ultimate authority on Brexit is Daniel Hannan, the Tory representative in the European Union who led the movement that summer to leave the EU. Here’s what he had to say about it at the Cato Institute last fall: “It’s difficult to begin to describe the imbalance of forces in our recent debate and referendum. Every broadcaster, every political party, every bank, every big corporation, every trade association, every think tank, every EU-funded university, the whole of the establishment was telling us that it was a matter of national survival to stay in the EU. That it would be calamitous for us if we left. And people didn’t believe it. On June 23, they politely disregarded all the advice, all the bullying, all the hectoring and threats, and they voted to become a self-governing country again.”
Of course, the media in Great Britain and America first said it wouldn’t happen, then went into Chicken Little sky-is-falling mode when it did. “Let’s just look at what happened since our vote,” Hannan said in his October 2016 speech. “We were told by every economist, by every bank, by every politician, that if we voted Leave, our stock exchange would collapse.”
“In reality, the stock exchange collapse is happening in the Eurozone; British stocks are the best-performing in Europe. We were told that unemployment would go through the ceiling. In fact, unemployment has fallen every month since the vote, and is currently at its lowest-ever level. Your president [then, Barack Obama] said, if you leave, don’t expect us to talk to you as a commercial partner—you’ll be in the back of the line for any trade talks. He’s conspicuously failed to repeat that line since, and the Speaker of the House has quite rightly said: ‘We’re going to have a trade deal with the UK long before we have one with the EU.’ The German finance minister said: ‘If you vote Leave, you’ll be treated as any other country and we won’t have any special arrangements with you.’ He now says: ‘Oh no, no, no, Britain’s our biggest customer, of course, we’re going to have a good deal.’ This is the extent to which the experts were wrong, and the people were right.” Does that sound familiar?
The media have barely covered this. At our sister organization, Accuracy in Academia, we have not only done so, but noted that opposition to the untested educational experiment has gone way beyond conservative activists to include local Democratic parties, some unions and even teachers. Candidate Trump spoke about it less frequently than he did unemployment or terrorism but he never had a kind word for it. Conversely, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose endorsement of CC and connection to it was fairly consistent, saw his own candidacy for the Republican nomination fail as a result, although he might not have realized it himself.
Although the media would rather focus on the alleged misdeeds of renegade cops, murder rates in major metropolitan areas have gone through the roof, making many of them about as safe as the Middle East. Along with the crime wave, few in the media care to acknowledge that most blacks are killed by other blacks, as crime statistics from the Obama Administration’s Justice Department have indicated. Similarly, they rarely report on the violence perpetrated in border towns by illegal aliens with criminal records, although residents of those communities regularly share tales of beheadings, murders, rapes, kidnappings and robberies.
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