More Media Malpractice

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File

One of the major reasons why Americans are divided and hostile toward each other is that we live in alternate universes.

Not literally, but functionally.

We have all seen the polls that show Americans have been losing trust in the MSM for a long time. Only 36% of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the MSM, but this fact hides an important distinction: the majority of Democrats trust the MSM, while Republicans have given up on getting anything remotely close to the truth from the MSM.


Republicans have earned their distrust not just because they are often lied about and can’t help but notice this fact, but also because they are literally unable to avoid getting the majority of their news from MSM news sources, while consciously exposing themselves to alternative points of view.

Democrats rarely do. They automatically distrust alternative or conservative media and tend to trust without question what they hear from the MSM. This is not because they are universally stupid or uninterested in the news, but because they are inclined to trust the “misinformation” narrative. An example: I had an argument with a liberal about a fact, not an opinion or judgment. He asked for a source and I sent him a Google search. The top 3 hits were conservative sites and he automatically dismissed it as “misinformation.” I dug and found the statistic from the original source and he was shocked.

He disbelieved it because the only news media that covered it was conservative. Once I found the original stat from the government it suddenly became credible.

As often as not the MSM shapes the narrative by choosing what to report, lying by omission. Conservatives and many independents distrust the MSM because they get other parts of the story and are able to round out the picture. Even if Fox didn’t cover something, they likely got the facts from the MSM or the independent media they read. It is harder to be ignorant of the larger picture if you distrust the media and shop around for news to get a bigger picture.


This is how very smart people appear to be so stupid about the world: they get a picture curated by people they wrongly trust. This could apply to people who only watch Fox News, which obviously curates and spins as well. I have been struck by how many people I disagree with don’t have fundamentally different values, but rather a very constrained set of facts.

Of course, the MSM lies as well, and does so quite frequently.

You’ve seen it a lot over the past few weeks, but I will choose a couple of examples to make my point. The first comes from Reuters (I referred to this in my Sunday Smiles column yesterday.

Look at this headline from Reuters:

Reuters knows that the hostages being released by Hamas aren’t soldiers (neither are the terrorists Hamas is getting), but they casually drop the term into their headline to fundamentally alter your perception of what is happening. A POW exchange is a lot different than the negotiated release of people held hostage for 50 days–women and children who have nothing to do with the war except by being victims of evil terrorists.

Using “soldiers” was a conscious choice. Reuters knew who was being released, knew their circumstances, knew how they were captured, and knew that they weren’t “released” but ransomed. They framed the story to manipulate the audience.

People weren’t fooled, except those who wanted to be. They received so much criticism that they deleted the headline and issued a non-apology apology, but this was not a mistake made in the fog of war. All the facts are established and well-understood. Reuters just chose to lie.


The New York Times did much the same thing, this time mischaracterizing a Hamas terrorist who was freed by Israel in exchange for the hostages.

Israa Jaabees, who once released from Israel called for more violence against Israelis, was disfigured by her own car bomb burning rather than blowing up. She is a failed car bomber, but rather than explaining the circumstances of her imprisonment they downplay her clear guilt and bloodthirstiness and instead focus on her as a disfigured mom just happy to be home with her kids.

The Washington Post? Their spin is that an exchange of “captives” is going on, not a release of terrorists in exchange for innocents–putting Hamas an Israel on the same moral plane.

Another example is more obscure, but more revealing as well because the media has a greater opportunity to get away with their deception.

At issue is the perpetrator of a vicious stabbing incident in Ireland that resulted in anti-immigrant riots.

The media decided it was important to reshape the narrative and declared the perpetrator was Irish, not an Arab immigrant. Obviously this puts a very different spin on the matter–yobs assumed the violence came from the peaceful immigrants when in fact it was an Irishman who went off and stabbed innocents.


If you want to characterize the rioters as xenophobic haters it is much more convenient if the person they rioted against was not indeed an immigrant. So they simply said that he wasn’t.

The truth is that he was an immigrant from Algeria, although he had acquired Irish citizenship. This gave the media enough wiggle room to simply say he was “Irish.

LONDON — Right-wing protesters, angered by a stabbing attack they believed had involved someone of immigrant background, rampaged through central Dublin on Thursday night, leaving behind a trail of burning destruction.

Ireland’s police chief on Friday described the unrest, in which double-decker buses, trams and police cars were torched, as “scenes that we have not seen in decades.”

The violence and looting through some of Dublin’s most famous streets began after a stabbing attack outside a school that left five people hospitalized. They included three young children and a woman. Police detained a man who also is being treated for injuries.

Rumors spread online that the perpetrator of the attack was an immigrant or had an immigrant background. The BBC, citing unnamed sources, said the man was an Irish citizen who had lived in the country for 20 years.


Notice what they don’t do? Contradict the original claim that he was an immigrant. They imply he wasn’t without outright lying.

If you go read the Washington Post story you will hear no mention that the man was an Algerian immigrant, and the entire story is a screed against xenophobic “far-right” rioters. Now I don’t think rioting is the appropriate response to what happened, but when an Algerian immigrant stabs 3 young children and a woman in front of a school in the midst of a months-long anti-Western tirade by Arabs on the streets, it is hardly shocking that people got super angry.

So the media went into overdrive to change the narrative.

So there you go. In this case, there was literally an international media conspiracy to hide facts and spin a story in the most dishonest way possible.

This sort of thing happens time and again, and most Democrats have no clue because they just assume the goodwill of the media and find it inconceivable that they would lie. And because their news consumption is entirely based on mainstream sources they wind up living in an information universe entirely disconnected from ours, and hence from reality.

Some people have been awakened by the distortions coming from the media regarding Israel. Treating Hamas, an acknowledged terrorist organization, as a reliable source has awoken some Jews to how deceptive the media is. But this is small potatoes compared to the scope of the problem.


So we have to just keep plugging away. Trust in the media has been declining over time, so what we are doing is working–too slowly, but working.


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