Massaging the News for the Masses
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published October 31, 2011 in The Washington Times.
Liberal press bias has been so stark and the lying by omission so blatant that it’s time to take stock again. Here are some examples culled from the “mainstream media,” a term conditioned with quote marks because the media are seriously out of step with America’s mainstream.
Comparing Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party: On Oct. 22, the Washington Post ran a front-page story trying to show that OWS protesters have much in common with Tea Partyers. Sample: “They start out with different views about the role of government, but in interviews and online discussions they repeatedly share many of the same frustrations, as well as a classically American passion for fixing the system.” Why, they are practically co-belligerents, like the Boy Scouts teaming up with the Hell’s Angels.
The reporter even managed to find a Minnesota woman who attended Tea Party rallies but now identifies with the OWS and says the Tea Party is “becoming the religious wing of the Republican Party.” Open anti-religious bigotry? No problem.
What was missing in the story? How about the fact that violence is absent from Tea Party rallies? Also, that Tea Party members work within the system, urge lawmakers to follow the Constitution and the rule of law, clean up after their events and leave the police with little to do?
So far, Tea Party members have not staged a “human microphone” like the one in New York’s Zuccotti Park, where a crowd repeated mantras that included, “You can have sex with animals.” You probably didn’t see that on NBC or CBS.
Here are a few more things you don’t find at Tea Party rallies but that would be reported widely if you did:
Mobs blocking the streets and interfering with commuters.
Signs and banners emblazoned with obscenities.
Signs suggesting violence against authorities and businessmen.
Endorsements from both the Nazi Party and the Communist Party.
Signs blaming “the Jews” for all things bad.
Reports of sexual assaults on teenage girls and, in the case of Occupy Glasgow, Scotland, a gang rape.
Street people being confused with activists.
Sex acts and bathroom functions performed in view of others.
Legions of graying, ponytailed men.
Adoption of a “no snitch rule” against telling police about lawbreaking.
Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama lauding the foul-mouthed protesters as if they were the reincarnation of Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys.
In a story on Tuesday’s riot in Oakland, Calif., the San Jose Mercury News reported on “the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to virtually every major American city – and several smaller ones – as millions of people continue to express their anger and disappointment with the country’s banking, regulatory and health care systems.”
Say what? Even the New York and Washington mobs have been only in the hundreds or a few thousand, and many cities have had just a handful of protesters. Where did the Mercury come up with “millions” of angry people? Perhaps it was extrapolating while looking around its newsroom.
The “wealthy” versus the rest of us: Piggybacking on President Obama’s class-warfare campaign rhetoric, the media constantly remind us that corporations are making tons of money, so they must be stealing it from us. As revealed by Newsbusters.org’s Kyle Drennen on Oct. 27, NBC’s Matt Lauer posed this to former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs: “A new report from the Congressional Budget Office this week confirmed the rich are getting richer. … So what responsibility does President Obama have in terms of dealing with income distribution in this country?”
I think Mr. Lauer actually meant “redistribution.” That would take government muscle because, unlike Uncle Sam, neither ExxonMobil nor any other company forcibly removes cash from our paychecks. We choose to buy from them or not. But we all send money to the Internal Revenue Service, and if we don’t, we go to jail.
With Mr. Obama and the Democrats railing against “the rich” while the economically illiterate media act as their megaphone, the confused OWS people are venting against Wall Street instead of government, which milks taxpaying citizens every day. There’s the difference. Taxpaying citizens are busy working (or looking for work), as opposed to woolly-headed students, welfare recipients, the chronically indolent and the lefty agitators who manipulate them as easily as the dog whisperer gets Fido to bring him his slippers.
Media bias doesn’t stop at our shores, of course. International reporting is full of it, too.
Preferring Islam over Christianity: In reports about Muslim attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, the media frequently make it seem as if both sides are equally at fault. This is the liberal default position whenever reality gives the “coexist” bumper stickers a fender-bender.
On Oct. 9, Coptic Christians marched peacefully in Cairo until Muslim thugs threw rocks, setting off a melee in which the Egyptian army ran armored vehicles over several Christians. The Copts were protesting government inaction over attacks on churches, which are being burned down at a rate that Bill Clinton would find alarmingly similar to the memories of his boyhood Arkansas. But, sadly, it’s really happening in Egypt.
On Oct. 14, a Washington Post article about the incident reported that “the protesters were attacked by crowds hurling stones, witnesses said.” Just “crowds”? More than 25 people were killed, almost all of them Christians. The article never once mentioned the words “Muslim” or “Islam.”
When you see headlines or TV reports such as “Christians and Muslims clash,” you often find out deep in the story that the “clash” was a radical Muslim attack on a church or group of Christians.
From Wall Street to Egypt, we’re getting packaged news that bends reality to fit the liberal spectrum. That’s why alternative sources of news are so crucial to preserving our sanity – and our liberty.