Yesterday, the Washington Post, one of the three alleged standard-bearers of U.S. print journalism, published gossip and lies as news, got caught and humiliated..twice!.., and again illustrated vividly why the distinction between hoax stories, what the mainstream media condemns as “fake news,'” and their own false reporting due to incompetence and bias, is illusory.
First, the Post published a weird and alarming story about how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was behaving like a sultan and ordering subordinates to lower their gaze in his presence:
“Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact”
This, of course, sparked widespread ridicule by the Left’s bloggers, commentators, journalists and other tweeters, despite the fact that no sources were named to back up the claim. We have here an example of confirmation bias at its most foolish, on the part of the reporter, the editor, the paper, and the eager partisan bigots who think businessmen are monsters and the Trump administration is made up of freaks and creeps. The Huffington Post happily published a collection of celebrities, politicians and random social media users reacting to the story, including Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu , who said he found the article “disturbing.”
So do I. I find it disturbing that the Post, like the New York Times, cannot be trusted to check out inflammatory slurs against public official before declaring them facts. Note that the quote says the diplomats SAY they have not met him, but that some HAVE been instructed not to make eye contact. The Post stated what sounds like obvious holdover-staff rumor-mongering and sabotage as truth, opening the door for widespread contempt and disrespect of the Secretary of State without justification. Yes, that’s disturbing.
It was fake news. I didn’t believe it. I assumed this was the Post’s anti-Trump bias once again seeping into its deteriorating organizational brain. To his credit, Associated Press reporter Mike Lee immediately called foul, B.S., and fake news. Lee said that he had heard the allegation about employees being forced to avert their gaze in the presence of the Secretary of State two weeks before the Post’s story was published, and after checking into the claim, determined that it was a rumor without basis.
“It’s compelling gossip. I have looked him in the eyes and not turned to stone. At least not yet…This is not true and people repeating it are making it more difficult to address very real issues.”
When challenged to back up his statement that the story was false, Lee replied,
“Because I have covered State since 1999. Because I know people who didn’t start in 2009 [that is, Obama era partisans].”
Can anyone defend this Post sliming as anything but biased hackery?
But wait, there’s more!
Then, the same day, Post reporter Caitlin Dewey filed a story about Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington (a Republican, of course, so he deserves to be smeared*) quoting the Bible to denigrate the poor, and to justify not giving them food stamps. She did this by characterizing what Arrington said, falsely, and omitting his quote on which she was supposedly basing her story. The Federalist—you see, conservative publications are essential to point out what is leftist propaganda and outright lies, was on the case:
The headline from the Washington Post couldn’t have been more clear: “GOP Lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed ‘shall not eat.” Shocking, right? Judging by the Washington Post’s reporting, either this lawmaker is a real jerk, God is a real jerk for hating people without jobs, or maybe even they’re both jerks.
Here’s what the newspaper wrote about Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.):
One lawmaker is citing a godly reference to justify changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) recently quoted the New Testament to question the strength of current work requirements.
The biblical passage, 2 Thessalonians 3-10, was a rebuttal to one of the hearing’s expert witnesses, a representative of the Jewish anti-hunger group MAZON. (He referenced Leviticus.) It is also a familiar refrain to anyone who has watched past debates about SNAP.
House Republicans have historically cited the verse — “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” — as justification for cutting some adults’ SNAP benefits. Arrington referenced the verse in a discussion about increasing the work requirements for unemployed adults on the food stamp program. But critics say that advances a pernicious myth about the unemployed who receive SNAP.
There are a few problems, however, with that story from Washington Post reporter Caitlin Dewey: the lawmaker never said that, the Bible never says that, and the Washington Post article never even quotes the Texas Republican as saying that. In fact, the article doesn’t quote Arrington a single time. Not one word. …
Not only did Arrington not disagree with the witness who quoted passages from Leviticus requiring the Israelites to leave harvest gleanings in the field for sojourners and the poor, Arrington actually affirmed him and noted that the passage in question is “a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart.” Here’s what Arrington really said:
“I did hear, Mr. Protas, your opening remarks where you quoted Leviticus, I believe, and I think that’s a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart and how we ought to reflect that compassion in our lives.
But, there’s also, the scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’” And then he goes on to say, “We hear that some among you are idle.”
I think that every American, Republican or Democrat, wants to help the neediest among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility quite frankly, to SNAP. Tell me what is a reasonable and responsible work requirement as part of the SNAP program?”
At no point did Arrington ever declare that the Bible requires that the unemployed shall not eat. Not once. At no point did Arrington ever say, “The Bible says the unemployed shall not eat.”
Rather, the Texas congressman noted to the witness at his hearing that in addition to commanding God’s people to leave a share of their harvest for the needy to pick up and eat as they moved through the fields, the Bible tells Christ’s disciples not to allow idleness to make them a burden on their fellow Christians. Paul’s letter to the church in Thessaloniki, after all, was not a directive to government officials in Rome, but an exhortation to his fellow followers of Christ in Greece.
You wouldn’t know any of that if you read the Washington Post’s dishonest mischaracterization of what Arrington said, because the Washington Post refused to tell you what Arrington actually said. Arrington didn’t declare that those without jobs are commanded by God to starve. He affirmed the requirement that God’s people provide for the poor and then noted an additional passage in which Paul tells his own brethren that they should work so as not to provide a poor example of idleness to those whom they were trying to bring to Christ.
How is the Post’s headline and story not fake news? If you think that was ethical and objective journalism, you are hopeless. It was a hit piece. It was a lie.
In liability lawsuits, subsequent repairs after an injury is pretty good evidence that something was amiss to begin with. And what do you know? After the story’s evisceration by the Federalist’s Sean Davis, the Post quietly re-wrote the story to include what the Congressman said, without noting the correction, as journalism transparency demands. The misleading headline remains, however. So does the false characterization of the Bible quote. The Post said,
“The verse in question applies specifically to people who can work or otherwise contribute to society but choose not to, said theologians from several denominations who spoke to The Post,” Dewey asserted.”
It’s a shame she and her editors didn’t feel compelled to quote or name a single one of these alleged experts who just happened to agree with the Washington Post’s wildly inaccurate characterization of both the Bible verse at issue and Arrington’s alleged interpretation of it. That’s because this anonymous exegesis is–you guessed it–completely false. The apostle Paul wasn’t drafting a law for the government to pass banning the jobless from having food. He was telling his fellow disciples to avoid idleness and disruption of the church body. He urged them to spend less time laying about and sowing division and more time working on behalf of God.
The Washington Post recently began running the pompous motto “Democracy Dies In Darkness,” and continues to allow its reporters to blow out candles whenever it suits their political agendas. The motto is fine; the Washington Post displaying it is the equivalent of Hitler saying, “Words build bridges into unexplored regions.” It’s true, but his words led to regions best left unexplored.
The Post is giving us darkness, and calling it light.
* The New York Times Rule, as it is called here, in honor of the 2016 Times editorial in which it announced that the threat of a Donald Trump victory in the election justified suspending objectivity and engaging in biased news coverage in support of Hillary Clinton as November 8 approached. The Rule simplifies to “Trump and anything related to him justifies a suspension of professional ethics.” It has since been embraced by, among others, journalists, lawyers, historians, elected officials and scientists.
Pointer: The Daily Caller