(I didn’t mean for this to turn into Our News Media Stinks Day, I really didn’t. But our news media stinks…)
People keep asking how the mainstream news media can back away from the abyss, stop being an enemy of the American people a true profession is duty bound to serve, and start re-instituting professional standards into the rotting, putrid news business. Firing reporters, pundits and anchors who fail to meet minimum levels of objectivity, honesty, independence and competence would be an excellent start. These partisan hacks behave as they do because they know they can get away with it.
Take, for example, MSNBC’s Joy Reid and this episode of runaway journalism bias and incompetence cascade.
The National Review’s David French wrote an essay about the possible outcome of a nuclear strike on an American city, as a response to the false alarm in Hawaii. He’s a military veteran and a substantive commentator; I usually admire his work more than this piece. I see what he was trying to do, but “a nuclear strike isn’t as bad as people think” just isn’t a position worth taking, in my view.
Well, as I know as well as anybody, they all can be gems. [Update: French criticized the article as well, saying, “On re-reading it, I’m slightly embarrassed. The post is so basic and simple that it barely scratches the surface of decent prepping. As something of an amateur prepper, I have thousands more words I could unleash. But this wasn’t a magazine piece. It was a blog post.”]
Here is part of what he wrote in the original article, titled, “If a Missile Alert Sounds, Prepare to Live”:
The bottom line, even if a nuclear weapon as big as the largest North Korea has ever tested were to impact squarely on Manhattan, the vast majority of New Yorkers would survive the initial blast. A strike would devastate central Honolulu but leave many suburbs intact. If the missile misses a city center even by a small amount, the number of initial casualties plunges dramatically.
Only a rabid partisan attack dog could read French’s exhortation to survive rather than surrender to panic in an emergency as an ideological or even a conservative piece. Newsweek, however, which has devolved into the scum on the sides of the bottom of the journalism barrel, described the article with this headline:
“NUCLEAR WAR? IT WON’T GET YOU IN THE SUBURBS, CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE TELLS READERS”
Divisive, misleading, unfair, and inflammatory. Then, to make its smear explicit, Newsweek wrote this:
Amid heightened tensions with nuclear armed North Korea a conservative magazine is telling its readers not to worry about a potential nuclear strike because they live in America’s suburbs and countryside. An article published Monday in the National Review reassures readers that nuclear war—and North Korea’s arsenal—shouldn’t cause them concern because a nuclear strike will mostly vaporize those in major cities while suburbanites will come out largely unscathed….
During the 2016 election, Trump won 50 percent of the vote in suburban America and 62 percent of the vote in small cities and rural areas compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45 and 34 percent performance in the regions. Conservatives tend to prefer small towns and rural areas, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, with 46 percent of liberals preferring city life compared to just 4 percent of conservatives who said the same.
Naturally Raw Story—I am still searching for a left-leaning political website that is more substantive than The Daily Beast, less hysterical than ThinkProgress, and more professional than The Huffington Post—thought the Newsweek innuendo was so nifty that it re-posted it.
So French pointed out that a direct nuclear hit on a major city would be survivable for a lot of people. Newsweek and Raw Story told their readers that conservatives are fine with nuclear war because it will fry more citizens in the city, where Democrats roam. Then Joy Reid, the indefatigable race-baiter who routinely oozes hate for the President, whites and conservatives, re-translated French’s non-partisan article as–well, guess. Come on, it’s Joy Reid. What would she be expected to argue?
“We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, “don’t worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities.” Shame on you, @DavidAFrench”
Fake news. Race-baiting. Hate-mongering. Or, as short-hand, I could just say “Joy Reid.”
French tweeted back:
In the annals of misleading and ridiculous tweets, this takes the cake:
1. I did not argue in favor of risking nuclear war.
2. I never said anything like the words in those quotes.
3. I wrote only in favor of prepping for bad events.
Other than that, the tweet’s great
It turns out that Reid accused French of being a racist without even reading his article. That’s fair, isn’t it? After all, he’s a conservative. Eventually she came out with a retraction, tweeting
“Taking back my take on this take – the rawstory writeup doesn’t reflect David French‘s intent…David and I disagree on almost everything, but my take on this was off track.”
Off track? She falsely accuses another journalist of favoring nuclear war, and doing so because it will kill Democrats and minorities, without checking her facts while relying on biased partisan news sources, and calls that being “off track”? No, that’s signature significance for a vicious, incompetent, untrustworthy and biased hack journalist. Notice that Reid didn’t have the decency to apologize, either to her reiders or her victim, David French.
U.S. journalism will only continue to decline in value and public trust when such conduct equals a ticket out of the profession.