I believe, or at least hope, that by the time the disgusting transformation of the American news media into pure agents of propaganda is complete—and in that regard, it’s later than you may think—Donald Trump’s much maligned declaration that journalism had become “the enemy of the people” will be remembered as perhaps his most important quote. It deserves to take a place next to Ronald Reagan’s similarly derided “evil empire” line as an example of the “bully pulpit” working as it should.
Last week I saw this front page headline in the New York Times: “Rampage in Georgia Deepens Fears of Rising Asian Hatred In U.S.” That’s not a news headline. That is a publication planting fear for political purposes. Deepens whose fears? The story said that the murder of eight women at a “massage parlor” in Atlanta, six of the victims Asian-American, had unsettled the Asian community. That’s hardly surprising, since many of the dead were members of that community. The Times interviewed a couple of members of the Asian community who expressed “fears.” That does not justify a sweeping generality, nor the emphasis the stories under the headline gave to a supposed motivation for the killings that was supported by no evidence whatsoever other than the presumption of white racism. Presumption of white racism is bigotry, to be clear. not evidence.
The 21-year-old shooter told the police that he had a “sexual addiction” and attacked the spa to release the temptation to do something “that he shouldn’t be doing..” (It apparently didn’t register with him that murdering people is also something he shouldn’t be doing. With the logic of such morons is our social fabric constantly stained and shredded.) Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office told the press that the shooter “was attempting to take out that temptation.” Whoa, there, captain: Democrats can’t manufacture outrage, division and votes over a motive like that!
“Racially motivated violence should be called out for exactly what it is and we must stop making excuses and rebranding it as economic anxiety or sexual addiction,” Representative Marilyn Strickland, a Democrat of Washington State, said on the floor of Congress in resposne to the shooting. “As a woman who is Black and Korean I am acutely aware of how it feels to be erased or ignored.”
As a shameless and irresponsible demagogue like so many of her colleagues, she also knows how to abuse her high office. Naturally, this was the only front page quote from a member of Congress the Times deemed worthy of publishing regarding the incident, and with no necessary framing at all, as in “Despite there being no evidence of a racial motive, Rep. Strickland said otherwise on the floor of the House….“
Nah, that would spoil the fake narrative! Asian-Americans are being actively discriminated against in affirmative action programs, as law suits winding their way to the Supreme Court will eventually show. Asian Americans went Republican in more numbers in the 2020 election. It’s high time to tell them that evil white people want them dead.
The mainstream media got the memo, and went to work. Journalism had nothing to do with it. Andrew Sullivan, another member of the disaffected and rotting profession who is hiding out in the metaphorical hills with the rebel dissidents known as substack, laid out the obvious, except that those denying mainstream media bias are incapable of seeing what is obvious:
This story has also been deeply instructive about our national discourse and the state of the American mainstream and elite media. This story’s coverage is proof, it seems to me, that American journalists have officially abandoned the habit of attempting any kind of “objectivity” in reporting these stories. We are now in the enlightened social justice world of “moral clarity” and “narrative-shaping.”Here’s the truth: We don’t yet know why this man did these horrible things…..
We have yet to find any credible evidence of anti-Asian hatred or bigotry in this man’s history. Maybe we will. We can’t rule it out. But we do know that his roommates say they once asked him if he picked the spas for sex because the women were Asian. And they say he denied it, saying he thought those spas were just the safest way to have quick sex. That needs to be checked out more. But the only piece of evidence about possible anti-Asian bias points away, not toward it….
And yet. Well, you know what’s coming. Accompanying one original piece on the known facts, the NYT ran nine — nine! — separate stories about the incident as part of the narrative that this was an anti-Asian hate crime, fueled by white supremacy and/or misogyny. Not to be outdone, the WaPo ran sixteen separate stories on the incident as an anti–Asian white supremacist hate crime. Sixteen! One story for the facts; sixteen stories on how critical race theory would interpret the event regardless of the facts. For good measure, one of their columnists denounced reporting of law enforcement’s version of events in the newspaper, because it distracted attention from the “real” motives. Today, the NYT ran yet another full-on critical theory piece disguised as news on how these murders are proof of structural racism and sexism — because some activists say they are….There’s a reason for this shift. Treating the individual as unique, granting him or her rights, defending the presumption of innocence, relying on provable, objective evidence: these core liberal principles are precisely what critical theory aims to deconstruct. And the elite media is in the vanguard of this war on liberalism.
Sullivan’s essay is titled, “When The Narrative Replaces The News.” Now he notices? Politically weaponized narratives have regularly replaced the news for more than a decade! Sullivan himself carried water for some of those narratives, such as the Big Lie that President Trump was a danger to the Republic because he was “authoritarian,” and should be impeached on general principles. Andrew was shocked that Mueller found no evidence of “collusion” with Russia.
I agreed with Trump’s “enemy of the people’ assessment, and since he said it, I agree with it more. At the time, I felt a frontal attack on the enshrined profession of journalism was inappropriate for his office; I don’t feel that any more. Like Reagan’s gut punch to the self-esteem of the USSR, a direct statement of the once unthinkable truth about what our journalism has become was and remains necessary.
Only when its practitioners wake up to what a corrupt and destructive force they have become is reform possible.