Well What Do You Know! Andrew Sullivan Finally Sees Clearly That The News Media Is Completely Corrupt And Untrustworthy

It sure took a while, Andrew, but it’s good to have you on board. Every little bit helps.

Andrew Sullivan is writing at substack now, the place where disillusioned former henchmen (and henchwomen, like Bari Weiss) of the biased and partisan mainstream news media have retreated after they sensed that somehow the people they were working for were doing more harm than good. Some, like independent journalist/muckraker Green Greenwald, flipped loyalties completely and declared his disgust with fury, even pointing out the news media’s campaign of lies against Donald Trump. Sullivan has, in contrast and until now, been unwilling to admit what has been obvious for a very long time: American journalism has really become “the enemy of the people.”

Oh, he has gradually picked off other and related examples of progressive ethics rot in our societyof many : check out the first 12 Ethics Alarms essays here, going back to 2014. These all must have been hard for him, for Sullivan is a moderate conservative turned progressive (by the gay marriage issue), and he doubtlessly would like to support his newfound companions. Yet he couldn’t quite bring himself to accept what I, to name just one objective analysts, figured out and have been documenting for more than a decade.

Now he has. Whew! I thought it would never happen.

In “Denial,” the film about the lawsuit by British Holocaust denier and fake historian Richard Irving’s defamation lawsuit against American Deborah Lipstadt, Tom Wilkerson as Lipstadt’s barrister Richard Rampton, in the process of excoriating Irving to the court where the case is being tried, says in a memorable speech,

My lord, during this trial, we have heard from Professor Evans and others of at least 25 major falsifications of history. Well, says Mr. Irving, “all historians make mistakes.” But there is a difference between negligence, which is random in its effect, and a deliberateness, which is far more one-sided. All Mr. Irving’s little fictions, all his tweaks of the evidence all tend in the same direction: the exculpation of Adolf Hitler. He is, to use an analogy, like the waiter who always gives the wrong change. If he is honest, we may expect sometimes his mistakes to favor the customers, sometimes himself. But Mr. Irving is the dishonest waiter. All his mistakes work in his favor. How far, if at all, Mr. Irving’s Antisemitism is the cause of his Hitler apology, or vice versa, is unimportant. Whether they are taken together or individually, it is clear that they have led him to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian in favor of a bogus rehabilitation of Adolf Hitler and the dissemination of virulent Antisemitic propaganda.

Note the parallels with Sullivan’s description of the mainstream media in his latest newsletter:

The news is a perilous business. It’s perilous because the first draft of history is almost always somewhat wrong, and needs a second draft, and a third, and so on, over time, until the historian can investigate with more perspective and calm. The job of journalists is to do as best they can, day by day, and respond swiftly when they screw up, correct the record, and move forward….

But when the sources of news keep getting things wrong, and all the errors lie in the exact same direction, and they are reluctant to acknowledge error, we have a problem. If you look back at the last few years, the record of errors, small and large, about major stories, is hard to deny. It’s as if the more Donald Trump accused the MSM of being “fake news” the more assiduously they tried to prove him right.

Sullivan can’t bring himself to emphatically charcterize and condemn exactly what the news media is promoting and lying about, though those 12 posts I just linked to are a clue. We have to be sympathetic to Andrew: these are his pals, and what he is doing takes courage, so he can’t resist equivocating with weak rhetoric like “we have a problem.” But then he follows with an admirable list of examples of the news media’s perfidy. He was paying attention all along. Sullivan starts with the Rittenhouse narrative:

And these mass deceptions have consequences. We are seeing this now in the Rittenhouse case — a gruesome story of a reckless teen with a rifle in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. The impression many got from much of the media was that a far-right vigilante, in the middle of race riots, had gone looking for trouble far from home and injured one man, and killed two, in a shooting spree.

Here’s the NYT on August 26, the morning after the killings: “The authorities were investigating whether the white teenager who was arrested … was part of a vigilante group. His social media accounts appeared to show an intense affinity for guns, law enforcement and President Trump.” Rittenhouse’s race is specified; the race of the men he killed and injured were not (they were also white)….notice how the narrative — embedded in a deeper one that the Blake shooting was just as clear-cut as the Floyd murder, that thousands of black men were being gunned down by cops every year, and that “white supremacy” was rampant in every cranny of America — effectively excluded the possibility that Rittenhouse was a naive, dangerous fool in the midst of indefensible mayhem, who, in the end, shot assailants in self-defense. And so when, this week, one of Rittenhouse’s pursuers, Gaige Grosskreutz, admitted on the stand that Rittenhouse shot him only after Grosskreutz pointed his pistol directly at Rittenhouse’s head a few feet away, it came as a shock….

…Here’s how the NYT first described this a year ago, on August 26: “Video footage from the scene of the shooting appears to show Mr. Rittenhouse running and then firing his gun, striking a man in the head. He then flees and is chased by bystanders before tripping, falling to the ground and shooting another man.”

His fury unleashed, Sullivan eventually moves on from the current media false narrative to others, channeling Captain Obvious by saying, “There’s a media pattern here”:

We found out this week, for example, that a key figure in the emergence of the Steele Dossier, Igor Danchenko, has been indicted for lying to the FBI. He is also charged with asking a Clinton crony, Charles Dolan Jr: “Any thought, rumor, allegation. I am working on a related project against Trump.”

The evidence from another key source for the dossier, Sergei Millian — touted across all media, including the Washington Post — has also been exposed as potentially fake. What has the Post done? …instead of a clear retraction, the Post has just added editors’ notes to previous stories, removed sections and a video, and altered headlines retroactively. This is a bizarre way of correcting the record: “No such case comes immediately or specifically to mind, at least no historical case that stirred lasting controversy,” said W. Joseph Campbell, a professor and journalism historian at American University.

…Trump was right, in the end, about the dodgy dossier; he was right about the duped FBI’s original overreach; and the mass media — Rachel Maddow chief among them — were wrong. And yet the dossier dominated the headlines for three years, and the “corrections” have a fraction of the audience of the errors. Maddow gets promoted. And the man who first published it, Ben Smith, was made the media columnist for the NYT.

…[T]he MSM …viciously defamed the Covington boys. They authoritatively told us that bounties had been placed on US soldiers in Afghanistan by Putin — and Trump’s denials only made them more certain. They told us that the lab-leak theory of Covid was a conspiracy theory with no evidence behind it at all. …Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The MSM took the ludicrous story of Jussie Smollett seriously because it fit their nutty “white supremacy” narrative. They told us that a woman was brutally gang-raped at UVA (invented), that the Pulse mass shooting was driven by homophobia (untrue) and that the Atlanta spa shooter was motivated by anti-Asian bias (no known evidence for that at all)….they followed up with story after story about white supremacists targeting Asian-Americans, in a new wave of “hate,” even as the assaults were disproportionately by African Americans and the mentally ill.

… [T]he NYT “published an emotionally gut-wrenching but complete fiction that never had any evidence — that Officer Sicknick’s skull was savagely bashed in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob until he died.” The media told us that an alleged transgender exposure in the Wi Spa in Los Angeles was an anti-trans hoax (also untrue). They told us that the emails recovered on Hunter Biden’s laptop were Russian disinformation. They did this just before an election and used that claim to stymie the story on social media. But they were not Russian disinformation. They were a valid if minor news story the media consciously kept from its audience for partisan purposes.

More recently, the MSM were telling us for months that inflation is a phantasm. We were told that the “2021 Inflation Scare is another in a series of false alarms going back several decades.” We were assured that “the numbers at least for now are on the side of those expecting the trend to subside and then stabilize at lower levels.” Any concern was “fearmongering politics.” And now we wake up to the highest inflation in 30 years, counter-balancing wage increases. Still, they tell us, all will be well.

…We were told that the migrant surge at the border was just seasonal, and nothing out of the ordinary, even as 1.7 million migrants were illegally trying to get into the country in the last year. We were told that sending migrants back to their home countries was a wicked and unconscionable Trump tactic — even as the Biden administration swiftly copied it with Haitian immigrants — to much success. The cruelty is the point, eh?

We were — and still are! — being told by most of the media that critical race theory isn’t in high schools at all. Meanwhile, a tsunami of evidence is out there showing that it absolutely is — in every subject, and every class, as the central philosophy behind many states’ education policies.

Feel better now, Andrew? You’re a smart guy: I’m sure you could have put this puzzle together long ago if your won bias hadn’t made you stupid (There are still lingering signs of this, like Sullivan’s ridiculous description of the  Hunter Biden laptop scandal as a “minor” story).

At least the fog has mostly cleared, so now Sullivan is writing almost exact duplicates of what readers have been seeing  here for many years. He concludes his essay (note that Andrew could not resist blaming all of this on Trump, I suppose to try to prove to his friends that he hasn’t completely turned on them them)

And at some point, you wonder: what narrative are they pushing now that is also bullshit? …I still rely on the MSM for so much. I still read the NYT first thing in the morning. I don’t want to feel as if everything I read is basically tilted through wish-fulfillment, narrative-proving, and ideology. But with this kind of record, how can I not?

We need facts and objectivity more than ever.Trump showed that.What we got in the MSM was an over-reaction, a reflexive overreach to make the news fit the broader political fight. This is humanly understandable. It is professionally unacceptable.

And someone has got to stop it.

A lot of us are trying, Andrew. Your assistance is welcome, and when we succeed, it will really be a bright, bright sunshiny day.

7 thoughts on “Well What Do You Know! Andrew Sullivan Finally Sees Clearly That The News Media Is Completely Corrupt And Untrustworthy

  1. I saw a meme yesterday that kind of says everything about where the mainstream media and the left (but I repeat myself) are coming from now. It had no picture, it simply said “I want to live in a country where Colin Kaepernick is regarded as a hero and Kyle Rittenhouse is regarded as a terrorist.” I bit my tongue and didn’t say what I was thinking: that ostentatious disloyalty doesn’t make you even close to a hero and let’s let a jury decide what Rittenhouse is, because 1. I wasn’t changing the poster’s mind; and 2. The problem was bigger than those specific examples. Anyone who writes or reposts something like that is in effect saying “I want everyone to think like me and agree with me.” The left and the media have been thinking like that since probably the Clinton days. There’s a reason CNN was then called “the Clinton News Network.”

    I have to ask, though, why is Andrew Sullivan just getting this now? Oh, that’s right, the right was opposed to a sudden and seismic cultural shift involving one of the basic building blocks of society, and nothing else mattered, it was all about the belief that heterosexual and homosexual couples were exactly the same and should be treated exactly the same. Single-issue voting is short-sighted, single-issue partisanship is just stupid. Like any other bias, it makes the objective inobjective, the wise foolish, the smart stupid, and the truthful liars.

    Dutch missionary Andrew van der Bilj, aka “Brother Andrew” and “God’s Smuggler” used to pray “God, you have made blind eyes see, please make seeing eyes blind,” when he crossed the borders into Communist countries, carrying Bibles and other religious literature that would be considered contraband. Bias seems to do a far better job than God ever did blinding people to a lot more than a few Bibles being brought into an atheistic country.

    I wrote three years ago that:

    “George W. Bush said recently that “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” He was absolutely right, but I’d take it a step farther. Too often we assume everything those we agree with say and do is true and comes from the best of intentions, while assuming that everything those we don’t agree with say and do is a lie and comes from the worst of intentions. Too often we are willing to believe that our own side’s mistakes or errors are just mistakes or errors or due to circumstances our side couldn’t prevent, while believing that the other side’s mistakes or errors are either deliberate wrongs or clear proof of incompetence. Too often we build up the heroes of our own side as unassailable while tearing down the other side’s heroes as wrong, incompetent, or simply not that important. There are no eyes so blind as those who refuse to see, no ears so deaf as those that refuse to hear, and no minds so foolish as those who refuse to understand.

    The question that should be weighing on everyone’s mind is: do we really want to put those who will not see, hear or understand anything that doesn’t agree with their view of how things should be in charge of this country? It’s just that approach that toppled the Temple of Diana, consigned the Library of Alexandria to the flames (a little bit at a time), saw Simon de Montfort’s knights slaughter their own people to make sure they got the others, let the Turks erase the Armenian nation from Asia, led Russia, Italy, Germany and Japan to somewhere we don’t need to talk about, and got bin Laden to the place from where he persuaded 19 men from decent lives who were not desperate that they should plow airliners into buildings.”

    Christmas of 2019 I wrote:

    “We’ve been over this a few times, but George W. Bush said it best that “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” Too often also, we are all too willing to forgive our own side things maybe we shouldn’t, and not willing to forgive the other side anything, even things we probably should. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s a mix of moral certitude, unwillingness to look at one’s heroes or leaders too closely, desire to be accepted by a group, and eagerness to criticize those we don’t agree with. It leads to a pro-wrestling mentality where it’s all about insults and threats and the biblical tendency to see the speck in someone else’s eye while missing the plank in one’s own.

    As far as a lot of Democrats are concerned, the GOP forfeited most of its merit when Herbert Hoover oversaw the Great Depression and proved not up to the task of handling it, then forfeited the rest with Watergate. Since then they’ve been trying to stop them when they get elected, but Ronald Reagan was too slippery and too well insulated, George Bush the elder was voted out of office before they could close in, and George Bush the younger, who should never have been elected, had too much of Congress on his side for too long and the political boost of 9/11 was too great. Now they’ve got Trump, who should also have never been elected, dead in their sights, and they can only hope that enough Republicans will see enough of the light and “get on the right side of history” to remove him. It’s the right thing to do, after all, since there’s not a single Democrat since FDR and maybe before, from the least significant councilman in a small village in New England all the way up to the Clintons and Obamas, who has done anything other than work tirelessly and serve selflessly to make the town, county, state, country and world better, fairer, more inclusive, more peaceful places and leave them all better than when they got there, where the rivers and air will be clean, the schools will be adequately funded, those who’ve been fortunate in life will pay their fair share to lift up those who haven’t been, no person who comes here for any reason will be turned away, church and state will be far apart, love will be love, and every child will be a wanted child.

    As far as most Republicans are concerned, the Democratic party forfeited a chunk of its own merit when LBJ couldn’t govern at home and led us into Vietnam without a clear way out, a good bit more when Carter proved to be a total incompetent who let hostages languish in Iraq for over a year, most of it when Clinton had sex in the Oval Office and then perjured himself, and whatever was left with the disaster that was Obama, hiding behind his color. They’ve been constantly trying to stop their hare-brained schemes, but LBJ decided not to run again, Carter was voted out by a landslide, Clinton could talk his way out of anything, and everyone was afraid of being labeled a racist if they challenged Obama. They’ve never forgiven the Democrats for hounding Richard Nixon from office and pulling the rug out from under South Vietnam, and now they think they are up to their old tricks, trying to force a duly elected president from office on an even thinner record. Unfortunately, this time they hold the Senate, and they’re holding firm on acquittal, while letting the Democrats make fools of themselves. It’s the right thing to do, after all, since there’s not a single Republican, from the smallest small-town mayor in rural Missouri all the way up to Trump, the Bushes, and Reagan, who has done anything other than struggle and fight without rest or self-interest, to make the town, county, state, country and world freer, safer, stronger, happier, more prosperous places where government takes only the taxes it absolutely must, does not interfere in business or personal affairs any more than is necessary to keep society safe, concentrates on protecting people rather than running their lives, enforces the laws already in existence rather than trying to come up with new ones as a remedy for every problem, makes sure good fences…and good borders…make good neighbors, makes sure there is a place for faith in society, that no one is forced to violate his conscience, and people take responsibility for their actions rather than avoiding it or passing it to someone else.

    With this state of affairs it should come as no surprise that those on one side just can’t see it the other side’s way, or even admit that there is any merit to the other side’s position. This is a recipe for what I’ll call brain dissolver, meaning an issue or situation that makes people’s brains liquefy and trickle out their ears, leaving them unable to have a real conversation or discussion and instead resorting to shouts, insults, threats, lawsuits, and sometimes violence. There have always been brain dissolving issues.

    Homosexuality for a long time was one, where one mention of same-sex attraction would send those opposed into paroxysms of insults and often talk about wanting to walk through Provincetown with a club or go to the Village and bust a few heads. Ireland is another, where the slightest whiff of the idea that maybe it doesn’t boil down to Irish=good, British=bad can get you screamed at and called all kinds of hateful names at best, beaten up at worst. Columbus Day is quickly becoming a third, where any kind of discussion will send the liberals into fits of how-dare-yous and the conservatives and Italians into fighting mode.”

    Well, I guess we have our answer to my question about whether we want to put those who are blind and deaf to other thoughts in charge – the answer, at least from the left, is a resounding “YES, if we possibly can.” We also can add the name Trump to the list of brain-dissolving topics.

    I might add, both the media and scholarship have been weaponized to fit the left’s latest agenda, although Howard Zinn, the first influential lefty polemicist historian, is dead 11 years. One small-time thug dies at the hands of a bullying, but not provably racist, police officer, and suddenly everyone is banging out articles on how every fucking thing and every fucking figure in American history is based on racism, and adding articles on how Lee was really a nasty man and a rotten general and how Columbus is really insignificant to boot. Is that scholarship, or is it propaganda with a veneer of scholarship?

    The facts in the Rittenhouse trial are what they are, video doesn’t lie. If he hadn’t opened fire he’d be either dead or as badly injured as Adam Haner, who coward Markquise Love tried a field goal on without ever letting him see it coming. Whether he should have gotten involved or not is almost a moot point, the time to stop armed vigilantes from getting involved in civil unrest was six years ago when Tea Party gun owners in tac vests and baseball caps started protecting businesses in Baltimore to give the already strained BPD some relief. Authorities elsewhere might have considered clamping down on leftist armed thugs like the John Brown Gun Club before Seattle and Portland got out of hand. Whether he was or wasn’t a white supremacist is irrelevant, his beliefs do not bear on the question of his guilt or innocence of the crimes he is actually charged with.

    Know what else doesn’t lie? The market doesn’t lie, consumer prices don’t lie, and business activity doesn’t lie. The fact is that the economy is drowning and the administration wants to add more water by spending more money that this nation doesn’t have.

    If we keep going this way, we are going to be perilously close to the same practices we once decried in an enemy nation that no longer exists, where every broadcast or publication was propaganda, every prosecution was political, and everyone who dared disagree with the administration was in very serious danger. In Wisconsin we already saw the next possible step with “John Doe” prosecutions of political enemies by a highly partisan Democratic DA egged on by his teacher union wife under a law that then-governor Scott Walker and the GOP legislature killed. Strangely you don’t hear about those gross abuses anymore, because the media never really covered them. It wouldn’t be too far of a step from that to abusing the various mental hygiene laws against firebrand political conservatives or activists. I know for a fact that here in NJ the police are immune from suit for taking action to get someone mentally evaluated or treated if necessary. I know because I used that law to get a case by a crackpot lawyer who was told to “get in the ambulance or we’ll throw you in” by police who thought he had gone off the deep end dismissed. It’s not too big of a stretch to imagine someone who posted harsh criticism of an authoritarian mayor or governor being picked up for mental evaluation, then placed on a “psychiatric hold” that just keeps getting extended, then the paperwork gets lost, etc., and next thing you know, it’s 90 days before the person gets released, with no one needing to say “STFU, or next time you go back to restraints and thorazine for a much longer time.”

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  2. I have a hard time believing Sullivan has truly seen any particular light. Ultimately, he seems to view the last years’ journalistic malpractice as simply a necessary reaction to … you guessed it … Trump. Anyone who can’t understand what precipitated the Trump presidency is a unsalvageable moron.

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