From The “Stop Making Me Defend The Washington Post!” Files: The Sheriff’s Threat

“Nice little library you got there…”

Like the New York Times, the Washington Post engages in fake news and unethical journalism virtually every day. For a critic to strain to find example of the either paper exhibiting its bias is not only unethical, its unnecessary. Be patient: the Post and Times will be lying if you just wait a minute.

The link bait I fell for was “The Washington Post Can’t and Won’t Stop Lying” from something called Front Page Mag. The Post headline the writer felt was an example of the paper “[churning]  out social justice clickbait that it knows to be false”  was…

A Nevada library wanted to back Black Lives Matter. The sheriff said he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls there.

Quoth Front Page: “As anyone who can read, a category that probably includes even Washington Post hacks, can see that’s not what Sheriff Coverley said. Sheriff Coverley did not say that he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls, but suggested that the library should live up to its principles by not calling 911.”

I can read, and I rate the Post’s analysis far more accurate than that spin. Who wrote this, Bill Clinton? Here’s what the sheriff communicated  to the Douglas County Public Library Board of Trustees: Continue reading

The Washington Post’s Very Bad, Very Revealing Day: How Often Does This Have To Happen Before Journalists Decide Their Bias Is Making Them Stupid…And Untrustworthy?

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! Continue reading

Fake News Ethics: A Quick Audit

fake-news

There is…

(1) fake news,

(2) misleading or incompetent reporting,

(3) news that some people call fake because they don’t like its likely effects or implications, and

(4) news that people want others to think is fake so they can peddle their own fake news.

Did genuine, unequivocal fake news affect the 2016 election—that is, the first kind, the kind peddled by hoax sites like The News Nerd, and the Macedonian junk like the story about the Pope endorsing Trump?  There’s no evidence that would suggest or support that. Many voters are naive, gullible, ignorant fools, but still: how many actually changed their votes based on complete fiction? It’s impossible to tell, but stating that this was the case is itself a form of fake news.

Democrats and partisan pundits had been using the “fake news” device to mute the voices of journalists who didn’t follow in lockstep to the mainstream media pro-Democratic march. The IRS scandal, which is real and damning, has been largely ignored by the mainstream news media and called a “nothingburger” in Obama Administration talking points.The assertion that it is a myth that the IRS is using its power to suppress conservative dissent is …..fake news.

Because Fox is the only major news outlet (I do not count the slimy Breitbart websites) that was consistently critical of the Obama administration when it deserved it (and sometimes when it did not), Democrats not-quite-successfully-enough set out to marginalize Fox, calling it “faux news” and pushing the Obama narrative that it wasn’t even a legitimate news source. Obama, in an interview with Rolling Stone (speaking of sources of fake news!), blamed Clinton’s loss in part on “Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.”

Isn’t that amazing? What gall. It isn’t the fact that the debt (that Obama promised to reduce) is now just short of 20 TRILLION dollars, with Obama adding a record $7.917 trillion to it, it’s that the one news source that actively exposed that fact was available to middle class voters that led to Hillary’s loss.  It wasn’t that the Affordable Care Act didn’t let Americans keep their health care plans as Obama repeatedly swore it would, it was that Fox News kept reminding its viewers of that (as the rest of the news media soft-peddled it) , while also publicizing that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, one’s health care insurance was less affordable unless the government was paying for it. It wasn’t that Hillary Clinton had lied about her e-mail tricks for over a year, the problem was that Fox was responsibly reporting that she was lying, unlike CNN, NBC, and the rest.

You know. Fake news.

As part of an organized effort up and down Democratic groups, ranks, allies and media operatives to de-legitimatize Donald Trump’s victory, the definition of “fake news” has been conveniently expanded. The Washington Post published a jaw-droppingly sloppy, partisan piece last week alleging that

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.”

Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Month: The Washington Post Editors

“On Thursday, while in Pakistan, Secretary of State John F. Kerry was asked in an interview how the United States — a champion of democracy around the world — can justify supporting Egypt’s military crackdown. Mr. Kerry’s reply was inexplicable. He said, “The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descendance into chaos, into violence. And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy.” It is one thing to be cautious and avoid using the word “coup,” which could trigger a cutoff of Egypt’s $1.5 billion annual U.S. aid package. But it is quite another to assert that Egypt’s military is “restoring democracy” when it has just removed an elected president from power.”

—–The Editorial Board of The Washington Post last week, expressing consternation at Sec. of State John Kerry’s double-talk regarding Egypt

Democracy is restored in Cairo!

Democracy is restored in Cairo!

Yes, the “quite another” thing that the Post dare not name is called “lying your fool head off.” Perhaps you prefer, “acting as if everyone in the world is an idiot.” Or better yet, “destroying any last shred of credibility the Obama Administration may have.” John Kerry, of course, as anyone who followed his 2004 presidential campaign with his hand-picked President-in-Waiting, John Edwards knows, already has none.

The Secretary of State of the United States of America, with a straight face and carrying the authority of the Obama Administration, actually said that a military coup—which is, you know, and everybody knows, is what this was—“restored democracy”!  Never mind that history has witnessed many, many military coups—a couple in Egypt, in fact—and they virtually never “restore democracy,”  nor was there a smidgen of a chance that this one would. Continue reading

The Washington Post Gives Up On Independent Ombudsmen: 1) Too Bad, Because It Needs One Desperately and 2) No Wonder, Since Its Last One Was A Bozo

Agreed: He's an improvement over the last ombudsman. But the Washington Post readers deserve better.

Agreed: He’s an improvement over the last ombudsman. But the Washington Post readers deserve better.

The Washington Post, which in 1970 became the first newspaper to employ a full-time “independent ombudsman” to explore reader complaints and exercise ethical oversight, has given up on the concept, pronouncing it a device “created decades ago for a different era.” You know–that era when people trusted the news media, and occasionally were given good cause to do so. Now the Post will rely on a “reader representative” named from the newspaper’s staff.

So much for “independence.”

Giving up on ombudsmen after having Patrick B. Pexton filling the role for the last two years is a little like giving up eating after Thanksgiving at my late Aunt Anna’s house. Her green, slimy, Wonder Bread turkey stuffing had to be tasted (but, oh God, never swallowed!) to be believed. Similarly, Pexton was an utter disgrace as an ombudsman, making excuses for unethical Post excursions into partisan hackery, and apparently completely unaware that his own biases mirrored those of his paper, which supposedly placed him in his job to offer perspective, not cover. And just as I seriously considered never again taking the risk of putting food in my mouth after that memorable holiday dinner in 1966, I can understand the Post thinking, as Pexton’s two year contract mercifully expired last week, thinking, “If we can’t do better than this clown, why have the position at all?” Continue reading