Apologies Without End
The New York Times also engaged in suppressing news of Schiff’s abuses.
The first sentence of a January 24, 2023, NYTimes report on Schiff’s ouster from the committee definitively stated as fact that the decision was Speaker McCarthy’s “first major act of partisan retribution since taking the majority.”
This charade continued for the next five paragraphs. In the sixth the newspaper grudgingly allowed that “Republicans on the committee had demanded that Mr. Schiff step aside for having said that he had seen ‘more than circumstantial evidence’ of collusion between Mr. Trump and the Russians in 2017” and had “accused Mr. Schiff of having compromised the integrity of the panel by knowingly promoting false information.”
This was followed by two quotes from Schiff that reinforced the Ministry of Truth Media newspaper’s “partisan retribution” theme.
For his Russia collusion coverage autopsy in the Columbia Journalism Review, Jeff Gerth tried to ask Schiff about the total lack of substantiation for the “collusion” allegation. “Schiff declined to comment through his press aide,” wrote Gerth. The aide sent Gerth an email curtly dismissing the request: “this isn’t something we’re going to move forward on.”
This made perfect sense from Schiff’s perspective. Why help Gerth expose what the blue blood media was helping everyone forget about?
Horrible as they were, the media misdeeds Gerth analyzed in his report were not isolated incidents. The additional controversies covered in the Twitter Files made that much clear, but even those revelations represented a small sample of the major media malfunctions that have rained down since 2017.
If any “newsroom leader” had responded to Gerth by admitting mistakes in the Russia collusion hoax, it’s difficult to place a stopping point on where the apologies should have ended.
It has become easy to lose track of the Ministry of Truth Media’s shredded credibility regarding most of the major narratives it promoted and protected during the COVID pandemic.
The plausibility of a lab leak as the origin for the virus was plausible from the outset, given the proximity of initial outbreak to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly steered the credulous stenographer media away from this possibility and anyone asking important questions about it.
In one particularly infamous (and early) example of many, a February 2020 Washington Post report accused U.S. Sen Tom Cotton (R-AR) of spreading a “conspiracy theory” about the lab leak hypothesis that had supposedly been “debunked.” This was so over-the-line wrong and unsupported by facts that the newspaper had to retract both statements when the FBI and Department of Energy both un-debunked the likelihood of a Wuhan lab leak.
Fauci was still preaching as late as September 2021 that COVID vaccines for all—even healthy young people—would bring us “herd immunity” and kill off the pandemic. Anecdotal knowledge in early 2021 had already revealed that while getting the jab might take the edge off symptoms, it didn’t necessarily prevent infection.
Nonetheless, an August 2021 Washington Post report dutifully worried over vaccine mandates on college campuses, never hinting at nor exploring why college kids with a near-zero risk of COVID hospitalization should think shot mandates were advisable. The same factually selective journalism occurred in CNN reports about 100 universities requiring vaccines, and stories about Indiana University, the University of Virginia, Rutgers University, and students using fake vaccination cards.
The official misinformation from the Ministry of Truth Media and the injustice of the vaccine mandates was totally exposed by March 2022, when infections among the vaccinated exceeded those among the unvaccinated.
Related misinformation regurgitated by the mass media included overstating the efficacy of mask mandates and suppressing facts about natural immunity for those who had already recovered from an infection.
These pandemic errors conspicuously point in the same direction: toward enhanced power for the bureaucracies that were acting as sources of information for the corporate media journalists.
The End of Credibility
Another pre-pandemic example of mass media misinformation since 2017 was the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 18-essay, multimedia presentation was released in August 2019. Its central premise was that slavery and racial discrimination were the animating principles that created the modern United States.
Its errors and mischaracterizations were such that James M. McPherson and Gordon S. Wood were two of five prominent historians who signed a joint letter asking the newspaper to “issue prominent corrections of all the errors and distortions presented in The 1619 Project,” remove “these mistakes from any materials destined for use in schools,” and “reveal fully the process through which the historical materials were and continue to be assembled, checked and authenticated.”
A second and separate letter, signed by 12 Civil War historians and political scientists, raised similar issues and asked the newspaper to “withhold any steps to publish and distribute The 1619 Project until these concerns can be addressed in a thorough and open fashion.”
The New York Times responded with two letters, collectively telling the 17 credentialed academics to go pound sand. To the 12 Civil War historians, a New York Times editor replied that he had sent their worries to the newspaper “research desk,” which had “concluded that no corrections are warranted.”
The 1619 Project was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Along with the 2017 prize shared with the Washington Post for helping promote the Russia collusion hoax, this was the second Pulitzer in four years given to the New York Times for providing demonstrable and egregious misinformation to its readers.
The influence of the Ministry of Truth Media is declining because of these many misdeeds. “Before the 2016 election, most Americans trusted the traditional media and the trend was positive, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer,” wrote Jeff Gerth, early in his analysis for the Columbia Journalism Review. “Today,” Gerth wrote in the next paragraph, “the US media has the lowest credibility—26 percent—among forty-six nations, according to a 2022 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.”
Other polls strongly reinforced these findings. A July 2022 Gallup survey revealed just 16 percent of us trusted newspapers “a great deal” or “quite a lot,” a record low and down from a high of 51 percent in 1979. Similarly, trust in television news had crashed to 11 percent, also a record low, down from 46 percent in 1993. Both had experienced double-digit percentage point declines just since 2017.
On the flipside, 53 percent in 2022 reported trusting television news very little or not at all, with 46 percent saying the same for newspapers.
A February 2023 survey jointly produced by Gallup and the Knight Foundation found just “26% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the news media, the lowest level Gallup and Knight have recorded in the past five years, while 53% hold an unfavorable view.”
In a January 2023 poll released by Gallup, a combined 42 percent rated the “honesty and ethics” of journalists to be “low” or “very low,” versus 23 percent believing reporters had high ethical and honesty standards. A combined 77 percent rated the ethics and honesty of journalists no better than average, leaving the news media ranked just 1 percentage point more honest and ethical than lawyers. (Nurses, revealed as the most beloved of our professionals, were rated with average or worse ethics by only 21 percent of survey respondents, with a whopping 79 percent rating nurses with high honesty and ethics.)
In the next installment, the corporate media has a healthy self-regard, not shared by its consumers.