Media Malpractice: The ABCs of Media Bias
by Malcolm A. Kline on February 17, 2017
When America’s most powerful media outlets demonstrated their understanding of participatory democracy by actually participating in the 2016 presidential election campaign, it backfired on them, big time.
For example, when President Trump came to the CIA and received the type of ovation he usually gets at rallies of his supporters, his appearance blew away yet another media narrative several weeks in the making about his alleged war on the intelligence community. “It was clear to any objective observer with a set of eyes and ears that Trump’s speech at CIA headquarters was a tremendous success. He was interrupted by applause 11 times,” Cliff Kincaid, Director of the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, pointed out. Cliff counted, because he can, unlike many of the “best and the brightest” in the media, as we shall see.
At this point, the only relatively reliable news that America’s so-called mainstream media offer are sports, weather and traffic reports. Even then you may want to get a second opinion. There is bias by commission and bias by omission. In other words, the media slant stories by what they report and by what they don’t. With the former, if you subscribe to Democratic National Committee e-mails, you will notice how remarkably they track with headlines and teasers in the media. The latter problem would be solved if the media actually adhered to their stated mission and reported the news.
Indeed, the catalogue of inaccurate news reporting is so voluminous that we concluded the only way to maintain our sanity was to relay it alphabetically.
Pro-Life March, Called the “Anti-Abortion March” by the Media
As we go to press in early 2017, the annual “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. has recently taken place. National Public Radio estimated the crowd size at “hundreds.” The pro-life activists who organized the march put it at tens of thousands. The latter is probably more accurate. Don Irvine, Chairman of Accuracy in Media (AIM), and Spencer Irvine, Director of Social Media for AIM, actually went down to the Mall and covered the March, finding that there was a sizable crowd, certainly in the thousands, but definitely more than “hundreds.”
Five years after it occurred, the media are still in a state of denial over this one. For instance, when the House Select Committee on Benghazi report came out last summer, the Chicago Tribuneeditorialized that, “The Benghazi report offers evidence of Clinton’s lapses, but not a lot of path breaking information.”
But AIM Editor Roger Aronoff, who founded AIM’s Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, recently wrote that “Despite the media’s lackluster enthusiasm for covering new developments in the Benghazi story, several key events occurred in 2016 in the search for the truth. In June, the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi released its second report on the Benghazi attacks of 2012. Thereport outlines how the Obama administration willfully and ‘materially aided known al-Qa’eda-linked militias to topple [Muammar Qaddafi’s] regime.’ This, as we have argued before, demonstrated how the administration actively ‘switched sides’ in the War on Terror. In addition, the new report revealed that the Obama administration sent aid to forces that would later coalesce into the Islamic State.”
Black Lives Matter
The media still like to put this radical advocacy group in the same category as the original March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Doing so does Dr. King a grave injustice. As William Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations, noted on the day after the attack at a BLM rally in Dallas in which five police officers were killed, “I think [the Obama Administration] continued appeasements at the federal level with the Department of Justice, their appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter, actively calling for the death of police officers, that type of thing, all the while blaming police for the problems in this country, has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible.”
The reporting on both sides of the Atlantic regarding Britain’s exit from the European Union in order to go back to governing itself shows how successfully media bias can go global, and collapse. Probably the ultimate authority on Brexit is Daniel Hannan, the Tory representative in the European Union who led the movement that summer to leave the EU. Here’s what he had to say about it at the Cato Institute last fall: “It’s difficult to begin to describe the imbalance of forces in our recent debate and referendum. Every broadcaster, every political party, every bank, every big corporation, every trade association, every think tank, every EU-funded university, the whole of the establishment was telling us that it was a matter of national survival to stay in the EU. That it would be calamitous for us if we left. And people didn’t believe it. On June 23, they politely disregarded all the advice, all the bullying, all the hectoring and threats, and they voted to become a self-governing country again.”
Of course, the media in Great Britain and America first said it wouldn’t happen, then went into Chicken Little sky-is-falling mode when it did. “Let’s just look at what happened since our vote,” Hannan said in his October 2016 speech. “We were told by every economist, by every bank, by every politician, that if we voted Leave, our stock exchange would collapse.”
“In reality, the stock exchange collapse is happening in the Eurozone; British stocks are the best-performing in Europe. We were told that unemployment would go through the ceiling. In fact, unemployment has fallen every month since the vote, and is currently at its lowest-ever level. Your president [then, Barack Obama] said, if you leave, don’t expect us to talk to you as a commercial partner—you’ll be in the back of the line for any trade talks. He’s conspicuously failed to repeat that line since, and the Speaker of the House has quite rightly said: ‘We’re going to have a trade deal with the UK long before we have one with the EU.’ The German finance minister said: ‘If you vote Leave, you’ll be treated as any other country and we won’t have any special arrangements with you.’ He now says: ‘Oh no, no, no, Britain’s our biggest customer, of course, we’re going to have a good deal.’ This is the extent to which the experts were wrong, and the people were right.” Does that sound familiar?
The media have barely covered this. At our sister organization, Accuracy in Academia, we have not only done so, but noted that opposition to the untested educational experiment has gone way beyond conservative activists to include local Democratic parties, some unions and even teachers. Candidate Trump spoke about it less frequently than he did unemployment or terrorism but he never had a kind word for it. Conversely, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose endorsement of CC and connection to it was fairly consistent, saw his own candidacy for the Republican nomination fail as a result, although he might not have realized it himself.
Although the media would rather focus on the alleged misdeeds of renegade cops, murder rates in major metropolitan areas have gone through the roof, making many of them about as safe as the Middle East. Along with the crime wave, few in the media care to acknowledge that most blacks are killed by other blacks, as crime statistics from the Obama Administration’s Justice Department have indicated. Similarly, they rarely report on the violence perpetrated in border towns by illegal aliens with criminal records, although residents of those communities regularly share tales of beheadings, murders, rapes, kidnappings and robberies.
This is arguably the big one. The mainstream media have been content to accept former President Obama’s monthly jobs numbers and proclamations of economic growth and recovery, but if they dug just a little deeper they would find that other numbers from the same source tell a different story. So, for that matter does a long ride outside the Beltway. On at least half a dozen occasions since last November, I have had bewildered federal employees ask me, “What happened?” I have told each of them, “Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate to talk about jobs since Bill Clinton in 1992 and the first Republican to talk about jobs since Ronald Reagan in 1980.” When I mention that, I can almost see the light bulb turn on in their heads.
AIM Editor Roger Aronoff noted last year that, “A December report co-authored by Obama’s former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Alan Krueger, revealed that in the last decade, 94 percent of all jobs created in this country were part-time jobs, generally without benefits.” Aronoff noted in another report last year that “Gallup argues that real unemployment is at 9.5 percent, not the 4.9 percent that the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported.”
As I pointed out last August, “During the 1930s, as many as 15 million were out of work, according to the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Currently, ‘Combining those not in the labor force who are of working age and all those unemployed shows 55.4 million working-age, native-born Americans without jobs in the first quarter of 2016, compared to 41.1 million in the same quarter of 2000,’ according to Dr. Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).”
“If the former period was a ‘Great Depression,’ surely, at least, this is an even greater one.” Our population since the 1930s has tripled but the number of unemployed has more than tripled.
“We have noted that both conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan and liberal Democrat President Bill Clinton could, and did, legitimately, brag about record levels of job growth,” I wrote last summer. “Both occurred for the same reason: New jobs come from new businesses.”
“Therein, lay the bad news, that isn’t getting any better: In the past 16 years, the BLS reports, the new business survival rate has dropped from 48 percent to 20 percent. Even if you are lucky enough to get a job, with these odds stacked against you, the odds are that you will have little resembling disposable income,” I wrote last August. “The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2014 that ‘In 2013, real median household income was 8.0 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the latest recession.’”
The Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal
Polls show that Americans were consistently upset that she would be so cavalier with America’s top secrets while she was serving as secretary of state. The media are even more upset that the e-mails were leaked. Judicial Watch announced on Groundhog Day in 2017 that they “released 549 pages of new State Department records, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which Hillary Clinton top aide Huma Abedin secured an invitation to a 2009 State Department luncheon for Sant S. Chatwal, a businessman under investigation in two countries and was also a Clinton Foundation trustee and contributor. The emails also contain an email to Clinton, shared with Abedin, the classified names of intelligence agency employees.”
“The records contain 21 previously undisclosed Clinton emails–of a total of at least 259 that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department–further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, ‘as far as she knew,’ all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department. Two of these emails are now available on the State Department’s website.”
This media narrative didn’t last long, mostly because when they echoed their favorite president in proclaiming it, groups such as Accuracy in Media said, essentially, “Bring it on!” The mainstream media (MSM) were mainly referring to ersatz journalism on social media. AIM has been documenting fake news purveyed by the MSM, going back almost a half a century.
When the Cuban dictator died last year, the media mourned, ignoring the decades of human rights abuses that made him a preoccupation of both the State Department and Amnesty International.
The media write this obituary annually, even when the Grand Old Party controls the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, not to mention governorships and state houses.
This only gets covered during Republican presidential administrations. During Democratic White House occupancies, it magically disappears. Not the homelessness, just the coverage of it.
This is the one that really struck a chord for candidate Trump, and the media are still tone deaf as to why. They want to focus their attention on whatever human interest stories they can find that support their narrative while ignoring those that don’t. If you find a member of the media, mention the name Kate Steinle and see if it produces any recognition. Then make further inquiries and see if any of them have covered “Kate’s law.” She was killed by an illegal alien with a criminal record who was repeatedly caught and released.
“Already tens of thousands of Americans have been killed by illegal aliens,” according to The Remembrance Project. Founded by Maria Espinoza, the daughter of “an immigrant father and a 5th generation Texan,” The Remembrance Project “advocates for families whose loved ones were killed by illegal aliens.” They claim that “12 Americans are murdered each day by illegals, and an additional 13 Americans are killed by illegals driving drunk.”
The media prefer to cover immigration as war against “the other.” They never admit that both Americans and legal immigrants are concerned with terrorism, crime and jobs. Thus, terrorists on visas, even if they have overstayed them, are rarely tallied up by the media. Neither are crimes by M1-5 or “lone wolves.” Yet and still, even among those who emigrate for economic reasons, there is a great untold story. In fact, we’ve only found two writers who have, Michelle Malkin and John Miano in their book, Sold Out. They show how crony capitalists and their allies in government conspire to import H1-B visa holders into America to displace American workers. The arrangement generally leaves the Americans unemployed, the foreign workers living and working in conditions Sinclair Lewis would be shocked at, and the employers rich.
When members of the media look at themselves, they are usually in denial.
She actually qualifies as good news, although reporters grilling her probably don’t think so. On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump’s campaign manager proved that she is smarter than all of the political consultants who worked on the past five Republican presidential campaigns put together including, especially, Karl Rove. She also has the honor of being the first female campaign manager to win a presidential election. Here at Accuracy in Media, we have long been familiar with her work: She spoke at one of our lunches more than a decade ago. Now a counselor to the president, she rarely says anything that she cannot back up.
They don’t exist, particularly in the media. They’re either “centrist” or “nonpartisan.”
When the media acknowledge their existence, it’s usually a derisive acknowledgement.
If you’re still looking for yours from the MSM, let us know if you find any.
The media still treat this is as a success story, echoing their favorite source on the matter—the man it was named after. Nevertheless, half of the Obamacare exchanges, from which the uninsured were supposed to get their health care, had crashed by the middle of last year. This leaves an open question that so far, no one on either side of the aisle in Washington, D.C., is investigating, namely, when they crashed, how much of Obamacare went with them?
Drawing on data from the Obama Administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Heritage Foundation policy analyst Edmund F. Haislmaier testified before the U.S. House Budget Committee in January of this year that, under Obamacare, “While the final figures will be somewhat different once the more complete end of year data is available, at this point it is reasonable to expect that for the three-year period of 2014 through 2016, the net increase in health insurance enrollment was 16.5 million individuals. Of that figure, 13.8 million were added to Medicaid and 2.7 million were the net increase in private-sector coverage enrollment.”
Whey they work against Republicans, the media report them as though they were election results. As they learned last November, they aren’t.
But only when Republicans control the White House.
The media narrative on this one is of a piece with their line on immigration. Moreover, the United States has historically assisted genuine refugees fleeing oppression, from Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for instance. But do today’s refugees fit that template?
“Homeland security officials and inspectors general have warned for decades that our consular offices are filled with corrupt and incompetent clerks; our computer systems are outdated; criminal background checks have been abandoned wholesale; the deportation and removal apparatus has been sabotaged by pro-illegal immigration ideologues; and our southern border is overrun by drug cartel violence, human trafficking and misery,” Michelle Malkin reports. “We already grant 1 million legal permanent residencies to people from around the world every year.”
“That’s expected to increase to 10.5 million green cards by 2025. Add in between 11 million and 30 million aliens here illegally, along with an estimated annual influx of 70,000 asylees; 500,000 foreign students; nearly 700,000 total foreign guest workers (skilled and unskilled, plus their spouses, many of whom are allowed to work here as well); plus more than 350,000 foreign high school and university students, researchers, physicians, and summer work travelers on J-1 exchange visitor visas; 66,000 visas for nonagricultural temporary foreign workers; and 117,000 slots for seasonal agricultural workers.”
Downsizing Federal Regulations
This is a hard story to pitch to media outlets but the people who pay for it, their readers and viewers, might find it fascinating. The last U.S. government report to take a comprehensive look at the cost of federal regulations came from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2010: The SBA put the number at $1.7 trillion. “U.S. households ‘pay’ $14,842 annually in a hidden regulatory tax ($1.885 trillion in regulation [CEI’s calculation of the SBA total updated] divided by 127 million ‘consumer units’), or 22 percent of average income before taxes,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found last year. “That figure is higher than every annual household budgetary expenditure item except housing.”
“More is ‘spent’ on embedded or hidden regulation in society than on health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel and services, and savings. Societal regulatory costs amount to up to 28 percent of the typical household’s expenditure budget.”
The media worked every angle and adjective to tie the Republican presidential candidate to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government while ignoring the more tangible connections of the Democratic presidential candidate to the Russian regime. As AIM editor Roger Aronoff noted late last year, “Another issue is that it is really Hillary who has had a tight relationship with Russia, especially when she was secretary of state.”
“She used that position as a cash cow for her family foundation. As we pointed out a few months ago, through Skolkovo and Uranium One, tens of millions of dollars flowed to the Clinton Foundation in return for incredible rewards for the Russians, including 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves.” Peter Schweizer has researched and analyzed the Clinton Foundation’s myriad dealings to a fare thee well in his book Clinton Cash.
The media love to cover the marches in them, and statements by their public officials, but don’t look much further. “Department of Homeland Security records show that in just one eight-month period in 2014, more than 8,100 deportable aliens were released by sanctuary jurisdictions,” Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky wrote in The Daily Signal. “Three thousand of them were felons and 62 percent had a prior criminal record.”
“Nineteen hundred were later rearrested a total of 4,300 times on 7,500 different offenses.” Von Spakovsky has worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Hillary Clinton was always mystified that no one other than the press pool and herself seemed to care about Donald Trump’s tax returns. Here’s a hint: People are much more interested in what politicians do with their taxes than what businessmen do with their own money. AIM Editor Roger Aronoff nicely summarized some of the actual scandals that the media missed: “The press considered few, if any, of the major Obama scandals—the IRS targeting scandal, Benghazi, the Veterans Administration scandal, Fast & Furious, ransom cash sent to the Iranians—as real scandals.”
On Election Eve last year, media superstars corralled every “business expert” they could find to go on the air and support their conclusion that a stock market collapse was imminent in the wake of a Republican presidential victory. Since then, the market has hit record highs that Trump supporters have gleefully posted on social media.
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OPINION: Media Malpractice: The ABCs of Media Bias
Media Malpractice: The ABCs of Media Bias