At what point is it justified to feel righteous indignation at the arrogant, short-sighted, disrespectful way in which many members of the dinosaur pop media treat the truth, their potential readers, and those who are their likely ideological opponents? Goodness knows Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, might have felt such indignation when he decided to start the organization in 1987. And it’s a good thing he did, for he appears to have been prescient, aware that the fight against outlandish and insufferable media bias would be a long one that would grow more intense with each passing year.
Friday, September 27, saw the New York Times upping the ante. As noticed and noted by LA Times national reporter, Matt Pearce, that day saw NYT release a story by scribes Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni in which they openly stated that in a meeting with Trump, NRA President Wayne LaPierre asked that, in return for his group’s support, The President “stop the games” over gun control.
The DailyCaller found the original before the NYT changed it, quoting:
But in return for the support, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House ‘stop the games’ over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said.
Which is, of course, unattributed hearsay, and typical of many collectivist rags. But, more to the point, it implies possible illegality based on Federal Election Statutes. And if it is not true, that means it’s potentially libelous.
Later, the NYT appeared to have changed the phrasing, to read:
During the meeting, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House ‘stop the games’ over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said.
And, as Scott Morefield notes for the DailyCaller, the NYT appeared to add language to vector away from the impression the article had already given those who read it.
But the changes went unacknowledged by the Times. And, of course, it got Mr. Pearce – who HAD read the first version -- justifiably upset, because he earlier had Tweeted about the contents of the article.
When he discovered the unacknowledged changes, he was not happy, Tweeting:
As a professional courtesy, I am not a big fan of unacknowledged story edits that make my early tweets summarizing their piece into something potentially libelous.
But, of course, the first version of the story fits the current “narrative in vogue” that Mr. Trump must be making quid pro quo deals with everyone, from LaPierre to the White House plumber. And it reinforces the perrenial leftist narrative that when DC politicians don't "act" on "common sense gun control" (read: anti-rights, unconstitutional attacks on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms) they must be "in the pocket" of the NRA.
We see and hear these kinds of broad-brush insinuations a great deal. But one need not become acclimated to them. It’s bad enough for the NYT to print a story lacking any attribution whatsoever. It’s utterly reprehensible, and absolute journalistic misconduct, to insinuate a possible violation of law, then eliminate that insinuation hours later, and not acknowledge it.
Such work is not only sloppy, it’s downright dangerous and highly unprofessional.
Luckily, even writers at the left-leaning LA Times have noticed this kind of slippery operation, and have called out the Times for it.
But will pop media gurus such as Jake Tapper spend a lot of time exposing this kind of yellow journalism? After all, as The Daily Caller's Morefield notes, Tapper got caught up in the fervor as well, Tweeting (before he removed it):
NYT: ‘in return for’ financial support for the president’s defense as he faces political headwinds, NRA chieftain Wayne ‘LaPierre asked that the White House ‘stop the games’ over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said.’ https://t.co/KtirkD7zjG
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 27, 2019
Will there be a CNN expose? Will Tapper grill the authors of the Times piece?
One is tempted to say, “stay tuned”, but the likelihood of his digging deep into this journalistic poison pen is low.
All of which provide more reasons to be wary of the media dinosaurs. They have short memories, and tend to exhibit little care for the standards of fair play.
(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)