After eight years of being told that Barack Obama can do no wrong, Americans are waking up to “fake news.” Huh?
After eight years of living in a media-created bubble many citizens just discovered that the world had passed them by, that they did not know what was happening and that they had missed the biggest political story of our time.
Led by the New York Times, the media missed the Trump story. The issue was not whether the opinion page writers were for or against Trump. The issue was that the paper was slanting new coverage to influence opinion. The media was telling its readers what to think, and not even bothering to hide the fact.
Its readers discovered that once the bubble burst they were lost in the real world. They lacked the information and the news analysis that would have helped them to make sense of the Trump phenomena. Some were appalled at the Times for having let them down, for having deprived them of information and for leaving them with nothing but raw emotion. Others resorted to the only skill that the media taught them. They let fly with a blizzard of bigot shaming.
Those who felt betrayed by the Times let the public editor, Liz Spayd hear about it. She wrote this:
… from my conversations with readers, and from the emails that have come into my office, I can tell you there is a searing level of dissatisfaction out there with many aspects of the coverage.
Readers complain heatedly and repeatedly about the forecasting odometer from The Upshot that was anchored on the home page and predicted that Hillary Clinton had an 80 percent chance or better of winning. They complain that The Times’s attempt to tap the sentiments of Trump supporters was lacking. And they complain about the liberal tint The Times applies to its coverage, without awareness that it does.
Horst Gudemann of Jackson, Wyo., says he doesn’t want to be spoon-fed opinions that The Times thinks he should have, and he doesn’t want his primary news source to stereotype half the country as racists.
Since many Times reporters live in their own bubble, they are blind to their own group think.
Spayd describes it:
That left many of the readers I spoke with feeling like The Times was a swirl of like-mindedness.
The editor and publisher of the Times did try to explain themselves, but their efforts, mixed with an air of self-congratulation, did not go down well.
Providing accurate information is a newspaper’s reason for being. If it purposefully skews the facts in order to tell people what to think, it is abrogating its responsibility and manipulating the minds of its readers.
Chavi Eve Karkowsky, an obstetrician in New York City, saw the letter through the lens of her own profession. “In medicine when something goes wrong, we ask: ‘Where did we get this information? Why? What should we do differently?’ We break it down to its very basic level,” she said. Karkowsky would have preferred a real apology, she said, and some sense that The Times was looking inward.
Many of those who were most torqued about the issue were themselves liberals. Lacking any sense of how the rest of the nation was seeing things, they had found themselves incapable of understanding what was going on, and thus, prey to their emotions and their anxiety. And they were angry at the Times:
I found myself wishing someone from the newsroom was on the line with me, especially to hear how many of the more liberal voters wanted more balanced coverage. Not an echo chamber of liberal intellectualism, but an honest reflection of reality.
Of course, the paper and many other news outlets have been lying to their readers for eight years now. They have been passing off “fake news” as reality. They repeat all of the lies that Obama has been telling as gospel truth. The people who are upset about the Times coverage have gotten a wake-up call. Their disappointment ought to extend far beyond the coverage of the last election campaign.
Take an obvious example. When the Obama administration came into power the government of Iran was an international pariah. It was a member of the axis of evil; it was a state sponsor of terrorism; its Jew-hatred and threats against Israel were considered to be beyond the pale; it had been subjected to crippling sanctions.
Now, thanks to Obama policies, the government of Iran will have the right eventually to develop a nuclear weapon. It has been allowed to test ballistic missiles that can send those weapons to Tel Aviv. Its influence extends through Iraq into Syria. It no longer has to worry about sanctions, because it has been recognized as legitimate by the United States. And it has just received hundreds of millions of dollars in cash. It will use the money to fund Hamas and to help it to kill Jews in Israel.
In addition, Obama has conspicuously and publicly showed his contempt for one world leader: the prime minister of the Jewish state. He has welcomed notable anti-Semites like Al Sharpton and the Black Lives Matter organizers to the White House. He has been supported by Jew haters like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Rev. Louis Farrakhan. As anti-Semitism and Jew hatred was taking over college campuses, the White House (and the mainstream media) has turned a blind eye to it. Considering that its own actions have contributed to the hatred, it could not very well do otherwise.
For eight years, we were not reading about anti-Semitism in the mainstream media. Now, because of something that Steve Bannon might or might not have said, the media elites have just discovered anti-Semitism. How can anyone take them seriously at all?
Of course, the president has lied over and over again. The press is trying to fight a war against racism and it seems to believe that calling out a black president on his lies is racist. Purifying the American soul of its sins seems more important than reporting the facts and providing good information. The press created a bubble to protect its favorite president and to create the world that corresponded to its ideals.
As for Obama’s lies, we can repeat, yet again, the lies about keeping your doctor and your insurance plan. It does not stop there. Yesterday on the Wall Street Journal site, James Taranto examined some of Obama’s most recent lies, lies that the media will allow to pass unquestioned. One noted, with chagrin, that Obama recommended that Trump be able to confront Putin... just as Obama himself did.
In truth, Obama never confronted Putin over anything. He has allowed Putin to do as he pleases, without fear of any reprisal or even pushback.
Here is another lie, with Taranto’s comments:
In Lima on Sunday the president himself declared: “I am extremely proud of the fact that over eight years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations.” That’s either delusional or very carefully worded: To our knowledge no other administration has used the IRS to punish ordinary citizens for dissent, nor faced FBI findings that the secretary of state treated classified information in an “extremely careless” fashion.
As for the charge that Americans are being influenced by “fake news,” as opposed to the supposedly real news reported by the New York Times, Taranto says:
Also in Lima, the president complained of “elections that aren’t focused on issues and are full of fake news and false information and distractions.” That’s the latest left-liberal excuse; a Sunday New York Times editorial was titled “Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News”—which is awfully rich coming from the editorial board that blamed the massacres in both Tucson and Orlando on conservatives, and from the paper that in 2008 called self-described “fake news anchor” Jon Stewart “the most trusted man in America.”
And of course, the lies about climate change and the environment are passed off as settled science—this despite the fact that any good scientist will tell you that there is no such thing as settled science. And despite the fact that the man who headed the climate science laboratory at MIT has often pointed out that the science is inconclusive.
In his comments over the past week, Obama has sounded some of the same themes we discussed back in 2013. He told Remnick: “Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is the consequence of man-made behavior, because that’s what ninety-nine per cent of scientists tell us.” The 2009 revelations from the East Anglia emails that scientists had manipulated data and abused the peer-review process?
So called journalists have been covering for Barack Obama for eight years. They have been fabricating stories and skewing facts. They have functioned more like idolaters than journalists. Perhaps it’s catching up with them. Time will tell.
Here is Taranto on David Remnick’s idolatry:
Remnick himself described the Obama presidency as “two terms long on dignity and short on scandal.” The IRS? The State Department scandal that arguably sank Mrs. Clinton’s campaign?
Anyone who thinks that the New York Times and the New Yorker are providing them with useful information woke up on the morning of November 9 to discover that all of their assumptions, all of the facts about the Obama presidency and the recent election campaign were lies. They discovered that they had been living in a bubble, in a fairy tale, in a fictional world that was crashing down around them.
They are rightly distraught, not so much because of the incoming Trump administration—though one might certainly have reason to disagree with some of what it is doing—but with the fact that they have been led by the Pied Pipers of the press over a cliff into a slough of ignorance.
In the absence of good information they can do no better than to rail at the moon. And they do not like it. They should not like it. But, they should recognize that if they are woefully uninformed and thus unable to take up serious intellectual arms, the fault does not lie with Donald Trump.