The state of journalism is in serious trouble. I’m not saying anything there that others have not already said. Confidence in our media is at an all-time low. Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer reports that 46% of Americans trust traditional media. 57% of Biden voters trust traditional media, but trust in media took a precipitous downturn among Trump voters, where only 18% trust that they’re getting the truth. The Edelman poll showed that 56% of Americans agree with this statement: “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.” 58% agree with this statement: “Most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.” Many American, I think, believe this lack of trust is justified, given the want of objective media today. Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, says, “We’ve been lied to by those in charge, and media sources are seen as politicized and bias[ed]. The result is a lack of quality information and increased divisiveness.”
Three recent examples demonstrate the willingness of our media elites to manipulate the facts in order to support a false narrative.
Most of you, I am sure, have heard about the new elections law passed in Georgia. The Democrats, led by President Biden himself, have not been scrupulous at all over sharing the facts of the law, willingly misrepresenting elements of the law in order to make it sound like Republicans in Georgia are trying to suppress votes, especially among minorities. Biden himself told a whopper when he said that the law requires that polling places close at 5pm, thus disenfranchising people who cannot get off work in order to make it to the polls before 5pm. In fact, the law states that 5pm is the earliest that polls may close, not the latest they may stay open. They may, however, stay open as late as 7pm. Even The Washington Post gave the president four pinocchios for his false claim. Undaunted, Biden repeated the falsehood even after the Post reported that he was wrong. Another focus of the Democrats has been the provision that voters may not be given any food or water while they wait in line to vote, conjuring the image of voters wasting away in starvation and dehydration while standing under the hot Georgia sun for hours waiting to vote. In reality, the law prevents party-affiliated personnel from handing out gifts, including food and water, to people standing in line in order to prevent them from trying to influence voters. “Hey, buddy, here’s some bottled water to help you remember to vote for Mike!” Also, the provision only obtains for the last 150 feet outside the door of the polling place, and there are other provisions of the law that will hopefully speed up the movement of the line, cutting wait times. Finally, election officials not associated with either party can make food and water available to those in line. And you can bring your own water! Georgia has been pilloried, as well, for reducing the number of drop-boxes, where voters can drop their filled out ballots, much like people mail letters. But, the drop-boxes were an innovation created in haste to assist voters who did not want to go to polling places in the middle of a pandemic, and the law creating the drop-boxes was set to expire. The Georgia law makes the drop-boxes a permanent option. Had it not done so, there would be no drop-boxes at all. Another point pressed by the Democrats is the requirement that voters show an ID in order to verify that they are who they say they are. On this point, the law has been criticized as racist because, for some reason, Democrats and those in the media believe that Blacks and other minorities do not possess an ID and are too stupid or poor to obtain one, an example of “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Over thirty other states require an ID to vote, including many Democrat dominated states, such as New York (which requires an ID to register to vote) and Delaware (the state Biden represented in the U. S. Senate for four decades). But, no one is calling the laws in these states racist, much less “Jim Crow on steroids,” as Biden described the Georgia law. Unfortunately, too many in the media have embraced the lies about the Georgia law uncritically and reported the lies as facts. Major League Baseball responded to pressure to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta and decided it will be played in Coors Field in Denver, CO. It makes perfect sense, of course, given that the ruckus is all about Georgia’s racist election law, to move the All-Star Game from a city with a 51% Black population and many Black-owned businesses that would have benefitted from the All-Star Game, to a city with a 9% Black population. Colorado also requires an ID to vote, and has fewer early voting days than Georgia now has under the new law. But, hey, it’s not about reality. Woke perception is everything.
CBS has come under a lot of fire for a 60 Minutes interview with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. CBS journalist Sharyn Alfonsi is asked DeSantis, “Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign, and then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach. How is that not pay for play?” Basically, Alfonsi was accusing DeSantis of a quid pro quo with Publix. Publix donated to DeSantis’ campaign. DeSantis gave Publix a contract for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. The implication is that Publix paid DeSantis and DeSantis rewarded them for their support. Only problem is, CVS and Walgreens actually got their contracts to distribute the vaccine before Publix, a fact 60 Minutes failed to mention. Publix has also contributed millions to liberal organizations and Democrat campaigns, another fact 60 Minutes failed to mention. Publix is also the largest pharmacy chain in Florida, so it would have been surprising and ridiculous if Publix had not received a contract to distribute the vaccine. Publix was also the first chain to be ready to distribute the vaccine during the second phase of distribution. So, DeSantis should have waited on initiating the second phase of vaccinations, putting more Floridians at risk, in order to avoid any perception of impropriety with Publix? Needless to say, 60 Minutes likely would have attacked him for that. DeSantis, of course, explained all of this, but 60 Minutes conveniently edited out most of his more than two minute explanation. Shortly after the 60 Minutes episode aired, Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management and a former Democrat Florida legislator who has worked for several Democrat campaigns, including for Gore and Obama, rebuked CBS for their hit piece against DeSantis. “I said this before and I’ll say it again,” Moskowitz wrote, “Publix was recommended by FLSERT [Florida State Emergency Response Team] and HealthyFla [Florida Department of Health] as the other pharmacies were not ready to start. Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governors office suggested Publix. It’s, just absolute malarkey.” Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, also a Democrat, criticized 60 Minutes on Twitter: “I watched the 60 Minutes segment on Palm Beach County last night and feel compelled to issue this statement. The report was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false.” Of course, CBS is standing by their reporting, insisting that the governor’s answer was edited for “clarity.” Sounds like it was edited to avoid clarity. Sheesh!
Finally, just to make the point that it is not only the leftist media that engages in misinformation for the purpose of confusing their supporters and pushing their political agenda, Tucker Carlson ran an episode reporting that a leftist activist was paid a visit by the California Highway Patrol for criticizing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC participated in a dialogue with Michael Miller, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Miller asked about peace initiatives in the Middle East. AOC gave a really bad answer, just objectively bad, demonstrating little knowledge or grasp of the conflicts in the Middle East. Ryan Wentz, a progressive anti-war activist, criticized AOC’s response on Twitter. He wrote:
“On April 1, @AOC did a livestream with Michael Miller, the head of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. She was asked about ‘peace between Israelis and Palestinians.’ Her response was incredibly underwhelming, to say the very least.”
A week later, Wentz was visited by two California Highway Police officers who told him they had been asked to check him out by the Capitol Police in Washington, DC in response to a threat against AOC. Wentz would go on Twitter again and report how shaken up he was about the experience, claiming that the reason for the visit was his posting of AOC’s lame response to Miller’s question:
“I’m really shaken up right now. I was just visited by two plainclothes police officers from California Highway Patrol at my home. They said they came here on behalf of the Capitol Police and accused me of threatening @AOC on Twitter yesterday. This is provably false.” In another tweet, Wentz wrote, “I shouldn’t be harassed by police for critiquing her politics.”
The Graystone, an online newsletter, claimed as well that Wentz was visited by the police because of his re-posting AOC’s online conversation with Miller and his criticism of her answer, writing, “In the tweet that triggered the police action, Wentz merely posted video of AOC delivering a vapid and embarrassingly convoluted answer to a question about resolving the crisis in Israel-Palestine.”
So, Carlson went with it. And he went hard, accusing AOC, the Capitol Police, and the CHP of creating a police state where those who criticize the powerful are subjected to police investigations. Carlson said on his program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “It’s hard to believe this is happening in America, but it did. The California Highway Patrol confirmed it Friday. The Capitol Police told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” they referred Wentz’s name because he was mentioned in a ‘threatening’ message. They denied that Ocasio-Cortez requested an investigation.” Carlson also claimed that, since Wentz had not provided any personal information on Twitter, Twitter itself must have provided that information to the CHP, or how else could the CHP have found out where Wentz lived? But, hold on. In an online article on Fox News, Carlson’s own station, it is reported that the Capitol Police confirmed that AOC did not flag any of Wentz’s tweets and did not request that he be investigated. The investigation was initiated by the Capitol Police, and Wentz was visited by the CHP because he had been tagged in a tweet by someone else that the Capitol Police interpreted as threatening, and not by his own tweets, either the tweet criticizing AOC or any others. “They were tagged in a tweet that was perceived as threatening that prompted us to look into this,” the Capitol Police explained. Furthermore, contrary to what Carlson reported, Wentz did include personal information all over this Twitter page (though not in that particular post). So, it was not difficult for the CHP to find him, and there is no reason to speculate that Twitter gave Wentz’s personal information to anyone. Now, AOC has been denounced for telling her substantial number of social media followers to report to Twitter, Facebook, etc..,. those who criticize her online. And, it does seem like the Capitol Police over-reacted to this, investigating someone who was merely tagged by some lunatic (though I’m not a police officer, and never have been, so I cannot speak for their protocols). But, Carlson should have investigated this more deeply before running with it. I suspect he did not because it fit the narrative he wanted to push.
Let me say, again, that a free press is essential for a working democracy. But, if the press cannot be trusted, they become part of the problem, part of what contributes to the failure of democracy. For a people to be free, they must be well informed. Our media elites are failing in their mission to inform the public. It is hardly surprising that few trust them.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.