15 November 2023

You cannot trust the mainstream media

It's common sense that media with a strong ideological agenda are likely to slant their coverage.  It's not that one shouldn't read them, but rather that they should not be trusted as the sole source of information on anything.  The most common form their slant takes is not outright lying but rather omission of facts or of whole stories that don't fit their preferred narrative.  Anybody who relies on ideological media alone as a source of news is likely to end up unaware of, or at least confused about, such facts and stories.

Unfortunately this problem isn't confined just to far-right or far-left websites.  I'm increasingly seeing it in the MSM as well.

Over the last few years I've been including examples of such slanted MSM reporting in the Sunday link round-ups, mostly from the New York Times (and these are only the ones which come to my attention -- I can't actually read the NYT since it's paywalled).  One of the first and probably worst examples was a shockingly dishonest and scurrilous editorial about the Loudoun county rape cover-up scandal, extensively discussed here (for the actual text of the editorial, scroll down to the long comment by "Feministforever2020" toward the end).  I had already been closely following this story for months, so it was obvious to me how the NYT was twisting the facts to fit an agenda.  To most people, who had barely heard of the Loudoun county scandal until the NYT wrote about it, and thus knew little about it, the dishonesty of the editorial would not have been apparent.

I've noted occasional distorted reporting from the NYT since then, but lately the problem seems to have become a lot more common in the MSM generally.  Perhaps the strangest example involves the suicide of Alabama mayor FL "Bubba" Copeland.  Here are reports from NBC, the Daily Kos (assembled from several sources), and Newsweek.  None of these reports even mention this man's actual behavior whose exposure led to his suicide -- the fact that he had posted online an elaborate fantasy of murdering a local woman, whose real name he used in the post (threatening and frightening behavior, by any standard), and had also posted photographs of actual minors to a pornographic website without their or their parents' consent or knowledge.  This behavior is described, with extensive documentation and evidence, at Reduxx and 1819News.  Those sites told the truth while the MSM hid it -- but they are obviously far less well known and have far less reach.  If you had read only the first three stories mentioned above, you would genuinely have believed that Copeland was just an innocent and harmless cross-dresser driven to suicide by intolerance.

Election news, too, gets its share of slanted coverage.  It's often been pointed out that anything suggesting age-related limitations in Biden gets much more attention than the far more serious signs of rapidly advancing dementia in Trump.  The MSM are also mostly reporting the presidential campaigns in conventional horse-race terms, ignoring the way Trump abused his power while in office as no previous president had done, incited an insurrection to overturn the 2020 election result, and is now building up an army of toadies to fill top government posts if he wins next year, to undermine Constitutional checks and balances and give him far more power to abuse, while openly threatening to use the presidency to pursue personal vendettas.  Yes, one of those links is at CNN, but it was a one-off -- the MSM are not giving these issues and their implications for 2024 anything like the ongoing attention they deserve.  Accurate coverage does not consist of being equally favorable to both sides.  If one candidate poses a unique threat to democracy, that needs to be reported honestly.

The most disturbing and most dangerous example of MSM distortion of reality is unfolding right now, in their coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.  Anyone who has been following my Sunday links about this conflict and about the reactions to it in the West, and also seen how the MSM are reporting it, will know what I'm talking about.  Notably, the MSM rushed to blame the parking lot explosion at the al-Ahli hospital on Israel even as it became clear that a malfunctioned jihadist rocket was the cause, and continue to uncritically report Gaza casualty figures issued by Hamas, which has every incentive to exaggerate them.  Here is a good discussion.  The both-sidesing and efforts to claim moral equivalence in the most morally one-sided and unambiguous conflict the world has seen since 1945 are beyond depraved -- they approach outright collaboration with the rising new Nazi movement in our streets.

Here's another example, this time discussing the new importance of school board elections in the culture wars, with a focus on Virginia.  Again, the problem is not what the article says, but what it leaves out.  There is no mention of the widespread adoption in schools of mixed-sex bathrooms and locker rooms or giving boys access to girls' facilities, making the girls feel unsafe and prompting mass walk-outs by students in several states demanding that single-sex facilities be restored; nor of the cover-up of sex crimes in Loudoun county in an effort to avoid discredit to such policies; nor of schools pushing gross pornography (NSFW link) upon minors without parents' knowledge or consent.  Instead, in the article, dissenting views are represented only by idiotic instances such as a person claiming that Michelle Obama is a man or another calling for trans activists to be killed.  Those individuals are obviously deranged, but such examples have nothing to do with what parents' actual grievances are.  Those grievances are being distorted by omission, to make parents look like irrational troublemakers.

Finally, this exposé speaks for itself and needs no explanation from me.  Paul Kessler did not "fall down" or "hit his head" for no reason.  He did not just "die" while an "altercation" or a "confrontation" or a "dispute" or an "incident" was coincidentally happening in the vicinity.  He was beaten to death by barbarians.

Such examples are multiplying these days.  I regularly mention some of them in the link round-ups as I notice them, but it's clear enough that they're now pervasive.  It is now not merely advisable but essential to follow news sources representing a wide range of viewpoints, not just those you feel comfortable with, and to assume that any news source may be distorting or omitting facts to support its preferred narrative -- always check to see who provides hard evidence and documentation, as with the Reduxx and 1819News reports above.  And stop treating the NYT as a reliable news source.  Years ago it may have been, but these days it seems about as trustworthy as Breitbart.


Blogger NickM said...

I dunno how I feel about media slant. For sure it is wrong if (as with the mayor) important facts are just ignored but as far as a general take on stuff then as long as you know the political bias of a news source then you kinda know what you're getting. Here, in the UK it is simple...


15 November, 2023 04:43  
Blogger nick said...

Thanks for that. I didn't know the full story about "Bubba" Copeland, or about Trump's increasing dementia. You're absolutely right, the MSM is often biased towards a particular perspective and suppresses anything that doesn't fit. There's a classic British example today. The media have reported Sunak's plan to introduce new legislation on sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda at great length, but give virtually no space to all the problems such new legislation would create.

16 November, 2023 04:03  
Blogger dellgirl said...

I agree, "You cannot trust the mainstream media". I did when I was a kid because I didn't know any better. Now that I know better/more . . . I don't trust them at ALL!

This is interesting, and very informative. I love this post, thank you for sharing this thought-provoking information. Wishing you all the best, have a great weekend!

16 November, 2023 13:19  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Oh they definitely slant stories due to their own feelings and thinking on things. I rarely believe everything I read these days.

16 November, 2023 13:39  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: The problem is that so many people uncritically believe sources whose viewpoint they agree with, and never read anything else that might undeceive them. And since most of the bias takes the form of omitting inconvenient facts rather than of lying, they end up simply being unaware of a lot of things.

Nick: It's remarkable how many people here are under the impression that Biden has more cognitive problems than Trump, when the reality is just the opposite.

Dellgirl: Thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately many people think sources with no explicit partisan lean are unbiased. It's no longer true.

Mary K: It is possible to get the truth -- use multiple sources, and look for who has hard data and evidence rather than just assertions and generalities. It does take more work than it used to.

17 November, 2023 05:29  
Anonymous Reaganite Independent said...

There’s always been this left-leaning agenda, particularly NYT. I actually subscribe online, but been getting close to quitting lately

Considering stopping Daily Telegraph subscription too, instead of liberal bias they’re pushing Nigel Farage etc/goofing on Biden like Fox News would. At least they’ve got a record for accuracy

But 90% of the alternative media is worse than the MSM, where at least there is some semblance of balance and fact checking.

We do need the media as a pillar of our system, alas when they granted a Free Press in this country it came with certain responsibilities and duties democracy requires to function properly. Like establishing common facts

Perhaps the future lies in platforms such as Substack, where you can judge which individuals you trust, & they’re untethered from editors or a single paymaster. I follow a few of those

18 November, 2023 00:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

As I mentioned in the post, the problem of misinformation by omission seems to have come to the MSM later than to the "alternative" media, but it is definitely getting worse.

Blogs like those on Substack do have a role to play. As you say, people can learn from experience which ones are trustworthy, and there are plenty of them.

But I still think the only real solution is to read a wide range of sources, so that stories some sources ignore will still come to your attention via others.

18 November, 2023 05:22  
Blogger run75441 said...


Yes, on your statement or last sentence; "But I still think the only real solution is to read a wide range of sources, so that stories some sources ignore will still come to your attention via others."

23 November, 2023 10:12  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The way things are now, I think it's vital. People who rely only on an ideologically-limited range of sources always sound like they're living in a parallel universe. There's so much they don't know.

24 November, 2023 04:52  

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