It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way (….) -Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales. Proverbs 20:23 (NLT)
OK, technically, this column should be entitled “A Tale of Two Kinds of Media Coverage of Two Kinds of Protests.” However, since that’s wordy and falls too far from Dickens’ more concise label, “A Tale Of Two Protests” will have to do.
Many of us were shocked during the Covid lockdowns as Virginia parents were silenced or intimidated during some school board meetings, and some “open hearings” were shut down and parents driven from the public gathering rooms. Then, our shock turned to horror when we learned our Executive Branch was labeling such parents “domestic terrorists” just because a mom or dad didn’t want their daughter being in the same girls’ bathroom or locker room with a biological male, whether he was wearing a skirt or not.
Thankfully, that outrageous injustice–helped along of course by Terry McAuliffe’s now famous words “I’m not going to let parents tell teachers what to teach”–woke enough Virginia voters from their slumber long enough to vote for the straight Youngkin/Sears/Miyares ticket last November to begin to redress the imbalance and try to begin to set right some of the mess.
And now, we find more outrages: first the recent leak of a draft Supreme Court brief, and now the protests outside the private homes of some Supreme Court judges–actions that, for the record, are totally illegal. (But where is Merrick Garland in applying the law?)
And much of the legacy, mainstream media? Ah, if one good outrage deserves another, many reporters and commentators for the past couple of years have been falling all over themselves to portray the upset parents as, indeed, “hate-filled, violent, angry, bigoted, name-calling maniacs who are a threat to our democracy!”
But now, in May 2022, with some protestors outside judges’ private residences after-hours, even on Mother’s Day weekend?
In contrast to painting legitimately upset parents as “domestic terrorists,” much of the media lionizes these recent pro-abortion protestors, portraying them as “deeply hurt, concerned citizens simply standing up for their rights, fighting for democracy,” etc.
But as I often tell my students, “Don’t take my word for it: see for yourself and come to your own conclusions.”
So, who better to speak for some journalists (and their producers and the bigger people in turn pulling their strings) than those journalists themselves, plus some of their cherry-picked “experts” who come on screen to say what seamlessly matches the dominant narrative.
And don’t be fooled. Most of those “expert” professors or officials or whomever are asked on to talk shows or news clips are indeed handpicked to say will match and reinforce the message the news producers want to send. Ironically, it was a CBS bigwig, Bernard Goldberg, who blew the whistle on this dishonest behavior in his 2001 book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.
So please, take a look and see for yourself. And as you watch and listen, ask yourself: are these news clips handing the protests with the same, consistent lens, or with a vastly double standard? Click here to watch: Link
With many media leaders engaging in this kind of blatant deception and “putting their thumb on the scale” to play up one kind of protesting while demonizing another, is it any wonder public trust and respect for the news media keeps hitting rock bottom?
Last October the respected, nonpartisan Gallup organization released this bombshell: “Americans Trust in Media Dips to Second Lowest on Record.” Shockingly, the pollsters claim “In all, 7% of U.S. adults say they have ‘a great deal’ and 29% ‘a fair amount’ of trust and confidence in newspapers, television and radio news reporting.” Put another way, only about one-third of the US population puts much stock in what our mainstream news reports tell us, which means the other two-thirds of us–that would be the vast majority–don’t have much trust in or use for it.
How can our democracy survive let alone flourish if so much of the information we are being fed as “the news” is either misleading or downright false?
To learn more about insidious media bias and how dangerous it can be, but also some helpful tips to identify and neutralize it in your mind, read this blog post.