Media bias and dishonesty are so severe, a 2023 Gallup poll found only 7% “of Americans have ‘a great deal’ of trust and confidence in the media, while 27% say they have ‘a fair amount’ of trust in mass media,” according to this commentary from poyntner.org: “American trust in media is near a record low, study finds.”
Plus, “Twenty-eight percent of U.S. adults surveyed in the poll say they don’t have much confidence in the media, with 38% saying they have none at all” (emphasis mine).
Even more dire screams this headline from fortune.com: “Trust in media is so low that half of Americans now believe that news organizations deliberately mislead them” (emphasis mine).
“Half of Americans in a recent survey indicated they believe national news organizations intend to mislead, misinform or persuade the public to adopt a particular point of view through their reporting.
“The survey, released Wednesday by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, goes beyond others that have shown a low level of trust in the media to the startling point where many believe there is an intent to deceive (emphasis mine).
“Asked whether they agreed with the statement that national news organizations do not intend to mislead, 50% said they disagreed. Only 25% agreed, the study found.”
However, here’s a silver lining: “In one small consolation, (…) Americans had more trust in local news.”
On that note, consider this recent story contrasting The Roanoke Star vs. national outlets.
The world was shocked by the barbaric October 7 terrorist attacks on peaceful Israeli civilians and the ensuing Israel-Hamas War, where tragically many innocent civilians are now caught in the cross-fire. At around noon Eastern on October 17, first reports came in of a rocket attack on a Baptist hospital in Gaza. Hamas immediately blamed Israel for the rocket attack, and within about four hours Del. Salam “Sam” Rasoul posted this to X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Today Israel bombed a hospital and a UN school. War crimes it will never be held accountable for. Over 1000 children dead in 10 days. Sickening.”
Sadly, Raoul was not the only one to rush to judgment by taking the terrorists’ word at face value and spreading the fake news. Many major news outlets did too, including The New York Times.
“Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say,” read the initial Times headline.
By October 18, however, as more evidence poured in, it became clear: the story was fake.
For example, Rasoul’s fellow Democrat, US Sen. Mark Warner tweeted: “The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed intelligence related to the attack on al-Ahli hospital in Gaza. Based on this information, we feel confident that the explosion was the result of a failed rocket launch by militant terrorists and not the result of an Israeli airstrike.”
Even the Democrat Biden administration was countering the debunked Israeli missile story. The Biden administration was reportedly furious at The New York Times for how their false reporting was making the situation in both the Middle East and here at home worse.
By then, the story was so thoroughly discredited, the satire site Babylon Bee piled on with these mocking headlines.
“CNN Blames Fog Of War For Errant Reporting On Gaza Bombing, Russian Collusion, Jussie Smollett, Covington Catholic, Hunter’s Laptop, The Steele Dossier, Kyle Rittenhouse, Origins Of Covid (Continued In Article Please Click For More).”
However, on October 20 Rasoul was still posting his false accusation on X. To help inform our reading community, The Roanoke Star asked Rasoul if he had any statement or explanation, but none has ever been received. Thus, on October 21 The Roanoke Star published: “Is Roanoke’s Delegate Sam Rasoul Parroting Terrorist Propaganda?
By Monday, October 23 — two days after The Roanoke Star’s story — The New York Times couldn’t bring themselves to issue a full apology, but did take the rare step of retracting their misleading coverage.
As explained on October 23 on msn.com, “Now, the Times says it “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas” in its initial reporting on the strike:
“The Times’s initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials, and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast. However, the early versions of the coverage — and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert and social media channels — relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.
“Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict, and the prominent promotion it received, Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified,” the Times wrote.”
Finally, this issue is not just armchair discussion or hair-splitting. As we are seeing by the outrageous, violent outpouring of anti-Semitism in many places of our country, such inflammatory, false rhetoric that Rasoul has put out and refused to apologize for or retract is making things worse.
As of October 30, Rasoul’s post was still on X, with over 100,000 views, which is larger than the entire population of Roanoke City.