Viewing An Example of Biased Journalism

We have a strong political divide and it’s not healthy. But this is not about politics. It is about journalism. Having said that, journalism has become political. Nothing has exposed this as well as the Trump election and his failure to be re-elected. This piece points out not only bias, but complete loss of journalistic objectivity.

When it is only acceptable to write one view, then journalism becomes suspect.

When it is only acceptable to write one view, then journalism becomes suspect. It trespasses the high journalistic standard–the code of objectivity–which is ultimately the foundation of public journalistic trust.

You’ve all seen them–the articles covering Trump’s claim of American election fraud. Maybe the election was stolen. Maybe it wasn’t. But one thing I know. It’s not up to journalists to print a verdict before the evidence is examined and tried in court. However, this is what happened, right out of the election gate, and we all witnessed it.

I’m not American. I hope the election wasn’t stolen. But how can I know, if nobody is willing to examine the evidence, much less give it credibility?

From the perspective of the media, election fraud is completely preposterous. The obvious bias of journalists, supported by–probably encouraged by–the news outlets, is almost laughable, but for the implications. Journalism that is influenced can be corrupted. When the public feels that journalism is influenced, it loses confidence in the reporting of news. In recent years there has been a shocking erosion of public trust in media.

I’ve taken an article printed on various new sites such as The Guardian, the Business Insider and The Washington Times for my illustration of media bias. The articles look much the same and there are numerous similar articles in print, with different angles, regarding the US election.

The article headline is Steve Scalise, No 2 House Republican, refuses to say election was not stolen. Below is the complete article with my personal observations in bold.

In a television interview aired Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, Scalise, the House’s second-ranking Republican, stood by Trump’s lie (should be “claim”) that Democrat Joe Biden won the White House because of mass voter fraud.
By Hope Yen – Associated Press – Sunday, October 10, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House’s second-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise, repeatedly refused to say on Sunday that the 2020 election wasn’t stolen, standing by Donald Trump’s lie (should be “claim”) that Democrat Joe Biden won the White House because of mass voter fraud.
More than 11 months after Americans picked their president and almost nine months since Biden was inaugurated, Scalise was unwilling during a national television interview to acknowledge the legitimacy of the vote, instead sticking to his belief that the election results should not have been certified by Congress.


“I’ve been very clear from the beginning,” he said. “If you look at a number of states, they didn’t follow their state-passed laws that govern the election for president. That is what the United States Constitution says. They don’t say the states determine what the rules are. They say the state legislatures determine the rules,” the Louisiana congressman said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace on whether the election went beyond a few irregularities to be considered “stolen,” Scalise responded: “It’s not just irregularities. It’s states that did not follow the laws set which the Constitution says they’re supposed to follow.”
Trump left office in January a few weeks after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent riot in an attempt to prevent Congress from formally declaring Biden the winner. (placed here for effect)

As Trump mulls a 2024 presidential bid, he has been intensifying efforts to shame – and potentially remove – members of his party who are seen as disloyal to his bogus claims (should leave out bogus) that last year’s election was illegitimate. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who is vying to become speaker if the GOP takes control after the 2022 midterm election, continues to defend Trump and his false assertions (should leave out false).
At a rally Saturday in Iowa, Trump spent almost 30 minutes arguing falsely (should leave out falsely because this is inserting a belief of the author) that he had won Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds stood by and welcomed his return to their state.

In fact, no election was stolen (appropriate wording would be, “According to….no election was stolen”) from Trump. His former attorney general, William P. Barr, found no evidence of widespread election corruption. Allegations of massive voting fraud also have been dismissed by a succession of judges and refuted by state election officials and an arm of the Homeland Security Department during the Trump administration. (A good journalist would dig into this and also include information from those bringing the allegations. There is a story here.)

Scalise on Sunday appeared to be referring to the legal argument, made in several lawsuits backed by Trump before and after last November’s election, that the Constitution gives the power of election administration exclusively to state lawmakers. (What exactly does the Constitution say? Why not a quote here?) The suits sought to invalidate a number of pandemic-era accommodations including expanded mail voting that were put in place by governors, state election officials and judges. (Did Trump have a case, based on the Constitution? Was there any question of legality here? We need more information. We rely on journalists for this information.)

The high court ultimately turned away the cases, declining to rule on the matter. There’s no indication in any of the suits (not one example is given of a suit…bad journalism) that changing the COVID-19 accommodations would have altered a state’s election results.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who is serving on a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, on Sunday slammed Scalise for spreading Trump’s “Big Lie.”

“Millions of Americans have been sold a fraud that the election was stolen,” Cheney tweeted. “Republicans have a duty to tell the American people that this is not true. Perpetuating the Big Lie is an attack on the core of our constitutional republic.”

END OF ARTICLE

It is the responsibility of journalists to present evidence and then to trust the public to have the intelligence and insight to come to a reasonable conclusion.

“Journalists and the news outlets have the responsibility to tell the American people what to believe.” –False

The beauty of the article is that the last two paragraphs reveal the logic of the writer. We might rephrase, “Journalists and the news outlets have the responsibility to tell the American people what to believe.” This, of course, is false. It is not the role of journalism, in a democratic society, to push a certain narrative. We see this happening in totalitarian states where news sites and journalists are the propaganda arm of the government and must tout the party line, or face consequences.

Readers want information. We want to be able to trust journalists to give us both sides. We want to examine the evidence for ourselves. We don’t want to be told what to believe. And we would like to see journalists’ opinions reserved for Commentary and Opinion columns.

Who Won the American Election?

Remarkably, opinion pieces of journalists, passing as news, flowed off the press and refuted claims of election fraud before any evidence was formally presented, much less investigated. In the absence of the kind of reflection and insight that might serve as a caution, journalists remained oblivious to their diminishing reputation and public credibility. Ratings for public news channels have never been so low.

Journalism has become a sad reflection of an element of society that cares less about investigative reporting and more about controlling the narrative. The currant narrative is clearly that there is no election fraud. Period. Even though, prior to the election, both Democrats and Republicans repeatedly questioned the integrity of election processes.

I’ve watched several hearings that presented claims of misdemeanours in elections— sending/receiving ballots from dead voters, voters with parking lot mailing addresses, voters who don’t exist. Whether this was intentional, is virtually impossible to prove. Intention would imply fraud. This is called “rigging” the election.

Of course, we want to believe that nobody would stoop to undermine the American election process by endorsing non-existent voters, or duplicate voters, or voting in place of others, or incentivized voting, or voting of non-citizens. If it happened, and these turned out to be predominantly Democrat voters, we are assured, by the same journalists who insisted there was no voter fraud, that it was on a small scale of only a few thousand, not enough to change the election outcome.

At the close of an article that vehemently denies evidence of election fraud, a journalist concedes that the level of fraud is at best insignificant. There were not enough irregularities to change the election result.

And so, with the consolation that the fraud that happened was insignificant, because it didn’t affect the outcome, public attention is steered away from the glaring truth of a compromised electoral system. The same journalists who declared there was no fraud a few weeks earlier, have moved us to the acceptance of “irrelevant” fraud.

As the hearings progressed, with their “irrelevant” allegations, the opinions of journalists progressed as well. When testimonies came forward presenting more substantial evidence, the witnesses themselves became “irrelevant” and the story was not about the allegations but about Giuliani’s hair dye running down his face. Lawyers who shied away from participating in the hearings were touted as evidence of a sinking ship, with no hint at other possibilities, like their livelihoods being threatened.

If I were in charge of Republican allegations of election fraud I would have gone about this differently. But of course it is too late now. I would have focused only on evidence that does not require witness corroboration and only on such evidence as would change the election outcome. Too much time has been wasted on proving that the election process can be manipulated. There was never a need to be prove this at all. The real question is, was the level of manipulation able to change the outcome? In other words, did the American vote count?

There is still another equally disturbing problem with journalism surrounding the election, besides misrepresentation and manipulation. This is silence. Silence when there is a real issue to report. Like the lawsuits filed by Sidney Powell. Silence when voters rally by tens or hundreds of thousands in support of the president. Silence about the actual significance of only Republican watchers not being allowed to observe ballot counting.

One can’t help but speculate that journalists who are willing to suppress the voices of half the population of America might also be willing to cooperate to suppress the votes of these same American citizens. Meaning, of course, the loss of a democratic election process. It will require a level of fearlessness journalism, and integrity we have not seen up to this point, to uncover what actually happened in the American election.

One Week Away From Election Date

I am Canadian, and it has been quite a show south of the border. One week from Election Day. I think I can safely say that the media has done us no favours with its unconcealed bias against the American president. Even in Canada, it has not escaped my notice that our Liberal Prime Minister has taken frequent opportunity to slight the president.

I am waiting for President Biden to right all the wrongs that have been blamed on Trump, beginning with the stopping of flights from China when knowledge of the Coronavirus first emerged. My only question is why he is waiting to stop the rioting until he is president when apparently one word from him could put an end to the violent protests.

The resistance to Amy Barrett becoming a Supreme Court Judge has erased my innocence. I thought courts were impartial. I also thought, at one time, that you shouldn’t be able to tell how a journalist votes by the comments they make and the articles they write. Has anyone besides me noticed how journalists choke and are unable to report on a single positive move of current American leadership?

I grieve for the younger generations who have to witness the adults at each others’ throats. What has happened to civility? I think we have a bigger problem than systemic racism. It’s systemic hatred.

And how do we fix that? My Bible tells me that hating another is equivalent to murder and worthy of the same punishment. Maybe we could start with that thought.

“It doesn’t make sense, after 10 days, putting the kids in self-isolation.”

At a time like this it is critical that we have confidence in our health authorities and respect their directives. CTV News reported in an article yesterday that Elsie Roy Elementary School in Vancouver had a case of Covid-19 and ten days later parents received a letter requiring students to isolate for four remaining days, back-dating to the last day of exposure.

As one mother pointed out, until this time the children “were in school, they were everywhere, going outside, just living our lives normally.” In other words, students had opportunity to spread the virus for ten days.

The delayed response is at best evidence of a system that is clearly not working and at worst a sign of negligence and incompetence.

The delay in response by the Vancouver Health Authority is disconcerting on its own, but the directive to isolate for the last four of fourteen days indicates a weakness in the interpretation and application of isolation guidelines.

The directors could have explained the ten day delay to parents and assured them this would not happen again, but to send families into isolation for four days is totally futile at this point. Anyone can see that. It adds insult to injury to parents who find out too late the risk they were exposed to, and then are required to respond like puppets to an unreasonable order.

The delay in response by the Vancouver Health Authority is disconcerting on its own, but the directive to isolate for the last four of fourteen days indicates a weakness in the interpretation and application of isolation guidelines. Even if we can ignore the delayed response time, this lack of judgment is difficult to overlook.

It is precisely this kind of decision making that causes people to lose confidence in health authorities. It would be advisable to investigate how such a lapse in judgment happened and to consider a possible change in management. This is not a time when we can afford to lose public confidence in health authorities.

In Defense of Journalism and Having an Opinion

Several weeks ago I told myself they are coming for Rex Murphy next. And it has happened.

There is something sinister occurring in the world. I’ve watched it for some years now.

An element of society has set themselves up as judge and jury. All they have to do is point a finger, and with magical power like the wand of a fairy godmother, the subject is transformed, only, not into an elegant beauty, but rather into a despicable, contemptible wretch. What follows is a sort of feverish glee in shifting the tide of public opinion and completing the humiliation, the shame, and the degradation.

This act of pointing is all that is needed. Once a target has been identified, sensitivity readers comb through fifteen years of Facebook history and find one comment that suffices as evidence to flay the defendant. There is, of course, no defense attorney and no jury. To assume to step up in behalf of the victim is to become a similar public pariah. All it takes is one identifiable microagression, even if it is only a quote, not an original thought, and that is enough for a guilty verdict. Microagression, by definition, according to the Merriam-webster dictionary, includes that which is said unconsciously and unintentionally.

Those pronounced guilty are placed in public stocks and made a spectacle, to the chants and jeers of the media who work the crowd into a dizzying and dangerous frenzy. J.K.Rowling is a recent victim.

The petty crimes of mis-speech and wrong-think have been elevated to criminal status equal to the act of homicide. If Rex Murphy can be indicted then we are all in danger of being caught in this irrational witch hunt where intent is irrelevant and errors are committed unconsciously.

Rex Murphy identified the bigger problem and tried to mitigate it. He tried to be a peacemaker, rather than an agitator. He tried to bring us together, one nation under God. Like a father who commends his children for their good effort. He acknowledged and praised diversity of background and thought. But the agitators would much rather stir up dissent and fan dying embers into raging flames, intent on lighting the whole forest on fire. They thrive on a brilliant show of their own making. Today is a dangerous time to be a tree.