- Thursday, March 28, 2024

If the last two weeks are any indication of how the news media are going to cover the 2024 presidential race, it seems clear that accurate reporting and independent thinking will be in short supply. 

Two recent episodes demonstrate beyond question that most of the news media has been hopelessly lost to the left. We also know that when a crisis of ideology arises, prominent journalists will take action, like hippies occupying a college administration building, and demand that Republicans be banished from their club. And they will get what they want.

This inglorious stretch of media performance began with a mass freakout over a few sentences from a speech by former President Donald Trump at a rally in Ohio. While talking about China’s efforts to target the American automotive market, Mr. Trump warned that if he is not elected in November, it will mean a “bloodbath” for the country. 

He was quite obviously talking about economic calamity in the car industry and beyond, including the entire economy. But that didn’t stop almost all the news media from misreporting what he said.

Headline after headline instructed readers to believe that Mr. Trump had called for political violence if he lost to President Joe Biden in a rematch of their 2020 race. Except that’s not what he said at all, and the context proves it.

This was worse than the simple act of taking something out of context. This was removing a single word and injecting it into a whole new context they invented. 

Rather than condemn such mass journalistic hackery, the online publication Semafor posted a piece titled “The viral ‘bloodbath’ clip and the rise of the liberal video influencer.” It was a step-by-step description of how dishonest reporting was born, and its origin was attributed to a well-known leftist account on X (formerly Twitter) that originally posted the 17-second video that took Mr. Trump out of context.

This is not a brand of journalism that should be celebrated at all, but Semafor wrote about the entire process with evident awe and admiration. The entire fiasco was appalling.

But then it seemed like NBC News suddenly wanted to stand out from the crowd by proving to the world that it’s controlled by leftist militants prone to hissy fits. 

Last Friday, the network announced that former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel would be signing on as a contributor for political coverage. Carrie Budoff Brown, who heads politics for NBC, told her team that “’It couldn’t be a more important moment to have a voice like Ronna’s on the team.”

But by Tuesday, Ms. McDaniel was fired following several days of public whining from their cast of elitist television personalities who thought they were exhibiting integrity by refusing to work alongside someone who supported President Trump.

The pompous preening was a little much coming from the likes of NBC and MSNBC hosts, whose journalistic ethics get relaxed when it suits their politics. 

The entire network, including former Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd, relentlessly drove the lie that the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election. 

They employ former CIA director John Brennan as an analyst, yet he told the Russia lie on the air almost daily. To top it off, he prominently signed a letter that Biden operatives fed the news media to further the lie that Hunter Biden’s notorious laptop was a Russian misinformation operation.

Former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki has a show on MSNBC, which is okay with them because she’s a Democrat, but she also promoted the lie that Hunter’s laptop was a Russian plant.

Anchor Joy Reid devoted tons of airtime to falsely trashing a new Georgia election law as “Jim Crow 2.0” in 2021, which contributed to Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the All-Star Gane from Atlanta.   

MSNBC viewers might look at Nicole Wallace a little differently if they remember that she ran communications for President George W. Bush, who they almost certainly consider to be a war criminal who lied the country into the war in Iraq in 2003.

They may think vanquishing Ms. McDaniel marked a glorious day for NBC News, but they would be wrong. It was a dark day because it proved that they only want monolithic thought, and they no longer care who knows it.

Indeed, an apology memo to staff from NBC News boss Cesar Conde said he wants a newsroom that is “cohesive and aligned,” which in reality is their biggest problem. They are too ideologically aligned and have no diversity of thought whatsoever, and they’re apparently proud of it.

Seven months before the election, the prospects for fair coverage are dim, as it’s clear that most of the media have openly chosen sides once again.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist, founder and principal of Line Drive Public Affairs LLC, and co-host of the Line Drive Podcast.

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