The Doctrine of Media Untruth

By Victor Davis Hanson . May 24, 2020

When knowledge, wisdom, independent thought, even basic competence were no longer requisites for success, then the media naturally slid into mediocrity, and mastered networking and obsequiousness instead of valuing independence.

As a general rule, when the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN begin to parrot a narrative, the truth often is found in simply believing just the opposite.

Put another way, the media’s “truth” is a good guide to what is abjectly false. Perhaps we can call the lesson of this valuable service, the media’s inadvertent ability to convey truth by disguising it with transparent bias and falsehood, the “Doctrine of Media Untruth.”

Take the strange case of the respective records of liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Florida counterpart Ron DeSantis. Both states have roughly equal populations, with Florida slightly larger by about 2 million. Both have populations that travel daily back and forth between their respective major cities. Both are major international tourist and travel hubs. Both have widely diverse populations.

Both have large numbers of retirees and long-term-care homes. Yet, New York has suffered 14 times the number of coronavirus deaths as has Florida. Florida is now increasingly open, and on May 19 saw 54 deaths attributed to the virus. That same day, New York was completely locked down and yet saw nearly twice that number at 105 deaths.

One would never know from the media of the contrasting fates of the two states during the epidemic.DeSantis is often rendered little more than a reckless leader who exposed Floridians to needless danger. Cuomo, in contrast, increasingly is deified by the media as likely presidential timber who finesses press conferences in the lively fashion of his legendary beloved father, and iconic liberal, Mario Cuomo.

Yet on the principle of media’s commitment to untruth, the public legitimately could deduce from the hagiographic news coverage that the frenetic Cuomo has proven the most incompetent governor in the nation in dealing with the virus. He sent the infected into vulnerable long-term care homes. He neither applied social distancing to, nor cleaned, mass transit. And Cuomo exaggerated his need for some medical supplies, while neglecting shortages in others.

In contrast, the media furor at DeSantis is a good guide to his successes in both mitigating viral fatalities while charting Florida’s path back to economic normality.

Hagiography of the Unfit and Unprofessional

The media assures us that failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is a statuesque heroic figure who is an experienced state politician, a successful polymath, and would be a valuable asset as Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick, but even better—wink-and-nod—a likely next president.

That new media consensus narrative is best typified by a recent and obsequious promo piece in the Washington Post. So given the media deification and the Doctrine of Media Untruth, we might assume that Abrams never has held statewide office, in incoherent fashion could not concede her legitimate defeat in the last Georgia gubernatorial race, and until recently still had not paid off an enormous credit card, student, and tax debt well over $200,000.

In other words, read the media narrative on Abrams and without knowing much else, one could conclude that she is not a photogenic candidate; she is not gracious in defeat; and she is without much experience of victory. Her baggage and lack of even a statewide constituency would mostly hurt a Biden ticket, which explains why his opponents hope that she is the vice-presidential nominee.

The Doctrine of Media Untruth was a valuable guide during the serial psychodramas to abort Donald Trump’s presidency. When Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee was canonized for tele-diagnosing Donald Trump as unhinged and in need of forced removal under the 25th Amendment, we knew the media glorification signaled she was unprofessional in making such a diagnosis of a patient she never met, and would never dare offer such a long-distance mental assessment of presidential candidate Joe Biden, based on his obvious cognitive impairment, memory lapses, and frequent cul-de-sac patterns of thought.

Trump’s antics simply lured the snails out of their shells and showed the public they were glorified slugs all along.

The more that CNN and MSNBC put ambulance-chasing lawyer Michael Avenatti on the air, and gushed about his tailored suits, his possible presidential gambit, his cocky take-downs of Trump, and his advocacy of supposed female victims of the predatory Brett Kavanaugh, the more we knew he was a fraud, a criminal, and likely a legal predator of his own clients. That he was sent to prison was predictable the more one heard the media gush.

Do we remember that for a while “Bob” Mueller was Washington’s hallowed prosecutor, investigator, or inquisitor par excellence? No wonder he had assembled a “dream team” of “all stars” who, as “hunter-killer” squads of legal eagles, would tear apart Trump’s supposedly doddering third-stringers and send Trump either to jail or into ignominious exile. So, the more that legal eagle narrative saturated the liberal media landscape, the more we knew the opposite was true.

Mueller himself had a spotty history. He was both physically and cognitively unable to run an effective two-year high-intensity investigation. He was the un-Durham—as leaky and hodge-podge as the latter’s probe is quiet and professional. Mueller likely outsourced his tasks to an incestuous group of partisan and progressive lawyers, many of them incompetent, with conflicts of interest and blinded by partisanship.

In the end, Team Mueller’s chief legacy was burning through more than $32 million in federal funds, hiding evidence, rigging a now-withdrawn indictment of Michael Flynn, initially hiding the amorous unprofessionalism of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok—and Mueller himself testifying before Congress that he knew little of anything about the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS, the fonts of his own investigation.

Mythology of the Weak and Pathetic

The country once knew little of Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). But once the media sanctified his role after the 2018 election as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, we knew what lay ahead. No sooner had the Renaissance Schiff assumed the chairmanship of the committee than we were lectured ad nauseam how he was a Harvard Law graduate, with a sly sense of humor, who had he not blessed the country with his stellar political career otherwise might well have been a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He ran his committee with flair and competence lacking under the former chairman, the supposedly plodding dairy farmer Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). In other words, we quickly discovered the truth through the Doctrine of Media Untruth.

Each time Schiff assured the media of “bombshells,” that the “walls were closing in,” or that there were all sorts of new top-secret, classified, rarified information known only to him, which would shortly “prove” Trump “collusion,” we understood that he was a con man and prevaricator who had no proof at all or any such evidence. Whatever report he issued (cf. the “Schiff memo”), would certainly be dishonest and not factual. And, of course, it was.

Empowering of the Deceptive Expertocracy

Nowhere has the Doctrine of Media Untruth been more helpful than in following Trump during the coronavirus epidemic. The media fixated on hydroxychloroquine because Trump said it might be a game-changer and he took it himself as a prophylactic. That ensured that the ubiquitous, long-tested, mostly safe, and cheap anti-malarial, anti-lupus household drug would suddenly be declared useless and deadly.

Would the media ever repent and empirically report that in some cases hydroxychloroquine is considered to be efficacious in treating the early symptoms of the disease by front-line doctors, in line with a series of pre-COVID-19 studies that it could be helpful against SARs-like viruses?

If tomorrow Barack Obama gave a press conference, and should confess that when he travels he takes the drug, given its general safety and scattered reports it might have prophylactic value against COVID-19, we would soon read headlines of a “miracle drug” that is cheap, accessible, and vital to the world’s poor and at-risk.

When readers are told that Trump is an idiot for suggesting that the virus might end up like a bad flu year, that his advocacy for opening up the country is a death sentence, that his travel ban was too late and too porous, and that the economy has been wrecked permanently by his incompetence, then we should assume that the death tolls by autumn might approximate or slightly exceed the flu’s lethality in years like 1957-8 or 1967-8, that states that open up do not have much greater spikes in virus morbidity than do states that do not, that the travel ban saved thousands of lives and would likely not have been issued by most traditional presidents so early, and that the economy likely will begin its ascendance by autumn.

Finally, early on in the COVID-19 crisis, the media consecrated Dr. Anthony Fauci as the godlike man of science, in antithesis to the buffoonish, pre-Enlightenment fool Trump. If Fauci uttered a truism, it reverberated across the media world as gospel—but also as a sly putdown of the oblivious, oafish president. So, under the Doctrine of Media Untruth, the more the Fauci hallowing grew, the more we knew he had feet of clay.

The more Fauci was brilliant, prescient and sibyllic, the more we knew that he came late to the danger, had once declared the virus to be not much of a threat, suggested that hook-ups and cruise trips need not be too much derailed by the virus, declared that opening up locked-down states would be a terrible idea, fueled wild modeling estimates of several hundreds of thousands soon to die from the virus, doubted the efficacy of masks, and warned we should not expect an effective vaccination for years.

In other words, under the Doctrine of Media Untruth, the more Fauci was turned into a god and an anti-Trump avenging angel, the more he was human and not especially any more prescient medically than Trump was politically.

Today, the public knows that if Fauci issues a periodic warning from on high, listeners should contextualize it as a valuable data bit, collate his warning with underappreciated economic realities, consider that it might be seen as a subtle putdown of Trump, and move on—all the more so as the media blares out that Trump ignores the latest brilliant forecast from the Einsteinian viral master.

Trump Draws Them Out

The hatred of Donald Trump explains some, but not all, media bias. During the Obama years, a media cohort came of age assuming that the hip, young, educated, urban classes like itself were in permanent ascendance. It did not need to worry about listening to others, venturing beyond coastal corridors, or questioning whether it was really educated or merely branded with mostly mediocre degrees.

Being in the media was analogous to being issued a union card or belonging to the late Soviet party: one was part of an unthinking herd, mouthing platitudes, and hoping to get by and ahead that way.

When knowledge, wisdom, independent thought, even basic competence were no longer requisites for success, then the media naturally slid into mediocrity, valued youth and looks, rank partisanship, obeisance to conventions and stereotypes, and mastered networking and obsequiousness instead of valuing independence.blob:https://rodolfoscafe.wordpress.com/bc4a7576-32e0-4540-88d3-c58b7d80bd53

Trump’s antics simply lured the snails out of their shells and showed the public they were glorified slugs all along.

Should you hate the media?

Bill O Reilley | Jan. 19, .2020

Should You Hate the Media?

1975 was an exciting time to be at Boston University’s School of Public Communication. There we were, about 30 students seeking a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism. All of us thought our quest was noble, that we would become purveyors of truth, skilled fact-finders and truth-tellers in the Watergate tradition. The lessons presented were well worth the tens of thousands of dollars I had to pay for them. Forty-five years later, having reached the top of my profession, I generally despise my own industry, something I never could have predicted. Here’s why. The national TV press is presently controlled by six major corporations that use their vast power to profiteer while attempting to destroy ideological enemies. The coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency has proved that statement beyond any reasonable doubt. The stage was set early when a New York Times columnist wrote that because Mr. Trump was so loathsome (to him and his liberal colleagues), the basic tenets of fair journalism no longer applied. Get Trump was the new rule. The mandate of an honest journalist is to seek the truth, even if the facts of a story go against your personal belief system. It is wrong to simply publish accusation and allegations, you must scrutinize all charges. If you cannot find solid facts to prove a story, you then must balance it – giving both sides equal weight. Did that happen in the Russian-collusion situation? Of course not. The New York Times and Washington Post printed story after story damning the Trump operation. The network news and CNN took their cues from those liberal papers, constantly deriding the President and those who supported him. Then Special Counsel Robert Mueller blew it all up. Federal investigators could find no evidence of collusion. But no apology for unbalanced and fallacious coverage was heard from the corrupt national media. Instead, it segued into the shameful impeachment hysteria. Please understand this: the primary reason the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat members knew the national press would give them cover and blatant support. The media portrayed Adam Schiff and other anti-Trump zealots as heroes. This despite strong evidence the Ukraine whistle-blower secretly coordinated with Schiff, a blatantly political and deceptive act. From the very beginning, there was no balanced coverage of the impeachment story, no attempt to put forth both sides or to provide perspective. Mr. Trump was portrayed as guilty of “high crimes” in the Times and Post, as well as on television, in Hollywood, and in the publishing industry. Any high profile person who had the temerity to disagree was mocked or worse. The cold truth is that the men who preside over The New York Times and The Washington Post, and they are all men, believe THEY should be running the United States, not Donald Trump, who is a vulgarian in their eyes. These men well know the Democratic Party will blindly follow their editorial lead as will TV news executives at CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Thus, the so called “free press” in America has become an industry that now seeks power over Americans. The far left vision these operations usually champion cannot be realized at the ballot box, the bosses know that. So it must be imposed by destroying progressive opposition, which the media does with enthusiasm. Just ask Brett Kavanaugh. The key question is: how many of us realize what is actually happening with the dishonest, power mad media? Impossible to say. But for those who do understand the corruption, the danger to American freedom is obvious. And that is why I have come to despise my own industry. Posted by Bill O’Reilly


	

Trump’s asylum action will help ease the border crisis

by Washington Examiner  | July 16, 2019 10:44 PM

This week, the Trump administration continued its efforts to bring order to the southern border by imposing new rules on the asylum-seeking process. This is what was needed.

On Monday, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced that migrants wanting to claim asylum in the U.S. must first do so in either their home country or another country before coming to the U.S. Under the new rule, anyone who crosses illegally into the U.S. to claim asylum, without having already applied from outside, would be ineligible.

Word has gotten out south of Texas that anyone hoping to flee violence or poverty in their own country need touch American soil, find a Border Patrol agent, and turn oneself in, requesting asylum. The vast majority of migrants who do this are breaking the law when they float the short distance across the Rio Grande and come ashore without authorization. But that crime is effectively canceled out the moment they say “asylum.” Moreover, 90% of the time, the asylum claim, no matter how frivolous, grants them the right to remain in the country while they await a court hearing that may not come for up to five years.

That is an abuse of American generosity intended to offer refuge for people abroad genuinely fearing for their lives and persecuted by their governments.

 

We understand why these men and women from Latin America want to be in the U.S. Ours is the land of opportunity, and many of our neighbor countries lack the capitalist economies and robust property rights needed to provide such opportunity.

But the asylum law was not supposed to be an invitation to unlimited economic migration. But that is how the law is currently functioning, with Central Americans making their way here by the tens of thousands every month. They have learned exactly how to push the system’s buttons in order to secure long-term permission to be inside the U.S., and this is why detention centers near the border are overflowing.

Congress has shown no sense of urgency to fix the problem. Democrats oppose every measure to halt or even reduce the gush of migrants crossing into the U.S., many of them deathly ill from the arduous, 2,000-mile journey from their home countries.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the administration’s new directive violates the law and will be “swiftly and successfully challenged in court.” This, even though just last week the California Democrat signaled that she could support “initiatives” that would more or less do what the new rule does.

At a press conference on Thursday, Pelosi said, “There are some initiatives that suggest that some review of asylum-seekers’ status could be done in [their] country instead of traveling here, and that’s one thing that I think would be appealing to the administration.” She even said that it wouldn’t be a matter of having to “change the law.” This makes her new objections seem puzzling.

The White House has issued other rules for asylum-seekers crossing illegally into the U.S., such as requiring them to pay a fee and denying them work permits until their claim is approved. Some of the new directives are already in effect and some are not. Even so, it is important that the administration take every action it can to stop this law’s abuse, at least until the flow at the border reaches a manageable level.

There are too many people coming into the country at once seeking refuge. It’s straining the resources of the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It has created a crisis at the border, and it is literally putting more lives in danger. We have long called on Trump to take action on this within the law and to get Congress involved as much as he can. This action is a step in the right direction.

— Read on www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/trumps-asylum-action-will-help-ease-the-border-crisis

Doug Wead on Writing an Official Record of Trump’s Presidency

AMERICAN THOUGHT LEADERS


The Epoch Times | Doug Wead | Dec 5, 2019

From the time that Ivanka Trump was a little girl, her father was ripping out pages of The New York Times lamenting what America’s elites—both Republican and Democrat—were doing to America, Wead said.

All this time, “he’s hoping that somebody’s going to come along and run for president and clean this up and nobody ever does,” Wead said.

Trump watched as Republican and Democratic presidents welcomed communist China into the World Trade Organization and gave China most favored nation status. They paved the way for the rise of communist China and enabled “the largest transfer of wealth in human history, outside of the Middle East, of America’s wealth to China,” Wead said.

“Imagine how much money it’s taken to pull China out of poverty. And the American middle-class has done that,” he said.

“The president knows that the decisions he has to make vis-a-vis China are the toughest decisions he will make,” Wead said. And he understands that the American people won’t fully appreciate his decisions, such as placing hefty tariffs on Chinese products, Wead said.

Untold Stories

Trump is the sixth U.S. president Wead has interviewed; he’s also conversed with six first ladies and 30 siblings and children of different presidents.

In his interviews with the presidents, he says the only common denominator was that they were all great listeners.

“When I found that with Trump, I was surprised because on TV, you only see him talking, you don’t see him listening,” Wead said. “My whole perspective on the president changed immediately when I met him.”

During one of Ivanka Trump’s interviews with Wead, she told him, “he is really very compassionate.”

Wead details in his book: “All her life, even in her teens, Ivanka would be called into his office, where he would tear off a piece of the morning newspaper and say, ‘Ivanka, find this person.’ It might be a person whose apartment had burned, destroying everything he had owned. Once, it was a young woman whose father had been murdered in the Bronx, and prosecutors would not make the arrest.”

Ivanka eventually found the woman, who had been left impoverished, and her father offered to help her and give her a job, Wead wrote.

One of America’s most shameful secrets was the many U.S. hostages held abroad, Wead told The Epoch Times.

Previous administrations had failed to secure their release.

“I’ve spoken with the families of these hostages. Democrat, Republican—they don’t care. They had loved ones that they cared about who were beheaded and who were tortured and raped,” Wead said.

“They were told by the American government, keep quiet,” Wead said. He says the rationale was that if they increased the publicity surrounding a hostage, it would increase the value of the hostage, and make it harder to free that person. And more Americans abroad would likely be imprisoned to blackmail the United States.

“There was this period of darkness, a shameful period where nothing could be said about the hostages,” Wead said.

“If it’s your son or daughter, your only hope is the federal government. And they won’t keep you informed? They won’t tell you what’s going on? They won’t let you use your money or your abilities to try to bring them home?”

Trump “was outraged by that,” Wead said. Since taking office, he has successfully freed 22 hostages.

Trump refused to offer money in exchange.

“He did the reverse: We’re taking their money, and we’re going to squeeze them until they let them go” was his rationale, Wead said.

In his book, he highlights the case of Pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been imprisoned in Turkey for alleged links to the Gülen movement, a designated terrorist organization in Turkey. The government in Ankara had produced no evidence, so Brunson couldn’t refute any of the charges against him.

The Trump administration made several agreements with Turkey to secure Brunson’s release, but the Turks backed out of them, Brunson told Wead later in an interview.

Trump pressured Turkey by putting sanctions on two of its officials, doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey, and engaging Congress and the European Parliament to exert pressure as well. The Turkish lira tumbled, and on Oct. 12, 2018, Trump welcomed Brunson and his family to the White House.

Trump “brought the Turkish economy to the brink over one man, and he got him home,” Wead said.

Death Threats

Before the book was published, Wead said he began receiving death threats against him and his family from different IP addresses in an attempt to stop him from releasing his work.

“They named my family members and details about their life that would only come from a great deal of research,” Wead said.

“These are unusual times,” he added.

Wead believes the anti-Trump resistance wanted to impeach Trump as soon as he won the election.

“So it had nothing to do with Russian collusion, because that came later; it had nothing to do with the phone call to Ukraine because that came later,” Wead said.

“The national media and the establishment,” are still reeling from the humiliation that U.S. voters didn’t vote how they were told to, Wead said.

As Wead highlighted in his book, Trump’s victory defied all expectation: “He had been opposed by Hollywood, academia, Wall Street, and the national media. Every living president, Republican and Democratic, had voted against him. Two-hundred-and-forty newspapers had endorsed his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Nineteen had supported him. Billionaires had voted against him 20 to one.”

In addition, right after the election, economist Paul Krugman wrote, “We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.”

But contrary to the predictions of economic fallout, the economy boomed, and now boasts more than 7 million job openings.

“That’s the entire population of the state of Indiana in unfilled jobs,” Wead said.

Wead said Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner—who plays a much larger role in the Trump administration than people think—once remarked to Trump that it was thanks to the media’s total fixation with the Russia collusion narrative that the Trump administration was able to deregulate.

“The cutting of regulations could have been big stories. Instead, they were blind to what we were doing, and we were able to jump-start the economy,” Kushner told Wead.

In writing his book, “What I wanted to do was get accurate stories, real stories down on paper—truth on paper,” Wead said.

“I told Ivanka, you know, in 100 years from now, there are still going to be books written and dramas performed about the Trump family. But whether they’re viewed hatefully as the Borgias or as the Medicis or as grandly as the Kennedys or the Rockefellers or some great family, all of that depends on what is written and said about them now,” he said.

“Not the hearsay, but the primary sources.” American Thought Leaders is an Epoch Times show available on Facebook and YouTube.

That was his instinct:

You’ve got a problem with somebody? You call him. And that’s what he did with Kim Jong Un.

Doug Wead, presidential historian

I told Ivanka, you know, in 100 years from now, there are still going to be books written and dramas performed about the

Trump family.

Doug Wead, presidential historian

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27, 2019.

SAUL LOEB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES