Liberal pundits and their news media friends were outraged. When president Donald Trump called he “Fake News Media”, his term for the majority of modern journalists , “the enemy of the people.” They talked of the phrase having been a call to physically assault reporters performing necessary oversight of government officials. They’ll mention the Watergate scandal, exposed in a series of newspaper reports., as the prototype of their industry. They are innocently, they claim, pursuing truth and justice among malfeasant politicians and societal leaders. They scrupulously vet their reports pursuit of fairness. They are paragons of virtue. This is how they view themselves. Their behaviors belie the ill repute t of the desperate, ethically lacking , newsperson. That reputation has only evolved today, to manifest the political biases, blatant activism, disapproval of cultural traditions, and disrespect of accountability and standards, prevalent among the woke generation dominating the largest newsrooms. The profession’s newly adopted functions and what they have done to their profession. are a sad end.
Richard Jewell, A Hero Falsely Accused
The story of security guard, Richard Jewell is a travesty of malfeasant harassment and reckless media narratives. The movie, named for the “hero” as director Clint Eastwood rightfully called him, beautifully conveys this story, with historical accuracy. This man saved many lives during the Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, only to be vilified with false accusations. The actual assailant, Eric Rudolph, was captured years later. Predictably, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (AJC) newspaper, where the false narrative first reached the public, attacked the production. They cried foul. The depiction of Kathy Scruggs , the reporter responsible, for starting the false narrative, as sexist. They had her friends proclaim that she would never trade sex for a story, and she was a careful reporter. They claim their reporting was reasonable, and their previous lawsuit victory in the defamation case, vindicated both her and the AJC. Typically, the other newspapers railed against the depiction of her as a shrew, a slut, and a shallow publicity seeking, amoral, woman–reckless and irresponsible. They called it sexist. They called for a boycott. Actually the assault on this production began much earlier. Mr. Eastwood had tried to get this story told for years. Where it was finally approved by the studio, there was another obstacle. Virtue signaling tinseltown declared the state of Georgia off limits, because of the state’s anti-abortion law. Clint, being Clint, refused such nonsense. A movie about events that happened in Atlanta, Georgia, had to be filmed there. Had this been a story of the Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for example, an exception would have been lauded as entirely acceptable. This story, of what some might call trials and tribulations of Caucasian, southerners however, did not meet woke standards. Fortunately, the movie was filmed anyway. As with almost every movie based on actual events, slight embellishments enhanced the storytelling, but did not effect the accuracy of the story.
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
There are several problems with the AJC’s defense. Firstly, her friends are not going to say she traded sex for stories. They’re not going to say she was irresponsible. As for the AJC, their victory in the lawsuit does not mean they are vindicated, any more than the news organizations that libeled and slandered the catholic school kids this year. Some facts are self-evident. No posturing changes them. The AJC has its reputation put on trial twenty years later. When newspapers are struggling, they can not afford to have their accuracy in dispute. Subscribers and advertisers are hard to come by these days. Thus, their protestations are hollow.
The Cult of News Media Impunity
Competing organizations always defend each other, as they take accusations on one of them as a threat to all of them. They, hilariously, have no standing to pontificate journalistic ethics.
The Washington Post claims “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” They have been a dark cloud over this country for years.Their reporters took social media video out of context, before the full story was released, and ran with it. Young school kids were accused of villainously confronting a war veteran peaceably celebrating his Native American heritage. His tales of the abusive delinquents blocking him, accompanied with an apparent smirk from one of them, was fodder for anti-Trump and never-Trump activists, because the boys wore MAGA hats. Had they worn Hillary hats, they would have been praised somehow. These are not liberal kids and they were easy prey. One person promised oral sex to anyone that punched one of the boys in the face. Others reviled them as despicable, in the Hillary “ deplorable” style. The other major news organizations joined in, and many pundits fell with them. Inconveniently for the sloppy bloodhounds of No Standards News, the expanded story revealed the opposite. The veteran had exaggerated his biography. He had not been to combat in Vietnam as he had claimed, and he had deliberately gone out of his way to confront the boys, banging his drum loudly in their faces. The boys had not provoked anyone. Many called them the only mature people in the place, taunted by members of the “Black Israelites” and harassed by a man with a history of creating confrontations. The boys will have this incident as their first impression from people, for the rest of their lives, and they were innocent. Did the Washington Post and the others apologize? This is the modern news media, and that is never an option for them. They doubled down, and fought the lawsuit that came later. So did the others. Those litigations have not resolved yet.
Lets’ take The New York Times for the next example. The NYT advertises subscriptions with “ because the truth matters.” That is laughable coming from the center of Fake News, but they do not care. Their audience wants fictions if they agree with their values. There is an issue though. The New York Times had its own sex trading, irresponsible and reckless female journalist. Ali Watkins had gotten vaunted reports, ahead of her competition. It turned out, she was sleeping with her source, a married congressional security aide. The controversy resulting when this was revealed, was embarrassing for the “Old Grey Lady.” Did they jettison the journalistic imposter? Did they own up to failures and apologize? Well, this is Dean Baquet’s New York Times. So, the answer is a resounding no! They just called it a minor supervisory negligence, and kept her quiet for awhile. She remained on the staff, and was later reassigned, to allow her to overcome the failures of her bosses. She had not failed the public, according to Mr. Baquet, and so she had to have further opportunities there. The New York Times rarely admits much.
We could discuss CNN and NBC. That would just survey similar network hypocrisy. They have FBI, and CIIA agents as commenters, spreading agency narratives as news. Their impunity has been chronicled often. They have no credibility. Therefore, elaborations of them are redundant to this discussion.
The FBI is a Criminal Organization
The worst villains in this case were from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the F.B.I.) The FBI rushed to judgement and refused to accept responsibility. They teamed with the news media to leak damaging accusations. Oppressive tactics included secret recordings allowed because of profiles and wild guesses. The investigation resembles the FBI’s investigations of the Trump team. Then, as now, the agency denies to the end, even with irrefutable evidence. Perhaps it is a criminal organization instead of a law enforcement agency. Also, then as now, the news media spewed false narratives, with no apologies. Innocent people had to fight lengthy and contentious legal battles, to prevent wrongful prosecution. Their reputations were sacrificed, and their lives were upended. The stresses possibly wore down the victims and might have resulted in early death, just as in the case from the 2016 election. The government is a powerful adversary, and too often the real heroes suffer its wrath.
The Axis of Disinformation
Certainly there are ethical and professional journalists providing accurate and fair reporting. They are the exception to the rule today. Many of the best real journalists are women, and thy do not stoop when they investigate. Similarly, most FBI agents are considered trustworthy., as opposed to the leaders of the organization. The axis of disinformation and malicious prosecution that framed Richard Jewell in 1996–the news media and the FBI–are the same players in the 2016 election Russia Hoax and Spygate. The leadership of both organization has not changed their tactics or developed any sense of ethics since the first debacle. The victims suffered then and the new victims suffer now. It’s not a team inspiring trust in American life.
Photograph: Security guard, Richard Jewell / WSJ