Commentary by James H. Shott
Recent dishonesty demonstrates why the mainstream media is largely no longer worthy of the trust of the American people.
Following the massacre of movie-goers in an Aurora, Colorado theater early last Friday morning, ABC’s Brian Ross twisted himself into knots to connect the violence with the Tea Party on “Good Morning America” with George Stephanopoulos. Here is the text.
Stephanopoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.
Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
So, Mr. Ross, if you don’t know “if this is the same Jim Holmes,” why even mention this? It’s not like “Jim Holmes” is so unusual a name that it couldn’t be shared by multiple individuals. Is wild speculation your idea of responsible journalism? Or, are you just taking advantage of a horrible crime and the pain it caused to score cheap political points for your own ideology?
Even if it was the same Jim Holmes, there was no indication that the shooting had any connection whatsoever with the Tea Party. Like the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords last year, this is another pitiful and failed media attempt to tie the Tea Party to violent acts.
ABC issued a correction, and then an apology, and that likely will be the extent of its efforts at contrition. However, the family of the man Mr. Ross falsely connected to the shooting was still getting death threats days later.
Question: How can anyone trust Brian Ross’ reporting hereafter, or that of ABC?
The cable network MSNBC got caught manipulating a comment by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, totally changing the context of a statement he made in order to ridicule and demean him.
The fraud that MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell palmed off on her viewers painted Mr. Romney as an out-of-touch elitist who doesn’t understand how retail commerce works.
Ms. Mitchell introduced a video clip, saying “I get the feeling – take a look at this – that Mitt Romney has not been to too many Wawa’s [convenience stores] along the roadside in Pennsylvania.” In the clip, Mr. Romney comments: “I was at Wawa’s, I wanted to order a sandwich. You press the little touch tone keypad, alright, you just touch that, and you know, the sandwich comes at you, touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier, there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing.”
Ms. Mitchell and her accomplice yuck it up at the candidate’s obvious ignorance of this common method of selling food: “It’s amazing,” she smirks.
But she pulled a fast one on viewers who trust her to honestly tell them what is going on the in the world. What actually happened was that Mr. Romney, prior to relating the Wawa’s anecdote, commented on how a friend had a simple procedure badly mangled by incompetent government bureaucracy that required him to fill out a 33-page form to notify the government of his change of address. Twice.
He was contrasting government inefficiency with the efficiency and innovative nature of the private sector. But that’s not the message Ms. Mitchell wanted her viewers to get, apparently.
Question: Is Andrea Mitchell’s reporting trustworthy?
After the shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida, a large number of people, aided by media reports, rushed to judgment accusing Mr. Zimmerman of a racially motivated killing of the young man we all came to know from the photo of an angelic-looking youngster taken when he was 12 years-old.
Whether Mr. Zimmerman committed a crime, or merely defended himself will be determined at trial, which every American – even those knee-jerks who jumped to the conclusion that the shooting was racially motivated – needs to understand is the proper setting for such determinations.
News organizations are expected to accurately report to the public what is known about events. A well-informed public is less likely to react emotionally and inappropriately, as so many did in the Trayvon Martin shooting. These days it seems the mainstream media frequently ignores ethical standards.
Supporting that point is the way NBC News edited the recording of Mr. Zimmerman talking with a police dispatcher, and creating the impression that Mr. Zimmerman had a racial prejudice against Trayvon Martin. It then broadcast this deception on the “Today Show”: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black,” George Zimmerman tells police in NBC’s edited version.
Here, however, is original text of the call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
In these examples, people were deliberately trying to manipulate you with fraudulent reporting, or they are incompetent. When news organizations slant the news, or manufacture the news, whatever the cause, it is unethical, underhanded and unforgiveable.
Cross-posted from Observations