Unfit to Print

Newsby James Ray Deaton2/14/15
When did it become necessary to use the “alternative” and online internet news sources to get all, not just half, of (as The New York Times has on its masthead) “All the News That’s Fit to Print”? Paul Harvey used to be the one who gave us “the rest of the story,” but now we must go to the internet and conservative news and commentary to get the complete story. This has been the trend for some time, but it seems to be getting worse.

One of the latest examples is the recent measles outbreak coverage. In recent stories about the growing epidemic, traditional print newspapers had the latest main stream news version of the story. Most focused on the high number of measles infections and possible government action to make vaccinations mandatory.

This year’s higher infection rate was discussed, but other than low vaccination rates, there seemed few queries into why this year (as opposed to last year or the year before that) has seen infections spike. Emphasis was placed on possible new public health laws to make vaccinations mandatory with fewer exemptions.

This year’s outbreak was not placed in any context. What was last year’s infection rate? What was the rate five years ago? Ten years ago? Indeed, the fact that measles was considered to be essentially eradicated in the U.S. more than 20 years ago was usually not mentioned.

The “alternative” Internet-based news reports were more enlightening and more comprehensive. Lower vaccination rates were part of the story, but the possible connection between the current measles outbreak and last year’s flood of illegal aliens across our southern border was reported as well. The fact that thousands of poor, unvaccinated children newly residing in our country may have something to due with the outbreak was not off-limits.[pullquote]The fact that thousands of poor, unvaccinated children newly residing in our country may have something to due with the outbreak was not off-limits.[/pullquote]

Did the traditional print reporters think the public would not make that connection or at least consider the possibility? Maybe there is no real connection between the immigrants and the infections, but maybe there is. Why wouldn’t the “real reporters” do some real investigating to verify or debunk? Instead they apparently simply ignored the possible connection and hoped the readers wouldn’t notice.

Why is that? Did the print reporters think their readers had forgotten about last year’s border crisis? Have they traded in journalistic integrity for political correctness? Were they trying to protect the illegal aliens from possible blame? Were they trying to protect someone from (in their view) some “dark tendency” of the American public to blame, fear or demonize “the other”?

After politicians and others such as Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy and possible presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson suggested a possible link between the outbreak and recent immigrants, news reports seemed mostly interested in disproving a possible link. The reportedly high vaccination rates in South and Central American countries (according to the World Health Organization!) were dutifully reported, but if you believe those numbers then I have a Soviet five-year production plan report you’ll probably love as well.

The anti-vaccination movement, with its real roots firmly planted in an anti-“Big Pharma,” anti-“Western Medicine” and pro-“Natural Living” leftist-utopian model, was hinted to be religion or “right-wing” based. Those rascally anti-government Republicans were blamed, not the anti-science lefty elites and their anti-vaccination sensibilities.

Whatever the reason for traditional news source bias, it doesn’t bode well for their future. Readers and viewers (and listeners) notice these biases and continue to move toward more comprehensive and more immediate news outlets. News consumers don’t want or need to be “protected” from any aspects of a story.

There are many factors why traditional print newspapers and news sources continue to contract and online news sources continue to expand. Some may be inevitable, but some are not. News reporting that doesn’t report the whole story, “the rest of the story,” is one of the things killing traditional outlets.

Politically correct news is often too political, too boring and not correct.


James Ray Deaton, one of six known conservatives living in Berkeley, Calif., is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Author Archive Email • (1149 views)

Share
This entry was posted in Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Unfit to Print

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I couldn’t agree more, James. That brings to mind a truly excellent chapter of Dennis Prager’s book, Think a Second Time, in which he goes into detail about a television show he once had. (He’s exclusively radio now, and I don’t think he would ever go back.) And he notes how everything about the format of TV drew everything to sensationalism and superficiality, as if by a magnet. It was nearly impossible to discuss anything in any kind of appropriate (that is, non-superficial) detail. And this aspects effects both right and left. I find Fox News unbearable to watch these days, although I do know they have some good people there who occasionally do some great stories. I don’t want to paint with too broad of a brush.

    Granted, the “TV effect” doesn’t explain the vacuousness of mainstream print sources, online or otherwise. Then it may be necessary to admit another Pragerism: “Everything the Left touches it makes worse.” That includes objective reporting due to the politicization of the news and (to my mind) the general dumbing down effect on both the news-readers and their audience (due to the politicization of issues and other effects of the Left). You obviously touch on this when you note that outside the drive-by (or “mainstream”) media there was included the possibility on the outbreak rates the number of illegal aliens flooding across the border.

    To not mention these often obvious aspects is also called “political correctness,” a term I rarely use now because I think it white-washes the fact that it’s Cultural Marxism that is at the root. This view sees America as the imperialist exploiters of the innocent third-worlders. We stole their wealth. That’s why they’re poor, therefore we owe them the right to cross into our country at will. The flip side of the grievance and guilt is that to hold these views marks one as among the nicest, smartest, and — gosh darn it — most likable people on the planet. Jerry has referred to this as a kind of psychopathic “cult of nice” of sorts. And I tend to agree. Mixed into this as well is the entire moral inversion perpetrated by the Left where “racist” and all the other bad words have been redefined to mean “policies and beliefs other than Progressive/Leftist/Marxist/socialist ones”. So in this very fact you have the ability to convey information severely restricted. The narrative must always come first — and, in fact, Rush has begun calling “newsmen” such as Brian Williams “narrative readers.”

    Unless we refute the underlying belief system of Cultural Marxism/Progressive (which is not done when citing “political correctness” as a cause), we can’t fix things. And your article is another brick in the wall of fixing things because you point out how dumbed-down, broken, and just plain wrong much of the news media is.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    This is why I long ago suggested that the new motto of The New York Times (and most of the synoptic media, for that matter) should be “all the news that fits our political agenda”. Whatever supports the Cause gets in, whatever hurts the Cause is left out — if they even let themselves notice it to begin with. (Liberals are extremely Orwellian in their behavior. I suspect many automatically, even subconsciously in many cases, fail to notice possible politically incorrect connections. So they will never allow themselves to consider the implications of Rotherham, or the possibility that the mass illegal immigration last year contributed to a measles epidemic that seems to have started late last year.) It’s a consequence of the fact that liberals have a tribal ethic in which the good of the Cause is the only value.

    For a brief moment, I read “main stream” as “main scream”. I suspect that would have been an equally accurate phrase.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Timothy, I sometimes give Jonah Goldberg a hard time for wandering off the reservation or being a bit too much “Jonah, Inc.” The profession lends itself to having to fill word quotas and doing self-marketing – that is, of having an “angle” and a persona.

      But he’s still capable of making some good points. And in All Hail Science! he writes:

      In Elf, Santa’s sleigh no longer relies on flying reindeer. Instead it converts “Christmas cheer” into jet power. That’s how some of these people talk about believing in science. If we don’t project our positive emotions towards it, it won’t take off.

      That seems to be the general mindset of those on the Left. And it’s not that such a thing (a deeply human trait) is missing from the right. You can see it sometimes in issues regarding religion, guns, and even discussion of the Founders. There is a natural human inclination to rally around certain guideposts of belief and thought. You accept what is the general belief of your side…beliefs which mark you as one of “us” and not “them.”

      And this in inevitable for there is an opposite to the corollary of “The unexamined life is not worth living” and it is “Life is impossible to live if everything must be examined.” The power of culture is the ability to outfit us to be able to tackle most of the issues of life without having to learn everything from scratch.

      The Western ideal (before the destructive and juvenile influences of Marxism, Progressivism, and Hippie-ism) was to soak up the wisdom of the ages, giving it due respect, but at the same time learning the chore and responsibility of thinking for oneself. It’s a balance. We should not piss on and otherwise reject knowledge because it did not flow effortlessly like water out of our own supposed superior heads. On the other hand, it’s considered not just okay but somewhat of a requirement for civilized man to take a second look at some of his assumptions. This is a dynamic balance to be held in creative tension.

      The entire ideal of Western Civilization has been scuttled by the low-brow, juvenile, grievance-based, simple-minded, and totalitarian orientation of the Left. They are indeed tribal. How are they outfitted by their own culture to handle the world? Well, they’re not, which is why they can’t handle the truth, as Jack Nicholson might say. Despite their conceit to being the particularly scientific side, they can’t handle any fact that doesn’t already fit their Cultural Marxist theory — the general theory being the Utopia is some sort of “human right” and the reason we haven’t gotten there is because of “reactionaries” on the right who corrupt people because of their “greed” and the centrality of their “profit motive” (thus “global warming” just has to be true because, as we all know, capitalism is a threat to all mankind). And, most importantly, the supposed ills, bad faith, and exploitation inherent to “the right” are due to the right’s endemic racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

      Liberals, on the other hand, believe they can transcend all that. They are The Nice People. And they’re smarter because they believe in science, not superstition. Why? Because, as in Elf, the power of everyone believing so somehow makes it so. Reality be hanged. The only surprise is that there are not more instances of Brian Williams.

    • James Deaton says:

      For news business in general I’ve felt for some time their motto should really be “Have a Fit? That’s News to Print!” because of their emphasis on the sensational and celebrity.

  3. Anniel says:

    James, My husband’s father grew up on a ranch in the Napa Valley where there were frequent brush fires on the Calistoga side. Often he and his brothers went to watch the news and camera crews in action. Even when the fires were small and burning out by reaching the crests of the hills, everything was geared to getting the most sensational and dangerous looking pictures possible. He was always skeptical of the news and taught his children the same skepticism.

    I wish there were really trustworthy mainstream newspapers that kept truth as the focus, but that type of reporting began dying a long time ago.

  4. Jerry Richardson says:

    James,

    A good and needed article. Thank you.

    The thing that I resent most about the modern so-called news media (Limbaugh’s drive-by media) is that they no longer deal in news (facts about events and situation) but they publish and comment-on a “narrative” (a story that fits an ideological belief). The narrative is typically built out of half-truths and conjectures; but often contains outright lies, and often contains some sort of symbolic or iconic mind-grabbing meme. The Ferguson myth symbolized with “hand-up don’t shoot” is typical.

    Reactive truth is of course necessary, but truth is at a great disadvantage due to the old maxim, “a lie is half-way ’round the world before truth gets its pants on.” What we, those of us who despise lies in all their forms, really need to support whenever possible is proactive truth. I think articles such as yours and websites such as Stubborn Things are great on-line forums for proactive truth.

    Unfortunately there do not seem to be any major newspaper agencies that fit that category. And very few TV outlets. Sometimes, but only sometimes, Fox does a bit of this.

    But not always. As a very recent example, I normally applaud Megyn Kelly of Fox. But I was very annoyed at her for trying to get Rudy Giuliani to apologize for saying that he does not believe that Obama loves American. I think Giuliani is spot on.

    And the only explanation that I have for Kelly’s disagreement is that she has been too immersed in the narrative that it is not proper to question anyone’s patriotism even though Giuliani denied that he was doing that—of course that doesn’t completely make sense because by definition patriotism is love of country and if you don’t love America, how can you be a patriot? Well maybe you can if you’d be willing to sacrifice yourself for a country that you don’t love. But the Kelly/Giuliani discussion didn’t bring-out any distinction between love-of-country and patriotism. In practice is there any distinction?

    Anyway, the problem here is that Kelly and perhaps Giuliani are smitten with a false narrative—thou shalt not question anyone’s patriotism—which works against an honest evaluation of even the degree (if it’s a continuum and love is) of anyone’s patriotism.

    Does this which-must-not-be-named perhaps go back to the left’s hatchet job on Joseph McCarthy for correctly going after communists who were ensconced in our government? Can’t allow that kind of needed house-cleaning anymore.

    If don’t know if leftists narratives every die. I’m not even sure they have a half-life.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      To be fair, Megyn Kelly also pointed out that the Sanctimonious Hypocrite had previously criticized Bush’s patriotism. One can in fact find numerous examples of liberals criticizing the patriotism of those they don’t like — and numerous examples of their complaining (often wrongly; projection often is) that their patriotism was being impugned.

      And, yes, Giuliani was 100% right in this case.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I normally applaud Megyn Kelly of Fox. But I was very annoyed at her for trying to get Rudy Giuliani to apologize for saying that he does not believe that Obama loves American. I think Giuliani is spot on.

      Oh, goodness grief, I read about that. What did Orwell say? “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Sorry, Megyn. That was a big “fail” on your part. And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t fix it. You blinked.

      On the other hand, I think Hannity (or someone) had Mark Levin on their show and asked him this question. Of course Levin answered it forthrightly and intelligently.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Note my response to that. Kelly did point out Obama’s hypocrisy on the issue.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Well, once you throw somebody under the bus, it still leaves tread marks even if you throw somebody else under it after. The media (even conservative media) is a bubble of unreality. And you stay in the bubble long enough, and obvious things become difficult to say.

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    There’s a superb article by Sean Davis at the Federalist on guns and gun control that provides 14 points that anyone advocating gun control should know (and probably doesn’t). Of course, as one blogger pointed out, you can point out facts to a liberal but you can’t make him actually think about them (or even be aware of them). The link is:

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/02/24/14-things-everyone-should-understand-about-guns/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *