Identifying the worst of journalism has become a battle of superlatives. One outlet does something barely comprehensible in its stupidity. Rather than learn from it, other news organizations try to outdo them.
That was the case this week, where a Washington Post piece blamed a right-wing radio host for the shooting of GOP Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. Yet, things are so bad, it wasn’t the worst story. This was also the same week where CNN’s Poppy Harlow couldn’t even tell the Star Spangled Banner from the French national anthem. She wasn’t the worst, but I’m a native of the city that brought us that song and think she deserves a dishonorable mention.
If journalists can’t remember the national anthem, at least they should have their ‘60s protest music on tap. That leads us to this week’s list:
1. Eve Of Destruction! Barry McGuire’s 1965 hit wasn’t about climate change devastation, but it was about devastation. So, look for journalists to be humming it while they write their daily climate change destruction pieces. A massive New York Magazine doomsayer article fit that bill nicely. Writer David Wallace-Wells deployed an epicly long and detailed account of the imminent end of the world. He could have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Wallace-Wells might as well have simply written, “We’re all going to die!” about 1,400 times on a giant blackboard instead of the 7,300 words he devoted to warning of mankind’s destruction. That Bart Simpson-esque approach would have probably been read by more people and might have looked more rational. “But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough,” wrote Wallace-Wells as he painstakingly predicted disaster after disaster in a mix of "Mad Max" or Dante imagery. “There are now, trapped in Arctic ice, diseases that have not circulated in the air for millions of years,” goes one of the milder passages. It was so bad that climate alarmist and hockey stick creator Michael Mann teamed up with two others to write a response, arguing, “Doomsday scenarios are as harmful as climate change denial.” Mann and his compatriots criticized the New York Mag piece as painting, “an overly bleak picture, arguing that climate change could render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this century.” They also called it out for errors. Mann made an interesting comment that seems to go right over the head of eco-journalists, explaining, “fear does not motivate, and appealing to it is often counter-productive.” Yet fear is about 99.99 percent of all media climate catastrophe coverage. Some people never learn.
2. The Right-Winger Did It: It takes a special talent to look into the mind of a would be mass murderer and dig deep to find the motivation. It takes incredible lack of talent to do it and come up with bizarre reasons without a shred of evidence. Let’s refresh your memory on recent events. A fan of lefty Sen. Bernie Sanders went gunning for Republican congressmen, shooting five people and seriously wounding Rep. Steve Scalise. Would-be mass murderer James T. Hodgkinson had all the markers of a hard-core liberal. He had volunteered for Sanders and also liked lefty hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center. But when The Washington Post’s Peter Holley went digging, he didn’t find more lefty hate, he found a “rage-filled radio host” who just happened to be right wing. This journalistic travesty was so bad that it was criticized on both left and right -- from Buzzfeed to Heat Street. The story itself is worth reading just to see how far the Post will now go to pretend it’s doing journalism when all it’s really doing is serving as a Democrat attack dog.
3. Talking About ‘The West’ Is Now Racist: President Donald Trump’s Poland speech has become one of many things making liberal journalists freak out. Apparently, using a longstanding media term - “the West” - is now triggering. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny was one of many especially upset and claimed Trump was being racist. “This is a white America, America First kind of speech,” he told CNN. This isn’t just an entry-level reporter at some backwater weekly. Zeleny is CNN’s senior White House correspondent but he couldn’t contain his freakout. For some reason, Zeleny claimed Trump, “probably couldn't have given that speech here in America.” Like Trump somehow gives a different message abroad than he does here. The president’s speech was unabashedly pro-West, a group of nations liberals liked until Trump was elected in November. Here’s Trump’s key argument: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” He stood in NATO ally Poland, facing off with an ambitious and aggressive Russia - but defending Western democracy is now a cardinal sin with the media. Apparently, CNN missed the memo that “the West” has long included NATO ally Muslim Turkey, along with American allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Hardly an exclusively “white America” lineup.
4. Did Politico Add A New Book To The Bible?: News organizations aren’t notoriously skilled handling religious topics. Journalists revel in their cynicism and few outlets even bother to cover faith as a separate beat. But lefty Politico (D-D.C.) outdid itself as it tried to bash both GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and the Republican Party. Politico’s Sunday headline was outlandish: “Marco Rubio Is Tweeting the Most Republican Part of the Bible; Each day, the Florida senator is quoting a verse from Proverbs, the GOP’s favorite part of the book.” Author Joel Baden complained that the Florida conservative was tweeting out quotes from Proverbs, which I’m certain predates the GOP by a few years. “Some of the statements in Proverbs look strikingly similar to those made by modern-day conservative policymakers,” he wrote. The horror! Republicans who actually read the Bible and agree with it. Baden went on to complain about “confirmation bias” among people who quote only the parts of the Bible they agree with. Then he proceeded to do exactly that, presuming to tell Rubio what parts of the Bible he should tweet. If this came from some random blog, it might be understandable. This came from an organization that pretends to be the top operation on D.C. insider politics. All it created was yet another reminder how far toward the Democrat Party Politico leans. “Let there be light.”
5. Republicans Don’t Have A Prayer: Maybe I could call this Journalists Don’t Get Religion Part II. CNN’s Erin Burnett told her viewers about “a pretty stunning image.” It was a photograph of President Trump praying with a special twist. “A group of evangelical leaders met with President Trump on Monday and laid their hands on him as he bowed in prayer while meeting in the Oval Office,” explained the Post. Burnett seemed baffled by what occurred, twice explaining in befuddled ways. “Something we don’t see everyday here. The image of Donald Trump praying in the Oval Office and...all of those...hands, on him,” she explained. Another teaser went much the same way: “The President bowing his head in prayer in the Oval Office and all these people sort of, touching him....it’s very strange.” Actually, it’s not. Even the Post understood. So let’s let them explain: “Evangelicals, especially those who consider themselves more charismatic, often lay hands on individuals during prayer. In the New Testament, the apostles would lay hands on believers, often using it as a sign of responsibility or authority. Many Christians lay hands on those who are being ordained in the church.” CNN might want to beef up its staff with a few people who have been to church.