It is weekends like this last one that make me cringe.
Since before getting my Journalism degree I knew that most of what I read and watched in terms of news was story telling, and not actual journalism.
Oh sure, the facts-or some of them-were in there somewhere, but the presentation of them wasn’t as facts, but as a story. It’s more like theater, really, than even story telling, the way some media outlets and their shows try to out do each other when they think they the next big story, particularly if it has anything to do with President Trump.
Anyway, the trade of journalism has been mostly dead since earliest days of the internet (early 1990’s). Telling stories sells; facts, well, those are usually plain. As founding father John Adams is attributed with saying “facts are stubborn things”, and typically they aren’t as marketable or sellable to people, as a good story is. Why that is, is another discussion, on a different forum, but what happened this weekend is why entities like Niche Content Articles exists-as places to turn too when the blatant story-telling-passed-off-as-journalism that goes on at all corporate media outlets is exposed as the ‘fake news’ it almost always is.
the trade of journalism has been mostly dead since earliest days of the internet (early 1990’s)
President Trump got the last laugh again, after another negative story against him was debunked last week.
Two literal stories passed off as “news” dominated the news cycle this weekend. The first was the debunking of a Buzzfeed “report” on Thursday claiming they had evidence President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress-a pretty big freaking deal if true.
The other concerned an all boys catholic school accused of hurling ethnic slurs at protestors while on a trip in Washington D.C. After almost 36 hours of accusations against these boys, and video evidence of the entirety of the event being available, no evidence has yet been found to support the rabid media hounds at CNN, MSNBC and others, desperately looking for anything to blame their political or ideological opposition for.
Individually, these stories only have President Trump in common, besides being completely fake in terms of how they were represented.
As it concerns the Buzzfeed story, the office of Robert Mueller had made a public statement saying that there was nothing factual about their report; by late Sunday, video covering the entire encounter between the Covington Catholic High School students and what is now known to be radical leftist activist Nathan Phillips, masquerading as a “Black Hebrew Israelite”. So as to avoid repeating what others have already said regarding this event, the Daily Caller op-ed of it today was the best coverage I found (https://dailycaller.com/2019/01/20/viral-video-context-smear-catholic-boys-maga/ ).
Together these stories not only represent the horrible decline in journalistic standards, but they also expose just how poor the average American’s critical thinking skills are: Buzzfeed’s headline from Thursdays ‘breaking news’ shouldn’t have fooled anyone. Had such evidence truly existed, the Mueller investigation into Trump Russia collusion would have surely found it, but no one associated with that investigative team was contacted for Buzzfeed’s story. Once word had reached Mueller’s offices, a statement was issued debunking the entirety of Buzzfeed’s claims.
Covington Catholic High School officials apologized for the incident before all the details were know.
The altercation between Covington Catholic High School and activists in Washington DC was clearly taken out of context: you would think that by now people would know better than to take a 5 second clip of an event as being able to accurately portray said event. Sadly, people are gullible and want to believe what they want to believe. With no critical examination of the claims being made against the boys of Covington Catholic High School, and only a 5-10 second video clip of a white, male teenager in a MAGA cap trying to smile at a man screaming in his face to form an opinion around, thousands of people had determined the teenager at fault of what, exactly, no one has really said. To date, the biggest accusation is one of racism, but there is no video or audio evidence that anything racist was spoken by anyone associated with Covington Catholic High School; on the other hand there is audio evidence of racial slurs being used by the activists, against the boys of Covington Catholic High School. Nathan Philipps, the leader of the activist group, even admits that his group was using racial slurs against the boys, but his claims of the boys using racial slurs against he and his group are unsupported by the video and audio evidence.
there is no video or audio evidence that anything racist was spoken by anyone associated with Covington Catholic High School
What bothers me the most about both of these incidents is that they got any traction at all, once the facts of their respective situations came out.
As I stated above, Buzzfeed’s story should not have fooled anyone-their headline deliberately ignores the fact that if such claims were true, they would be known by the Mueller investigation.
And to believe the initial claims against the boys of Covington Catholic School is to believe that all white males who support Donald Trump are racist, which isn’t just factually untrue, but as racist a position as anyone can have.