Opinion

May 2017: The Quintessential Moment Of Media Malfeasance

Imagine you’re in elementary school, and there’s a kid in your class who’s always trying to get you in trouble.  In first grade, he put tacks in the seat of the teacher and blamed you.  In second grade, he pulled a girl’s hair and – when she turned around angry – pointed in your direction.  In third grade, he actually ate your favorite teacher’s apple and put the core on your desk.   This is a well-documented, contentious relationship.  The teachers know, the principal knows, and your parents know.

In fourth grade, the bully accuses you of cheating on your science test, and you go home fully expecting your parents will blow it off.  They know the context of the relationship, and that the kid is a pathological liar.  However, this time, your parents look concerned, and the principal warns you.

“If this is true,” he says gravely, “You’ll be expelled.”

You don’t approve of cheating, just as you don’t approve of apple stealing or tack placing or hair pulling. But suddenly, there’s a pall of suspicion over you – based solely on the word of a pathological liar with a proven beef against you.

Welcome to May 2017.

Last week, The Washington Post published a story based on some anonymous, well-placed sources.  In fact, the story, based on the whispers of thirty White House officials, reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might resign. When Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Michelle Macaluso caught up with Rosenstein to ask if he’d threatened to quit, he simply responded, “no.”

There’s not enough space on the world-wide-web to accurately document the half-truths and outright lies that the media has told on conservatives.  But recently, they’ve reported that the new health care bill lists rape as a “pre-existing condition” and that GOP members brought in beer to celebrate its passage.  Neither of those are true, but you reach a point where constantly pointing this out seems…  well, unnecessary.  Boring, almost.

Then – cue the ominous music — came “the story that will finally bring Trump down.”  (Wait, how many of those have there been?) Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the media is now breathlessly reporting about The Comey Memo.   According to the New York Times, this new bombshell-that-we’re-supposed-to-take-seriously is based on “two people who read the memo.” Then, “one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter.”

What?  Were the thirty anonymous White House officials not available to comment?

Even though the memo contradicts Comey’s testimony given under oath, the press is having already celebrating the demise of President Donald Trump.

Where is the memo?  The New York Times hasn’t seen it, nor have any of the publications that are using huge headlines to insinuate otherwise. If the memo actually surfaced, it’d be more surprising than seeing Sasquatch swimming with the Loch Ness monster.

No one knows if such a memo actually exists, and if it does, whether or not it is authentic. What we do know is that we are wise to ignore the whispers of the media and “anonymous sources,” until proof is presented.  Even then, people of all political persuasions have reasonably questioned Comey’s honesty and integrity.

We have arrived at the Moment of Maximum Media Malfeasance, where no one should, and no one does trust reporters to tell the truth and stick to the facts.  It is a sad day indeed.

Mark Meckler, president, Citizens for Self-Governance