Posted by Curt on 19 January, 2017 at 4:08 pm. 3 comments already!


Mollie Hemingway:

One may have hoped that the media would respond to their 2016 failures and resulting lack of credibility by reforming. Instead, it seems that many in political media are quadrupling down on the mistakes that served them and their readers and viewers so poorly in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November.

It’s impossible to track all the ways in which the media are leaning into their bias, their unnecessary hostility, and their abandonment of journalistic principles. So let’s just look at a few examples from the last few hours.

Many members of the media would like to imagine themselves as brave heroes who will valiantly fight the excesses of the Trump administration. These examples show why people do not trust the media to tell the truth, much less hold anyone accountable for anything.

1) This Unsubstantiated New York Times Hit On Rick Perry

The New York Times ran a story by Coral Davenport and David E. Sanger that claimed, without any sourcing or substantiation, that Rick Perry thought the secretary of Energy job he was about to take was as “a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry” but then he “discovered that he would be no such thing.” The reporters claimed, again with zero evidence to substantiate their claims, that he only then learned “he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.”

These odd allegations went on and on, followed by a vague quote from an energy lobbyist who may have been around the transition for the first few days, but was apparently let go nearly a month before Perry was even named, saying that Perry cared about energy advocacy and is now focused on the challenges of the nuclear complex. To be clear, Perry was nominated on December 13, 2016. The man with the boring quote in The New York Times piece speaking to Perry’s knowledge was let go by November 18.

That this guy and his quote are the source for that incendiary lede is utterly and completely disqualifying for Davenport and Sanger.

The story then goes back to more generic hits on Perry being a dumb-dumb compared to the perfect current Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, whose wisdom extends to helping, uh, negotiate that perfect Iran deal that’s not a disaster in any way. This is a real paragraph that appears in a story that was written and edited for publication:

For Mr. Moniz, the future of nuclear science has been a lifelong obsession; he spent his early years working at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Mr. Perry studied animal husbandry and led cheers at Texas A&M University.

Speaking of stupid cheerleaders, many, many, many reporters — the ones you’re supposed to trust to cover the Trump administration in a tough but fair manner — loved this story and started spreading it even though it lacked any substantiation.






I could list dozens upon dozens of more examples, sadly, including quite a few people who should know a lot better than to spread this silliness. And I’ll also note that a few liberal journalists did note that the story did not back up its claims:



Even apart from the problems with the lackluster sourcing for the dramatic claims, the story runs completely counter to the facts. As John Davidson wrote here last month, “[A]s governor of Texas Perry actually has some experience dealing with [the nuclear] issue. After all, the largest nuclear maintenance facility in the country is just outside Amarillo. Nearly every nuke in the country makes its way through the Pantex Plant in northern Texas, which ensures their continued capability and functionality. Perry worked with National Nuclear Security Administration for more than a decade, ensuring the security of Pantex and every piece of freight into and out of it.”

Here’s Perry’s statement specifically discussing the nuclear arsenal that your media betters would like you to believe he knew nothing about on the day he accepted the nomination:

“I look forward to engaging in a conversation about the development, stewardship and regulation of our energy resources, safeguarding our nuclear arsenal, and promoting an American energy policy that creates jobs and puts America first.”

To quote a wise man, “Oops.”

The Texas Tribune has a much more knowledgeable and nuanced take than the one the super-smart New York Times and its super-smart readers in journalism cheered on.

Times reporters Coral Davenport and David E. Sanger failed to substantiate their outlandish claims. Their editors failed the most basic task of making sure they backed up their rather insane claim or took it out of the story. And reporters who pushed the story despite its failure to back up its claim in any meaningful way should be ashamed of themselves. This is why people don’t trust the media. And while stories such as these help whip partisans on one side into even more of a frenzy than they’re in, they also serve to confirm the distrust for the media that many partisans on the other side experience. Do better.

2)Washington Post Mocking A Nominee For Praying

The Washington Post had a heck of a night Wednesday night, mostly in the headline and social media departments.


This is how the folks at the Washington Post chose to frame the news that Donald Trump had nominated Gov. Sonny Perdue to be secretary of Agriculture. In so doing, they lost any claim to be able to objectively cover the man.

It wasn’t that long ago that The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet admitted that his paper doesn’t get religion at all. “We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives. And I think we can do much, much better,” he claimed to believe. Obviously things aren’t tremendously better at other major media.

If the Post employed at least one person in their publishing chain of command last night who a) had been inside a Christian church at any point in his or her lifetime or simply b) was not unduly hostile to people of faith, this gaffe may have been prevented. Yes, Christians regularly pray about weather. Here’s a snippet from a prayer that Lutherans such as myself might pray:

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