As I’ve often noted, only one point of view is allowed in the mainstream media today, despite its claims to report the news objectively and without bias. When presenting the other side of an issue is unavoidable, the spokesmen for that side of the issue are addressed in a hostile, prosecutorial manner, markedly different from the fawning treatment given to spokesmen for the favored opinions, and their positions are held up to scrutiny that claims to “debunk” them on the basis of fact but on a closer look (not that many people look more closely) actually only shows that they fall outside the realm of opinion that the media has deemed acceptable.
This works out in a thousand large and small ways all the time. Consider, for example, Friday’s glowing Boston Globe profile of prison teacher and imam Ismail Abdurrashid. Abdurrashid is an imam at the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, which was attended by the Boston jihadis who plotted to murder Pamela Geller. The Globe piece, however, is unflaggingly favorable, never once challenging Abdurrashid’s false claims or investigating what is taught in that mosque. Would the Boston Globe ever run such a respectful, flattering piece about Pamela Geller or anyone who shares her perspective? Absolutely not — whenever the Globe or other mainstream media outlets speak of Geller and others who oppose jihad terror, they do so in a relentlessly adversarial way, making sure to quote the claims of their critics, casting doubts on their good will, and purporting to refute their assertions.
This continues to work well, because even though the Leftist bias of the media has been discussed openly since the early 1960s and even before that, and most people have some idea that it exists, few people have taken the time to know exactly how it works. The media keeps trotting out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s indictment of Geller and others (including me) as “hate group leaders,” without ever questioning the SPLC’s competence to determine such matters, or that group’s own nakedly obvious far-Left agenda. Then cowardly and uninformed people see that the SPLC has thus branded someone as a “hatemonger,” and decide that they are too “controversial” to have them speak at this or that venue, and the goal of the branding has come to fruition.
But quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? That question occurred to me again this morning, when I noticed that Jihad Watch was receiving some links from a site called ListVerse, from a piece entitled “10 Insane Ways The Online Media Is Lying To You.” The media watchdog author doesn’t even have the courage to give his last name, as he is listed only as “Morris M.,” and this may be because his piece, while purporting to enlighten readers about media bias, only reinforces, in sly and dishonest ways, the real media bias. Here is the salient portion:
10. Incredible Unsourced (Or Badly Sourced) Stories
Sources or it didn’t happen. That’s the one rule of thumb when reading something on the Internet. If a site presents you with “10 Amazing History Facts” and one of them is, say, “Hitler injected himself with bull semen,” they better have a hyperlink immediately afterward to a reputable site confirming the story. The emphasis there is on “reputable.” Although most sites now take care to source their claims, many do so by linking to sources that are less than useless.
The worst offender is The Daily Mail. Because it looks like a real news site written by real journalists, thousands of blogs and aggregators get stories from it. In reality, most of what they’re reprinting is utter bunkum. The Mail have a track record of making stories up, something that frequently gets them into hot water with the UK’s Press Complaints Commission. Yet American sites keep linking to them. The Huffington Post, CBS, and Time all reprinted the Mail’s made-up story about Beijing screening fake sunrises during heavy pollution. Nastier outlets simply reprint the Mail’s worst race-baiting headlines to give their hatred a sheen of legitimacy (even when the headlines are demonstrably false).
“Race-baiting headlines” links to a five-year-old Jihad Watch post, “Talibanization of Britain: Windows blacked out to protect ‘modesty’ of Muslim women swimmers,” about how a swimming pool in Britain blacked out its windows after complaints from Muslims. Islam is not a race, so the headline could not have been race-baiting, but leave that aside. “Demonstrably false” links to a December 2014 CNN opinion piece by , “Opinion: ‘The Muslims are coming!’ Why Islamophobia is so dangerous.” Awan writes:
Let’s not forget, for example, the story from 2010, when windows were being covered up at a central English leisure center. The Daily Mail headlined its story: “Swimmers plunged into dark after council covers swimming pool windows ‘to protect Muslim women’s modesty.” The council revealed later though that the requests to black out the windows had not come solely from the Muslim community.
What is Awan’s source for his claim that “the council revealed later though that the requests to black out the windows had not come solely from the Muslim community”? He doesn’t give one. And even if he had, it wouldn’t render the Daily Mail story featured in the Jihad Watch post false, as that story only asserted that the windows were blacked out because Muslims complained. The unsupported claim that not only Muslims complained doesn’t mean that Muslims didn’t complain, or that the windows weren’t blacked out because of the Muslim complaints, or in any other way render the story inaccurate.
So ListVerse’s Morris M. declares that one must provide “sources or it didn’t happen,” and then quotes an unsourced assertion from an opinion piece to declare a story false, even though that assertion wouldn’t show the story to be false in any case.
It is indeed true that “the Online Media Is Lying To You” — and Morris M. and his ilk are doing so even as they claim to be clearing up those lies.
The point is not that Morris M. or ListVerse are important. The point is that Leftist media outlets lie to us in this manner frequently — even and perhaps especially as they claim to be debunking the inaccurate stories of those whom they fear and hate.
Who watches the watchmen indeed?