What happens when news tilts left

Americans’ regard for journalism is lower than whale poop — and it was plenty low long before Donald J. Trump started his “Fake News” tirades, most of them based on his lies.

Not all of his accusations were false, because responsible journalists do occasionally get things wrong, and when they do, they apologize, usually in the form of corrections.

Does this look like a militarized police force? (Photo: NBC10)

I’ve had to write my share of them in my day, and I’ve always felt they didn’t hurt my credibility — they enhanced it.

Why? Most people understand people make mistakes, honest mistakes, and they actually have respect for those who own up to it.

Most people, not all.

I remember a stunning 2016 story in The New York Times after Trump was elected.

The newspaper — like many others, including me — was sure he could not be elected. When he was, the Times’ public editor admitted the newspaper was biased, it was way off base, it did not have its finger on the pulse of America (it did have its finger on the pulse of Manhattan’s Upper West Side), and the editor promised the paper would do better.

It didn’t, but that’s another story. The confession was not followed by changed behavior.

Everyone sees events through the prism of their own experience, which is a high-class way of saying their biases. We all have biases, or personal viewpoints, which is a benign way of saying it.

These are sometimes called implicit biases, and are often invoked when discussing racism, the kind of racism people don’t believe they have. Reporters are human and have their biases, which editors are supposed to screen out. The Tuesday Inquirer had one story, a long story, that provided evidence of what I am saying.

Because the first one happens so often, it is deliberate. Talking about progressive support for Jim Kenney’s first race, the reporters said it was because he supported LGBTQ people “and immigrants.”

No, he supported illegal immigrants, who are shielded from ICE by his sanctuary city policy. “Immigrants” don’t need protection from ICE, only illegals do, and for more than a decade the Inquirer has refused to distinguish between those here legally, and those who have violated our borders. That is a lack of candor.

In explaining how Kenney might have lost progressive good will, there was this paragraph (italics added): 

“But all that good will was jeopardized in the span of a few days when a militarized police force terrorized a West Philadelphia neighborhood and tear gassed peaceful protestors on I-676.”

Is that what happened, objectively?

Or is this what happened, providing context?: 

“But all that good will was jeopardized in the span of a few days when police were called to put down a riot that was terrorizing a West Philadelphia neighborhood and tear gassed protestors who had illegally entered and blocked  I-676.”

Every day in the Inquirer there are calls to prosecute the rioters — meaning the ones in D.C. — but it was pretty much crickets following last summer’s riots and looting in Center City.

No, then we were asked to “understand their rage” and how riots are the language of the unheard. As if grabbing boxes of Air Jordans from a Foot Locker is a genuine cry for racial equity. One BLM spokeswoman actually called looting a form of reparations. She spoke for many.

Joe Biden says he wants unity, I sure do, but we will never get it until we have a single standard for judging lawlessness.

37 thoughts on “What happens when news tilts left”

    More truisms from my pallie. I do disagree with your statement concerning President Trump. As we all know, he liked to challenge the press corp. He would sometimes bait the reporters very easily. They didn’t know the substance of their questions, therefore it was easy to l make them look foolish. Those reporters that had an inkling of information would argue and loose to Trump, because the President was well versed on the subject matter. For Mr. Trump to call out “fake news”, it was usually greatly exaggerated to the point of being twisted truth. Commonly known as lies. We all know this. We can prove it every day of his political life.
    As you point out with the inquirer. Fake News ! If it isn’t reported accurately – it’s fake.

      1. you got to be kidding ! Sure, when he went off on a tangent, the press got it right. All of the other crap was exactly that. CRAP !

  2. Some good stuff (again) today, Stu. With regards to the New York Times, for the last 15 years or so, we, at work, used to refer to it as “the New York Slimes.”

    My other favorite about the Times is that they should have changed their sub-moniker to: “All The News That’s Unfit To Print.”

  3. The average American will be blissfully unaware of the results from the terrible damage JB has already begun to inflict on the US economy because of left-wing biased (but I repeat myself) media who will keep the people wallowing in ignorance. The media treat the people like mushrooms: keep them in the dark, and feed them a lot of bullshit..

  4. Your columns on journalism are among my favorites, because I think the root of many of the divides in our Country come from our views which are formulated from the “news” media. This piece is a fair assessment of political lean in even the best/most respected news outlets. There is however, a difference between a right or left of center “lean”, and an onslaught of purposeful lies and twisting of truth as comes from the Right Wing. I was totally unaware of what was going on before Trump was named the Republican candidate for President, and figured I better educate myself. WOW. Shocked at the rants of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, the unsourced MEMES parading as facts,One of the guests on the PBS News Hour last night (I can’t remember her name, but guests on PBS are always qualified to speak on the chosen topic) stated (I’m paraphrasing)” that about half of our Country are totally unmoored from Reality.”… I agree with her.

      1. And is the half are not “unmoored to reality” the same half that believed/believes that the 2020 election was fraudulent despite no evidence? And despite more than 60 lawsuits failing to prove fraud? And 50 states certifying the results of the election? And THREE recounts in Georgia?

        1. Not all Republicans believed the vote-fraud nonsense. What many of us resent is the four years of vile filth dumped on DT by a compliant press. I am willing to wager you hated him from his election night simply because he defeated Hillary. How fair is that?

          1. Not true. I didn’t hate him at that time though I do now. I thought he lacked the qualifications, the intelligence, the depth and the character to lead our Country. He proved me 1000 percent right.

        2. Naomi,
          Every election EVER is always in question. You DO remember, “vote early – vote often”, I’m sure. That was real. Dead people in voting records is real. It is expensive to purge all voting records, and ALL voting records need to be purged. Congress is viewing a bill to do just that. It needs a lot of work – from both sides of the aisle, if we expect to see a vote anytime soon.

          1. Trump made up the BIG LIE of massive election fraud. Period. The Repugs are now trying to clean it up now by saying, we just want things to be better. I call BS. They want to surpress the Vote. They can’t stand that so many people of Color are now coming out to vote. There probably were and always have been a few dead people voting, and some petty fraud in BOTH parties. That’s not the issue. The “liberal media” was not lying when it reported Joe Biden won the election. It was not lying when it reported each and every time Trump’s lawsuits bombed in Court. Who was lying? Trump and his Right wing echo chamber.

        3. Naomi, “Repugs” really? How will that help the cause of unity President Biden is calling for?

          1. Naomi, you keep referring to half the country, which I assume you are basing roughly on the election results. However, you also refer to them as Repugs, I believe as a reference to the half that voted for Trump that you assume are Republicans . I have to correct that reference as many Trump voters were democrats as well as high numbers of people categorized as people of color.

            You also falsely categorize all Trump voters as believing in massive election fraud. What you fail to realize is that many Trump voters disagee with the Biden/Harris platform which is their right. The same right you have to vote on the platform that suits you. And most accept the results of the election. As one of those Democrats that voted for Trump and accept the election results, I forgive your rants as you have been brainwashed by the Media. I state this based on your comment regarding people invited to speak on PBS.

            The main stream media has been severely slanted for the past 4+ years, which is a factual statement that includes the more conservative outlets like Fox.

            I suggest you refrain from attacking voters and guide your outrage at the criminals that are attacking our democracy, our country, our citizens and business owners. These individuals come in every color, gender and political affiliation.

          2. That’s what many of them are. REPUGS! They are not true Republcians, but Trumpicans. They abandoed any shred of decency and become the Party of Trump. REPUGNANT!…I admire and respect Joe Biden, but I do believe he is living in a different era when there could be unity. I also believe that’s why he got elected, because he is seen as someone who could work across the aisle. However in just a week since his inauguration it appears the REPUGS are going at it. Look what’s happening in PA. Unity? I don’t think so, but hope to be proven wrong.

    1. Thanks, and I will continue playing “cop” for journalism.
      The MAJOR problem comes from NON journalists, like Rush, and Sean, and Laura — all Fox. But on MSNBC, Joy Reid is a total hack and Joe and Mika seem to have lost their minds.

  5. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Try to imagine how a really polished and sophisticated, pro-Trump newspaper might tell the current story of the riot in the Capitol building. Its an interesting exercise.

    “The President gave a rousing speech to his supporters at the Oval, about a mile away from the capitol building. He complained of unexamined irregularities in the voting in several states awarded to his opponent, and urged the crowd to proceed to the Capitol and protest the tallying of the electoral college without deeper examination of the vote. There was known support for his position from several Senators and members of Congress. Later, when he found out about the violent invasion of the Capitol building and the rioting, he spoke out against violence and urged his supporters to peaceful means –and to go home.”

    I suspect that if our sophisticated neo-liberal press had been sympathetic to Mr. Trump, then the story might have gone something like that. Mind you, I am not saying that the passage above is accurate, unbiased, complete or candid. The point is to understand something of the difference between “sophisticated bias,” on the one hand and the raw, distorted and raging sorts of commentaries one typically sees in the actual pro-Trump media. They have been shooting themselves in the foot for low these many years.

    On the other hand, the establishment media has been so single-mindedly obsessed with getting rid of Mr. Trump, that they have often failed to see any merit in the complaints and discontents of the Trump (and Sanders) voters. You are perfectly right to point out the need to continually monitor for and avoid bias in reporting. The practitioners of “sophisticated bias” doubtlessly see it as a small, forgivable sin –and all for the sake for a “great cause.”

    All in all, of course, I firmly believe we are now better off without Mr. Trump in the White House.

    H.G. Callaway

      1. Philadelphia, PA

        Dear Stu,

        Thanks, I think(!)

        The “exercise” is to say what’s wrong with the “sophisticated” rewrite. That would call for some reflection on the part of the friends of Mr. Trump.

        If the passage above is not accurate, unbiased, complete or candid (which it isn’t), then why not?

        H.G. Callaway

  6. Nice column today. I, too, feel that papers like the Inquirer and certainly the NYT see the world differently than you and I. The disparity in the ways they described events that you used as examples shows their bias. I used to subscribe to the Daily News digitally (as you once asked me to do) but their sports pages even became too biased for me. I disagree with your first sentence, and almost stopped reading, but glad I did. I feel that all politicians are liars, and Biden has already begun his own brand of lying. While campaigning in PA he repeatedly said he wouldn’t ban fracking, but watch him now. And the fact that he just cost 150,000 jobs by stopping the Keystone pipeline will go unreported. Doesn’t fit their narrative.

  7. Stu, my wife and I were out of state when watching via a news helicopter the “peaceful protesters” spill onto I-676 instead of continuing down 22nd St. toward our neighborhood which we feared would be looted. I support genuinely peaceful protests as do most all Americans, but illegally entering an interstate highway stopping traffic, and scaring the bejesus out of the drivers is not “peaceful”.
    That news organization like the Inky and Times label it so only gives credence to those who shout “fake news”.

  8. Naomi,
    You’re all over the place with your last reply to me. The question I replied to was the lying and fake news. Don’t be so full of hate that you will deny the truth.
    I am a republican. I like Donald Trump as a man and as OUR President . I do realize that he was not everyone’s cup of tea. BUT ! You have to admit that he did good for ALL of America. Unless of course you believe in socialism, no borders and supporting every one that puts there hand out. Both here and abroad. I do not follow that agenda. Since the ’60s, when the middle class really started to evolve, the swamp has been trying to get rid of us. They are a cagey lot, those politicians. They lie to your face as they put their hand in your pocket – and worse.
    Back to Trump. No doubt that he does not like to lose. Who does ?!? He fought long and hard- legally to keep the White House. When he realized that he lost, he turned the argument towards the election and not having this problem again. Unfortunately, congress will probably not pass a bill to clean up the voting records and providing a more clear process for elections. Big Bucks !
    The republicans stooped to the level of the dark side. THEY lost the election by listening to the rabble, instead of fighting for seats in congress and of course, the White House. Those same republicans are still taking shots at President Biden. A complete waste of time. Hopefully, they’ll tire of cheap shots soon and organize the party for the upcoming election. Again. GRIP ! ” Get Rid of Incompetent Politicians “! Their are too many to go around. Start now and clean house every election. Return the government to the people !

  9. I wrote it before and I’m gonna write it again- I subscribed to the inquirer for 35 years enduring enormous ridicule- but I felt it was a kinda civic duty- but after the insane rampaging of my west philly neighborhood this summer and all the paper could muster up was that it was all justifiable – I cancelled in a rage.I refuse to subsidize Will Bunch and all the rest of the woke fools.-and yet I still field phone calls trying to get me back.Lettem hang.

  10. There should be a giant O in front of every article that doesn’t just report facts without personal agenda. OPINION. I would read every article that began with an N which would be a set of facts without any spin for NEWS. My humble opinion.

  11. Expecting fair and accurate reporting on Republicans by the media is akin to a having a second marriage: the triumph of hope over experience.

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