All news is political (update)

April 2019 updates:

  • I can’t even… Does anybody believe this is the most accurate headline to describe what happened? Newsweek tweets that “Donald Trump Jr. praises Candace Owens for her defense of Hitler comments”
  • Media Matters director Andrew Lawrence claims on Twitter that Tucker Carlson was defending ‘white nationalists’, while posting a clip with the supposed statements that shows Carlson actually saying that “attacking people for their race is exactly how you destroy a country” – pretty much the opposite of Lawrence’s claim (which is based fully on the assumption that everyone whom the left calls a racist actually is a racist).

  • The Daily Beast continues to call Gab an “Alt-right” social network, even though Gab has no political identity, and the only reason it attracts the Alt-right is that no other platform values free speech as much as Gab does.
  • A photograph that was spread as fake news was chosen as the World Press Photo 2019.
  • Prominent Democrats and media pundits amplified a misleading tweet accusing President Trump of calling immigrants ‘animals’ in a 2018 interview. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the interview made headlines worldwide last year – and the ‘immigrants are animals’ comparison was debunked last year as well. But it saved the left the trouble of having to come up with a new lie that week.
  • Journalists with an (explicit) agenda love filling in blanks. After the Notre Dame fire, several right-wing pundits commented that the blaze was symbolic for the decline of Western civilization. Washington Post’s Talia Lavin explained Ben Shapiro’s description of Notre Dame as a “monument to Western civilization” as positing the fire as part of “a war between Islam and the West”. Even though Shapiro (and other pundits mentioned) had not mentioned or hinted at Islam anywhere. This same tactic applies almost every time you see a mention of ‘dog whistles’ in the mainstream media.
  • After two Dutch parliamentarians proposed a bill that would see people fined for having a religious marriage before getting married for the law, state news broadcaster NOS headlined “‘People who get married for the church first, should be fined’“. In The Netherlands, it is not possible to get married for the church before getting lawfully married, and the bill is specifically aimed at Islamic marriage practises. Still, NOS chose to use the word ‘church’ in the headline, rather than ‘mosque’.
  • After the coordinated terror attacks in Sri Lanka, Washington Post presented us with a classic ‘Republicans pounce’ headline: “Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West“. No ‘Muslims kill 359’, no ‘What are we to do about Islamic terrorism’. Clearly, the problem with Islamic terrorism is not Islam or terrorism, it’s that people whose politics WaPo doesn’t like are angry about it. A great way of shifting blame and focus from the actual culprit to a scapegoat who has done no wrong, but fits the agenda better.

  • A variation on that theme came from the Dutch NOS, which ran the headline: “Muslim group blamed for attacks”. Only after an onslaught of criticism, this was changed to “Muslim group behind attacks”. A news program for SBS went with the (intentionally?) vague “‘Extremist groups’ responsible for Sri Lanka attacks’.

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