Biased Media Trying to Hide the Truth of Town Hall Protests
As we’ve discussed here before, the line between liberal, biased media and fair, ethical journalism isn’t always as cut-and-dried as the phrase “fake news” makes it seem. While there are examples of journalists who twist the facts so egregiously that they wind up publishing fiction, the media’s tricks are usually much more subtle. They’ve let their hatred of Trump get the better of them in recent months, but they usually understand that they have to protect the illusion of objectivity if they want to maintain the trust of their readers.
So they play little games with the facts. You can’t necessarily accuse them of lying…but let’s just say, they know what they’re doing.
These town hall protests greeting Republicans all over the country last week are a prime example of “fake news” wrapped in a blanket of truth. It is a fact that these protests are happening. It is a viable news story, both locally and nationally. This is something that is shaking up the political world, and it would be journalistic malpractice not to cover it.
Here’s the problem, though. If you get all of your news from the usual mainstream media sources, you would have a very skewed idea about these chaotic scenes.
From USA Today: “Riled up by a Trump administration agenda targeting immigrants and Obamacare and concerned about Russian influence, voters have been trying to get their representatives’ attention in sometimes-rowdy town hall meetings this week.”
Later in the article: “In Arizona, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans, said they plan to meet with constituents.”
Later: “Sen. Chuck Grassley […] held a tumultuous town hall Monday in Iowa Falls with constituents shouting questions about Russia and health care.”
Constituents. Voters. Crowds. Protesters.
Do you see the trick?
We’re using USA Today as an example, but they stand for all the rest. In story after story, the news media is trying very hard to avoid telling their readers that these people are liberal activists. Whether they’re paid or unpaid, organized or organic, is beside the point. The point is that by using neutral terms like “constituents,” the media is trying to give you the illusion that these protest crowds are a healthy mix of Republicans and Democrats who are suddenly turning on the people they voted for. And if you don’t think that’s what they’re doing, just imagine how they would characterize these protests if Hillary Clinton had won and people stormed into Democrat town halls demanding answers. You would NEVER see them referred to as “voters” or “constituents.” They would exclusively use terms like “conservatives” or “Trump supporters” or “radical right-wing agitators.” If you doubt this, feel free to look back at the way the media covered the Tea Party.
Thankfully, there are still reporters out there with a sense of integrity. Even in the liberal swamp of MSNBC, we got to see Hallie Jackson pry the truth out of Ted Leiu, a Democratic congressman from California.
“These are organic, grassroots protests you see from across the country,” Leiu said.
“But congressman, there are groups though,” Jackson said. “I mean, you don’t deny that there are groups of more liberal activists who are helping to organize some of these protests at town halls?”
“Well, yes, there are groups that are organizing people to show up at town halls,” he admitted, “but these are people who are constituents of these members of Congress.”
That’s fine. No one’s trying to deny their personhood or their right to protest. But if we’re going to pretend they aren’t partisan – that they’re just politically-neutral “constituents” – then how about some balanced reporting? If 300 “constituents” show up to a town hall, that means thousands stayed home. That’s a pretty strong endorsement of the Republican agenda, no?
You’ve got to watch these folks in the media like a hawk. Their deceit is often beyond anything a simple “fact check” can find…and that’s what makes it so effective.