Once upon a time, for reasons external, I had a subscription to Newsweek. It was that or U.S. News and World Report and I opted for the cheaper one. I am unsure it was better value, but it certainly was cheaper. Perhaps I would have been informed with USN&WR, but the subscription I had did provide an education. I rather doubt it was the education that was intended.
At that time, at least (no idea of now), there was a page of quotations from the week. It might have been under the banner “Conventional Wisdom” (or not, it was a while ago) which was a phrase of the time. One week, during a mid-term campaign, one of the quotations was then-President George H.W. Bush reply to the question of how he felt about the women who where running for Senate. Newsweek reported his reply as being, “I hope they lose.” And that certainly sounds sexist, doesn’t it? Except Newsweek was pulling a Radio Moscow with that. While it was technically true that the President said that, they omitted what else he said, and thereby removed context.
I learned this from, of all places, NPR (that bastion of right-wing conservatism – I’ll wait while you finish laughing. Done? Good.) which reported that the full response was, “Since they’re all Democrats, I hope they lose.” Partisan? Yes, but that is expected. Nothing sexist, simple party preference. This was the final nail in the coffin of Newsweek‘s reputation, for me. I’d had suspicions, sure, but when NPR reveals your Narrativium to be bilge.. well, that thing you’re orbiting is called a ‘drain’.
It wasn’t quite the last nail in the coffin of the so-called MainStream Media for me. Other things aided that. There was a nasty radioactivity exposure incident (improperly decommissioned and scrapped out radiotherapy device and the glowing powder was a cool toy… until it did what things radioactive enough to glow tend to do. Cesium-137 is NOT your friend.) in South America which I heard about via shortwave broadcast (perhaps BBC, almost certainly HCJB, maybe others) and saw nothing about on any US TV news program. Nothing. Until six months later there was a short bit about it.
Then there was a Guardian article (with mostly correct spelling!) about how somehow basketball filled in the gap in the USA that other countries filled with soccer. Puzzling, I know, but it seemed to make sense as I read it… until late in the article where there was shot at then-President Bush (which one hardly matters). An article about soccer and basketball… but they HAD to get in a stupid anti-Bush shot. Even with proper spelling (ain’t spell-check amazing?), they are still just the Grauniad.
And recently there was a woman fired from a job because, as reported, she once (years ago) wore “blackface” at a party. Alright, at “blackface” what did you think of? Something like an old time Minstrel show? That’s what was intended, I imagine. But that’s NOT what actually happened. That woman dressed up and had makeup to make her look like, as close as could be managed, to a member of a band she liked. That’s not Minstrel, but actually rather flattering makeup. But the general reporting is “blackface” rather than, say, “tone-adjusted.” Why? Because “blackface” gins up outrage and outrage sells… and fits Das Narratif. Narratif uber alles, ja? Ja! The Narrative is… manure – and I’m being far too kind.
And then there’s this asking about so-called dog whistles. Note the full text of what the President said (if some is a bit repetitive) compared to what is being reported.
The media might claim I (and others) have stomped on their foot. But the smoking gun, in their own hand, stilled aimed at their foot, tells the real story.