Not enough facepalms in the world. I don’t know what’s worse: that after a US Senator was informed he was personally helping spread Russian propaganda, the Senator’s first instinct was to pretend he wasn’t just personally implicated and yell “Fake News!” at the media, or that, for his followers, that’s probably a good enough reaction.
Favorite Twitter response to his suggestion that “the Press” in particular needs to work to avoid spreading so much Russian propaganda on Twitter:
Funny. Most people only use one “s” when abbreviating “president.”
Right, NewsBusters: “Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias”. Let’s see how that works, shall we? So Russia sets up TWO opposing rallies, one in support of Trump, and one against him, in an attempt to cause tensions or violence or some such thing. So far, so good, that much is in the Mueller indictments. News organizations cover both events as “large political rallies in the middle of New York around a major US election” are newsworthy items, and nobody yet knows the Russians helped set them up. So NewsBusters comes in for the scoop–by showing that the media reported on the anti-Trump rally, and completely glossing over their coverage of the pro-Trump rally. Yep, typical NewsBusters. Manufacturing a liberal bias so they can posture against it.
Muahaha. Firstly, I don’t know if both events were covered the same way - in terms of time and tone - and that is important to the bias question. Secondly, NewsBusters is one-sided and the indecorousness of posting the link gave me a cheap thrill. (And I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids). Thirdly, how important was it that the media was unwittingly giving the Russians a megaphone for their propaganda?
Heh. Well I don’t have any Tivo’d recording or whatnot, but they were both covered for sure (I remember the whole week was duelling rallies, in multiple cities), and I’m certain a fair share of strident and loudmouthed folk on both sides were broadcast and/or quoted, whether there was quote-for-quote parity is not something I think is really all that worth getting into. Especially because then you’ll get into arguments like “if one rally was a quarter the size of the other, shouldn’t it get a quarter of the coverage by unbiased media?” and it’s all downhill from there, especially because I’m pretty certain the attendance discrepancy was more like 500:1 in most cities, simply due to voter demographics – you’d have to resort to bribery to get an equivalent-sized pro-Trump turnout in a major metropolitan area.
The media unwittingly spreads disinformation all the time, which is how everyone takes advantage of it (politicians, corporations, and hostile foreign powers). Just covering a rally really doesn’t do much for spreading a message, when it sounds like both events were the sort of disorganized flash-mob response you’d get for such things. People yell outrageous things, and so on, and sometimes it gets on camera or elicits a reaction from a reporter.
I think there are degrees of unwitting. Fully unwitting is completely forgivable. You literally have no idea. Fully witting is Pravda, you’re literally just a tool of propaganda. But there’s a lot in between. Stuff you know isn’t true but you report it because people are saying it and that in itself is news (voter fraud stories, etc). Stuff you’re pretty sure isn’t true but you have to report it because you want to provide “both sides of the story” (and now we hear from an expert saying not all Nazis are necessarily racist). Things you wish were true so hard that you forward the e-mail to all your friends in spite of the fact that any degree of examination would reveal it’s untrue (Pizzagate). Those things, the media has done all of, and needs to own up to, and not just with disinformation coming from Russia.
But the rallies? I’m not seeing it. The people attending the rallies maybe, but not the people behind the cameras.