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The media reporting on the Covington kids/Lincoln Memorial story was disgraceful, to the point where the story ultimately became not what actually happened that day--there is, after all, no intrinsic newsworthiness in a teenager supposedly "smirking" at a nutjob banging a drum--but how the media eagerly constructed and then tried to impose a thoroughly fake narrative upon the American public.

Any explanation for the fiasco must begin with the following factors:

• Ideology: Too many in our prestige media now see themselves as "woke" social justice warriors rather than journalists. They consequently glom on to whatever story appears to serve that cause, however trivial, and then jump to preferred conclusions, omit relevant facts and take others out of context accordingly.

In the Lincoln Memorial incident all we needed to know was that there were some white Christian males from Kentucky wearing MAGA hats (even if they were just teenagers). Roll script, fill in the blanks, paint by numbers, even if it's false.

As Andrew Sullivan, hardly a champion of "white male privilege," succinctly put it, "This is the orthodoxy of elite media, and it is increasingly the job of journalists to fit the facts to the narrative and to avoid any facts that undermine it."

Those who spewed propaganda for Pravda saw their task much the same way.

• Indoctrination: Most of the "woke" social justice warriors of the elite media to which Sullivan refers come from supposedly elite colleges and universities where, outside of STEM fields, education has been largely supplanted by radical left indoctrination. They thus arrive at their positions with their heads filled with social-justice intersectionality mumbo-jumbo and see only those things that they think support it.

In the words of Victor Davis Hanson, "Fake news--whether the latest BuzzFeed myth or the Covington charade--is simply a word for thirtysomethings who believe they have a duty to promote race, class, and gender agendas that they were spoon-fed in college. They too often define accuracy as the higher Truth that transcends the fossilized idea of truth predicated on obsolete ideas such as evidence, facts, and empiricism."

• Ignorance: The other problem with indoctrination at institutions of higher education is that it invariably crowds out the "education" part, evidence for which seems to be the appalling lack of knowledge of history, political theory, and economics that characterizes the typical social justice warrior, including media specimens thereof.

But when it comes to the media the problem goes deeper than just historical and cultural illiteracy to include a profound ignorance of the nation and its people that they are supposed to be reporting on and to, of the habits and culture and values of all those "deplorables" that live between Washington/New York on one coast and San Francisco/Los Angeles on the other.

Lack of understanding leads to ignorance then to contempt for "flyover country." And it doesn't get any more "flyover" in the minds of would-be media sophisticates than Covington, Ky.

• Insularity, resulting from newsrooms filled with like-minded, superficial people who seldom challenge their own views or have them challenged by others or have even the faintest awareness of the fact that they operate in echo chambers.

The linkage here is difficult to deny: the ideological echo chambers that are elite college campuses turn out media elites who then continue to function in ideological echo chambers at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Again, in Hanson's words, "We are also reaping the fruits of the new university run by hard-core leftists who have indoctrinated a generation with progressive envy and anger, while offering them little education. The resulting ignorance and arrogance make a lethal combination."

• Laziness, defined as the increasing tendency of journalists and pundits to rely upon Twitter to determine what constitutes news significance and to then misinterpret the nutty opinions therein as representative of those of the public as a whole.

The "story" thus becomes the Twitter version of the story, however trivial or inaccurately presented, with all too many journalists simply reporting on how Twitter "reacts" or "erupts" to this or that. The real work of reporting, the things we were taught to do way back in journalism school, the hard work of collecting facts and trying to find out what really happened, is increasingly left out of the job description.

• Simple dishonesty, flowing from an embrace by too many media outlets of an "end justifies the means" mentality, with the "end" getting rid of the ogre Donald Trump and the "means" consisting of whatever facilitates that end, even biased reporting and fake stories.

The claim is made that Trump must be removed because of the damage he has done to venerable American institutions, yet the campaign by the media against him has resulted in unprecedented, self-inflicted damage to the Fourth Estate as an institution as well, in large part because of the kind of abandonment of professional standards and commitment to accuracy and objectivity so obvious in the Covington story.

The claim of "fake news" increasingly resonates because, in their ill-disguised zeal to get rid of a president they don't like, our puffed-up media elites are providing us with so many examples of it.

------------v------------

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 02/04/2019

Print Headline: BRADLEY R. GITZ: Why the media blew it

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Comments

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  • mozarky2
    February 4, 2019 at 5:36 a.m.

    Perhaps the most important event since President Trump took office. The left took off their masks and showed us that they want conservatives and libertarians (like me) dead. It demonstrated beyond any doubt that it isn't Trump they hate, it's us; Trump is just one of the obstacles standing between us and them.
    Oh, and the Second Amendment...

  • RBear
    February 4, 2019 at 6:23 a.m.

    "Those who spewed propaganda for Pravda saw their task much the same way." ROTFL @ Gitz. How about you come out of your Cold War bunker up in Batesville and actually walk around with normal people. All this column is is a repeat of your constant attacks on private universities. I'm wondering, if you're so bent against them, why do you take a salary from one founded by one of the more progressive churches in the nation? Sounds kind of hypocritical, if you ask me.
    ...
    Then we have good old Frank saying this was "the most important event since President Trump took office." Really? What the heck are you trying to say here? Is this ALL you're focused on in Trump's presidency? Finally, you add some dribble about the Second Amendment which you clearly don't understand.

  • PopMom
    February 4, 2019 at 6:24 a.m.

    Mozarky,

    Nobody wants you dead. We just want the Putin puppet and white supremacist out of the White House. We want people of all colors, ethnicities, and sexual preferences treated with respect. As George H.W. Bush would have said, "We want a kinder, gentler nation." This story was way overblown by the conservatives and the liberals. It also is yesterday's news. Let's move on.

  • RBear
    February 4, 2019 at 6:41 a.m.

    I can say, there have been a few folks in here who wish the demise of liberals. Then there's good old Pack who keeps sticking pins in his voodoo doll of RBG.

  • mozarky2
    February 4, 2019 at 7:51 a.m.

    Those death wishes from celebs, dim politicians, and the enemedia were overblown, PM?

  • RBear
    February 4, 2019 at 7:53 a.m.

    moz the "(like me)" is overblown.

  • Ragmop
    February 4, 2019 at 8:02 a.m.

    It was amazing to me that anyone could support what that old fool beating the drum did. It is refreshing to see an article that exposes the media's bias and lack of integrity. Thanks, Mr. Gitz

  • Skeptic1
    February 4, 2019 at 8:26 a.m.

    Very well put, however, as the comments of the loons here show, the media is corrupt but as long as they lien left there is no harm. Not since Lincoln has any president endured the 24/7 relentless attacks President Trump has endured. The media seems to be at a fever pitch in its goal of fermenting a civil war as they did in 1860. Mozarky, you are spot on, imagine a celebrity holding up the bloody severed head of Obama on national television, or Sean Penn and Madonna saying they wanted Obama dead or that they fantasize about blowing up the White House, we all know the answer.

  • limb
    February 4, 2019 at 8:29 a.m.

    You saw what you saw in that tape. Gitz wants to pound in what he saw and deliver as many righteous blows as he can to divide, divide, divide and spew hatred. Sad guy.

  • RBear
    February 4, 2019 at 8:31 a.m.

    BSC skeptic with her usual rant of insanity. Oh well, she lies about most everything in here. Discounted.

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