Do News Corp and The Far Right Have No Shame?
Maybe if I lived in New York I’d be more sanguine.
Pandering is a kind adjective to describe the editorial management at the New York Post, the 13th-oldest and seventh-most-widely circulated newspaper in the U.S. and one that is owned by News Corp. And losing money.
If you get your news from the NY Post, you’d be forgiven for thinking that yesterday’s tragedy was orchestrated by someone from Saudi Arabia. For the second day, the NY Post is trumpeting made-up headlines:
Police took a 20-year-old Saudi national into custody near the scene of yesterday’s horrific Boston Marathon bomb attack, law-enforcement sources told The Post.
These anonymous sources contradict every public statement from local and federal law enforcement.
The story also contradicts the NY Post’s own Twitter stream:
Investigators rule out Saudi national as a suspect in Boston bombing after searching his apartment nyp.st/Zougoy
— New York Post (@nypost) April 16, 2013
The more accurate headline comes from the Washington Post. Even though this story only cites two anonymous sources, these sources mirror the official comment from the Boston Police Department.
I wish I could say that the hounding like that going on in America’s far right echo chamber were the exception. But as Karen McVeigh reports in The Guardian, our mainstream (“trusted”) news organizations don’t have a great record when it comes to following anonymous sources and fixating on the first “suspect.”
In this case, the NY Post and FOX provided soundbites and fodder for the professional far right blogosphere. And these “conservative media” have published photos, full name and the address of a man who is studying here — legally — and who is not a suspect in the tragedy.
— Patrick Dollard (@PatDollard) April 16, 2013
Moreover, part of the fringe still insists that there is a Saudi connection:
Saudi terror cell, possibly al Qaeda, behind Boston Marathon bombings. Manhunt for escaped suspect debka.com/article/22901/
— marirw (@marirw) April 16, 2013
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) used the tragedy to speak out against immigration reform.
GOP Rep Warns Against Immigration Reform, Speculates That Boston Attacker Was Saudi With Student Visa | Mediaite mediaite.com/online/gop-rep…
— Rick Cooley (@rcooley123) April 16, 2013
But there is enough pushback on Twitter to have hope than reason can prevail.
BREAKING: “Saudi national” on student visa is no longer a suspect in Boston Marathon bombing. Many a Fox News viewer still pushing theory
— DC Debbie (@DCdebbie) April 16, 2013
— Ron Lin, LA Times (@ronlin) April 16, 2013
Injured Saudi is a witness, not a suspect, in Boston bombing: wapo.st/12k1rus
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 16, 2013
Saudi man injured in bombing in Boston. Saudi man called a terrorist suspect. Saudi man found to be a witness. #MediaFail
— Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) April 16, 2013
Updated 4:50 pm
What About MSNBC?
Just hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, Chris Matthews speculated, “Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right.” He then reconsidered and suggested, “…That’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that.”
No cable company has a monopoly on extreme “analysts.” The more extreme, the more audience; the bigger the audience, the more money for everyone. This was Bill O’Reilly’s take on that truism during his “Rumble” with Jon Stewart:
O’Reilly said the problem [of political discourse] is “capitalism” because “you can make a lot of money by being an assassin…. you’re a hater, you get paid. They don’t even believe half the stuff they say. And they get paid a lot of money.”
— Erica Payne (@EricaPayneAP) October 7, 2012
— Dahlia Eissa (@dahlia_eissa) October 7, 2012
In fairness to Matthews, he did back track something the NYPost has yet to do, at least in its headlines and stories. And I didn’t see him or MSNBC continuing that line of rhetoric today.
Finally, I’m more offended by reporters citing anonymous sources under the guise of “news” than I am of cable TV pundits – people who are hired to hold an opinion – putting their feet in their mouths. They are not the same infraction. Not even close.
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill, wiredpen.com