When done properly and not gilded with political venom, news can actually be informative. The New York Times had the proper stories in the proper order Wednesday night on its home page.
You had to scroll down a bit to see it, but the breaking Smollett story appears first, above a story on the collapse of civilization in Venezuela, which is above the nut job domestic terrorist Coast Guard story.
This is the proper order of the stories. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame liberal media outlets for going with the Coast Guard story first, since many of them were (literally) singled out on a death list. But news should properly be reported to get at truth, not for personal vendetta or out of retribution.
The Times story on Smollett even quoted National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru, straight up, without mockery or derision.
Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review, said on Wednesday: “I think that the initial reaction suggested that there is a lot of credulity, especially among liberals who were looking at a story that seemed to confirm their impressions about Trump supporters.”
Conservatives can be just as guilty as liberals in the media of forcing our agenda into the news. In many cases, I say “who can blame us?” since we’re regularly assaulted by openly hostile reporters and media who carry railcars of baggage and bias into every story. But there’s a warning here: We need to be just as careful to avoid echo chambers and halls of mirrors.
The Smollett story smelled of hoax from the moment I first saw it. I even expected the left to ride it like a bronco, and they did. But now that the “story” has played out, kudos to the NYT for at least acknowledging confirmation bias. (No such luck with the Washington Post version.)
The Coast Guard terrorist story deserves its place. There are some dangerous and well-armed nut jobs in America. We need not run interference or minimize the awfulness of this crime. And yes, plotting the deaths of “leftists in general,” maintaining kill lists (including “Sen blumen jew” for Senator Richard Blumenthal), and amassing an arsenal for the purpose of carrying out those plans is an awful crime. It doesn’t matter who is on the list. If your outrage is tempered by the names of the targets, the problem is you.
We conservatives have blasted–deservedly–the likes of Chris Cillizza for his blasé innocent bystander approach to the media’s culpability in the “it’s news for thee but not for me” department. From the Kavanaugh accusers, to the Covington teens, to the Smollett “assault,” left-leaning reporters, editors and news organization executives have gone for the sizzle while leaving the steak to rot and fester.
Let’s not commit the same crime against truth that the main stream media have done over and over again. Let’s not live in our Twitter bubbles where gotcha’s and toldyaso’s are the norm.
The New York Times got the stories right Wednesday night. They didn’t fall into the traps of the Gabby Giffords shooting, or the June 2017 Virginia baseball diamond shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise fighting for his life. The Coast Guard nut job was not inspired by Donald Trump, and to its credit, the Times didn’t go there.
Before you accuse me of canonizing the NYT, I’ll confess that I know they are liberals. Every story in their editorial section is either critical of President Trump, Christians, the Wall, or in support of man made climate change. But those are editorials.
If we can make this simple rule to keep the news, news, and the opinion, opinion, I think we can all get along. But both sides need to do it. The NYT did a good job this time. Now they need to keep doing it.