As I wrote in Part 1, people are primed to see certain patterns in events. These patterns often turn out to be “false faces”. But people see them anyway. Even when people know they’re ridiculous (like seeing the Virgin Mary in a cheese sandwich) they still believe them. Why? Because they want to. It suits they’re prejudices. Nor are the religious the only ones with this bias. If you think otherwise it only means you have been unwilling to examine your own biases against the evidence. Otherwise, you would have discovered a few mistakes in your own thinking and realized you’re not immune.
Which brings us to the MSM. As I wrote in Media Bias in America, surveys have shown as many as 90% of journalists vote Democrat. The reasons for this is obvious. America’s upper class is overwhelmingly liberal Democrat not conservative Republican as many mistakenly believe. These billionaire moguls associate with and hire managers who share their politics and views. The trickle down effect means their bias extends all the way to the bottom. They’re unlikely to hire conservatives. They’re unlikely to promote conservatives. And conservatives are unlikely to want to work in such a hostile environment. The few who do mostly stay in the closet. Consequently, journalists like others in the entertainment industry are an intellectually inbred lot.
This has serious consequences for news coverage. For example, when Jared Loughner shot Democrat Senator Gabrielle Giffords the media immediately claimed he was a right-winger who had been incited by Sarah Palin. Some even accused him of anti-semitism. But as I wrote in The media and Jared Loughner the evidence shows he was a mentally disturbed pothead who tilted left. His mother even attended the same synagogue as Senator Giffords. Ouch!
How could they have been so wrong? Simple. Those were the patterns they expected to see. And they didn’t have anyone with a dissenting opinion willing to challenge that bias. Still, like most media mistakes, the mistake made the front page and the correction was printed on page C6. So many still mistakenly believe Loughner was a “right-wing wacko”.
When James Holmes shot up the theater in Colorado the media was more cautious after having been burned with Loughner. But apparently not enough. Brian Ross famously embarrassed himself by reporting that “a man named Jim Holmes was a member of the Colorado Tea Party.” It wasn’t the same James Holmes and if Brian Ross hadn’t been so eager to draw the connection he might have bothered to pick up the phone and ask. On the other hand, Unamused wouldn’t have been able to write this hilarious post that “a man named Brian Ross was a known pedophile.”
There has been other misreporting over the last couple of years revealing other bias as well. For example, the media aggressively reported a white serial slasher/killer was targeting black men in the midwest. Only they conveniently omitted that some of his victims were also white and hispanic. Then, when he was finally arrested the media aggressively reported that he was an Israeli citizen while conveniently omitting the slasher, Elias Abuelazam, was an Israeli Arab. Similarly, the Columbine shooters were alternately described as “skinheads” and “jewish” at different points when in fact one was only half Jewish which would seem to invalidate both claims. Those are critical details to botch and readers’ comments on those stories showed many drew the wrong conclusions.
The media similarly misreported Omar Thornton’s workplace massacre in Connecticut as a reaction to racial abuse from his employer and co-workers. But none of the allegations were supported by evidence or witnesses. He hadn’t even filed a discrimination complaint with his union. Instead, there was video surveillance footage of him stealing beer from the Budweiser distributor he worked for. When confronted with the evidence he was given the choice to resign or be terminated. He resigned, retrieved firearms from his car and then went back inside where he killed 9 former co-workers. Why assume Thornton was discriminated against when the evidence suggested otherwise? Because it fit the pattern liberal journalists expected.
Ironically, I don’t recall any misreporting regarding Wade Page’s shooting at the Sikh Temple. That puzzled me for a while because one would have expected some mistakes. Then it dawned on me — the shooting fit the pattern the media was primed for. They didn’t see a false face because the face they expected was actually there that time.
The coverage in this latest Connecticut shooting involving Adam Lanza was also famously mistaken. They got plenty of facts wrong but the most egregious was to report his brother Ryan as the shooter including splashing his photo across the television. I don’t guess there was anything particularly biased about that mistake. But it shows what kind of boobs are running the MSM. Of course, journalists were still primed for patterns. And this time they latched on to mental illness. In the next post, I’ll discuss how that might be another example of seeing a false face.
Honest mistakes do happen and I’ve made them myself. Mine tend to result from not being skeptical enough. For example, I initially fell for some of the media’s claims myself. Maybe it’s an example of my own bias that I fell for them? I don’t know. Regardless, I’m now much more skeptical of MSM coverage on stories that include controversial elements.