How the Main­stream Me­dia Op­er­ates – A Case Study – Part 2

The Jewish Voice - - OP - ED - By: Den­nis Prager

(CON­TIN­UED FROM LAST WEEK)

Dur­ing the eight-year pres­i­dency of Barack Obama, did The New York Times once de­scribe any­thing he did or said as "di­vi­sive" or "con­tentious" (in­clud­ing his pre-2012 op­po­si­tion to the le­gal­iza­tion of same-sex mar­riage)?

Les­son No. 3: Con­trary Ev­i­dence Is Omit­ted.

De­spite all the Santa Mon­ica mu­si­cians who sup­ported my con­duct­ing; de­spite the mu­si­cians from other or­ches­tras — in­clud­ing the Los An­ge­les Phil­har­monic — who asked to play when I con­ducted; and de­spite the orches­tra's con­duc­tor and board mem­bers who have fol­lowed my work for decades, not one quote in the en­tire ar­ti­cle de­scribed me in a pos­i­tive light .

Rather, the ar­ti­cle is filled with quotes de­scrib­ing me in the worst pos­si­ble way. Two of the four mu­si­cians who wrote the orig­i­nal let­ter against me are quoted ex­ten­sively (call­ing me "hor­ri­bly big­oted" and say­ing I help "nor­mal­ize big­otry"); a gay mem­ber of the orches­tra is quoted ac­cus­ing me of writ­ing "some pretty aw­ful things about gay peo­ple, women and mi­nori­ties" (for the record, I have never writ­ten an aw­ful word about gay peo­ple, women or mi­nori­ties); and the for­mer mayor's at­tack on me was quoted.

Les­son No. 4: Sub­jects are cov­ered in line with left-wing ide­ol­ogy.

The sub­ject of the ar­ti­cle could have eas­ily (and more truth­fully) been cov­ered in a pos­i­tive way, as some­thing uni­fy­ing and up­lift­ing.

"De­spite com­ing from dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal worlds, a lead­ing con­ser­va­tive and a very lib­eral city unite to make mu­sic to­gether" — why wasn't this the an­gle of the story?

Sim­i­larly, in­stead of its head­line, "Santa Mon­ica Sym­phony Roiled by Con­ser­va­tive Guest Con­duc­tor," the Times could have used a head­line and re­ported the very op­po­site: "Santa Mon­ica Sym­phony Stands by Con­ser­va­tive Guest Con­duc­tor."

That also would have con­veyed more truth than the ac­tual head­line. But the dif­fer­ence be­tween "roiled by" and "stands by" is the dif­fer­ence be­tween a left-wing agenda and truth.

And even with the head­line as it ap­peared in the Times, shouldn't the story have of­fered quotes from sup­port­ive mu­si­cians to bal­ance the neg­a­tiv­ity? One was left won­der­ing why the in­vi­ta­tion to guest-con­duct was of­fered to such a per­son to be­gin with.

Now let's go to the Los An­ge­les Times, which was as neg­a­tive as The New York Times, though at least its two neg­a­tive col­umns were opin­ion col­umns — un­like The New York Times, they were not news sto­ries, strictly speak­ing.

On Aug. 8, Los An­ge­les Times colum­nist Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize win­ner, wrote a col­umn head­lined "How right-winger Den­nis Prager politi­cized his own sym­phony gig — and de­clared him­self the vic­tim."

The men­dac­ity of the ti­tle is quite some­thing. Never in all the years I have con­ducted or­ches­tras have I used the op­por­tu­nity to say a po­lit­i­cal word. My sole pur­pose has been to con­duct or­ches­tras, raise funds for those com­mu­nity or­ches­tras and bring new peo­ple to clas­si­cal mu­sic. The only peo­ple to ever politi­cize my con­duct­ing ap­pear­ances are a few left-wing mu­si­cians and politi­cians in Santa Mon­ica.

Those peo­ple made my con­duct­ing a po­lit­i­cal is­sue. Yet Hiltzik writes that I am the one who did. "It's Prager him­self who pumped up the po­lit­i­cal com­po­nent of the con­tro­versy," he says.

This is a fine ex­am­ple of "the in­de­fen­si­bly cor­rupt ma­nip­u­la­tions of lan­guage re­peated in­ces­santly in our lead­ing me­dia."

It is also worth not­ing that ev­ery main­stream news source, like the Los An­ge­les Times, iden­ti­fied me as ei­ther "rightwing" or "con­ser­va­tive." Com­men­ta­tors and talk show hosts on the left, how­ever, are vir­tu­ally never iden­ti­fied as "left-wing" or "lib­eral." This is be­cause in the closed world of the left, the left is the norm and the right is the aber­ra­tion.

Hiltzik also wrote that "many in the orches­tra find Prager's views nox­ious." That was af­ter writ­ing, "So far, seven mu­si­cians have said they won't per­form ... leav­ing 70 still on the ros­ter."

Ap­par­ently, about 1 out of 10 is "many." (Hiltzik also didn't men­tion the equal num­ber of mu­si­cians from other or­ches­tras who asked to play when I con­ducted.)

Then there was the col­umn by the Los An­ge­les Times clas­si­cal mu­sic critic, Mark Swed.

He wrote: "Can a di­vi­sive pub­lic con­ser­va­tive ama­teur mu­si­cian con­duct an orches­tra? That's ask­ing for trou­ble."

Note again the word "di­vi­sive" — only con­ser­va­tives di­vide be­cause, again, in the mind of the left, left is nor­ma­tive. And in case you missed it the first time, Swed later wrote about my "mil­i­tant po­lar­iz­ing of is­sues."

As a con­ser­va­tive, I am not only di­vi­sive; I am a mil­i­tant po­lar­izer. (FRONT­PAGE MAG) (TO BE CON­TIN­UED NEXT WEEK)

Com­men­ta­tors and talk show hosts on the left, how­ever, are vir­tu­ally never iden­ti­fied as "left­wing" or "lib­eral." This is be­cause in the closed world of the left, the left is the norm and the right is the aber­ra­tion. The only peo­ple to ever politi­cize my con­duct­ing ap­pear­ances are a few left-wing mu­si­cians and politi­cians in Santa Mon­ica. The men­dac­ity of the ti­tle is quite some­thing. Never in all the years I have con­ducted or­ches­tras have I used the op­por­tu­nity to say a po­lit­i­cal word.

Sim­i­larly, in­stead of its head­line, "Santa Mon­ica Sym­phony Roiled by Con­ser­va­tive Guest Con­duc­tor," the Times could have used a head­line and re­ported the very op­po­site: "Santa Mon­ica Sym­phony Stands by Con­ser­va­tive Guest Con­duc­tor."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.