Fak­ing the hate to man­u­fac­ture some news

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

You don’t have to be a Har­vard Univer­sity re­searcher to fig­ure out that the me­dia is in­fected with lib­eral bias — or to re­al­ize that some left-wing jour­nal­ists will use any means nec­es­sary to cre­ate ide­o­log­i­cal nar­ra­tives that fit their world­view. The Rather­gate de­ba­cle at CBS News in­volv­ing faked Na­tional Guard memos to smear Pres­i­dent Bush was an ex­treme ex­am­ple. But if you look closely, you’ll find ev­ery­day ex­am­ples of Se­ri­ous Jour­nal­ists man­u­fac­tur­ing the news and con­coct­ing so­cial crises.

Amaz­ingly, they al­ways man­age to make con­ser­va­tives look racist, in­tol­er­ant and evil. Funny how that works.

On Nov. 5, the lo­cal Fox af­fil­i­ate in Birm­ing­ham, Ala., blew the whis­tle on an ABC News sting op­er­a­tion in­tended to elicit big­oted re­sponses from lo­cal res­i­dents. The na­tional ABC News pro­gram “Prime­time Live” hired ac­tors to pose as same-sex cou­ples and en­gage in pub­lic dis­plays of af­fec­tion on a park bench. Birm­ing­ham po­lice de­part­ment sources told the Fox af­fil­i­ate about the so­cial ex­per­i­ment; a lo­cal mer­chant spot­ted an RV where the ABC crew was sta­tioned. The mer­chant was told “ABC was work­ing on a week-long project to see how peo­ple would re­act [. . .] A FOX6 news re­porter ap­proached the RV and talked with an ‘ac­tor’ who said, ‘Yes, we are work­ing for ABC News.’”

Wel­come to Me­dia The­atrics 101. In­stead of sim­ply in­ter­view­ing folks in the South or stak­ing out real gay cou­ples, ABC News thinks it’s fair and ob­jec­tive to stage-man­age so­cial ex­per­i­ments and call it jour­nal­ism. Next thing you know, they’ll hire celebrity prankster Ash­ton Kutcher to jump out and yell, “You just got Punk’d!” as passers-by get en­snared and — ABC News hopes — ex­hibit the signs of prej­u­dice they are so sure ex­ist in South­ern­ers.

Does this po­lit­i­cally cor­rect setup sound familiar? It should. Last spring, I ex­posed a sim­i­lar news me­dia pro­duc­tion en­gi­neered by NBC’s “Date­line,” which re­cruited Mus­lim males to be sent to sports events and NASCAR races in the South and across the heart­land to ex­pose fans as anti-Mus­lim, an­tiArab big­ots. Yes, the same pro­gram and net­work that were hu­mil­i­ated for fak­ing GM pick-up truck ex­plo­sions at­tempted to man­u­fac­ture an­other cri­sis to give “Date­line’s” talk­ing heads yet an­other op­por­tu­nity to fur­row their brows, shake their heads and win more Emmy awards.

My read­ers of­fered their own news sting ideas:

“I won­der if they would con­sider send­ing a pro­fes­sor wear­ing an ‘I Love W’ but­ton and an Amer­i­can flag pin into the fac­ulty lounge at Har­vard or some other lib­eral ivory tower with a hid­den cam­era. I would love to see that ex­per­i­ment.”

“Per­haps when I get back from de­ploy­ment, you can fol­low me around Seat­tle and see how I get treated wear­ing my Navy uni­form [. . .] “

“Why don’t you set up some white guy with hid­den cam­eras, put a Ge­orge Bush T-Shirt on him and have him walk down a street in Pak­istan. Or, bet­ter yet, have him walk down a street in Detroit. I’ll just bet you could get a lot of big­oted re­ac­tions [. . .]”

“Wear a pro-life T-shirt to a Women’s Stud­ies class.” Or a “Mar­riage Is Be­tween One Man, One Wo­man” T-shirt to The New York Times news­room.

For many left-wing do-good­ers in the me­dia, the ide­o­log­i­cal end — ex­pos­ing Amer­ica as an ir­re­deemably racist, sex­ist, ho­mo­pho­bic, elit­ist na­tion — jus­ti­fies th­ese man­u­fac­tured means. That de- struc­tive phi­los­o­phy has man­i­fested it­self on count­less col­lege cam­puses, where pro­fes­sors and stu­dents alike have been caught cook­ing up fake hate crimes to show how racist our so­ci­ety is.

On Nov. 5, in a sep­a­rate but rather re­lated in­ci­dent, a stu­dent jour­nal­ist/Col­lege Demo­crat at Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., ad­mit­ted that she had drawn swastikas on her own dorm room door. Sarah Mar­shak signed a con­fes­sion, ac­cord­ing to cam­pus of­fi­cials, af­ter se­cu­rity cam­eras caught her in the act. Her cam­pus pub­li­ca­tion, The Hatchet, said she told the staff that she “only drew the fi­nal three of six swastikas on her door in an at­tempt to high­light what she char­ac­ter­ized as GW’s in­ac­tion.”

It’s a short leap from hoax crimes to hoax news. Ms. Mar­shak could get ex­pelled, but there may yet be an open­ing for her at the stage pro­duc­tion unit of ABC News, NBC News or CBS News.

The de facto di­nosaur net­work news motto, af­ter all, is “All the news that’s fit to stage.”

Michelle Malkin is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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