Derek Hunter, No profession loves themselves like journalists love themselves. After all, they “write the first draft of history.” However, as with any writing, history gets its say as well, and story after story in that “first draft of history” is proving to be untrue. It’s enough to make you wonder if any story from the Presidency of Donald Trump will stand up to even basic scrutiny in a year?
People get things wrong – we’re people, after all, and wildly imperfect. But journalists have gotten so much wrong over the last 4 years it makes you wonder if they got anything right. You name the “scandal” some left-wing outlet reported between 2016 and today about the former President and you will see a story that not only strains credulity, but one that doesn’t stand up to basic fact-checking.
Here are a few examples of “bombshell” stories that had “the walls closing in” on Donald Trump that have completely collapsed the second anyone bothered to be the most basic of journalism on them:
Trump called dead Allied soldiers “losers.”
Russia “hacked” the 2016 election.
Trump ordered Georgia officials to “find votes.”
Hydroxychloroquine has no value and is basically poison that will kill people with COVID.
Trump ignored Russia putting bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan.
COVID was not from a lab in Wuhan.
Trump ordered the teargassing of “peaceful protesters” so he could have a photo-op.
Trump called neo-Nazis and white supremacists “very fine people.”
Donald Trump Jr. got early access to Wikileaks emails.
Russian collusion, etc., etc.
You name the story and the odds that it held up to simple research and reporting is about zero. It makes you wonder why the most basic of reporting wasn’t done before they hit the “publish” button.
The idea that President Trump or one of his “cronies” ordered police to violently attack and gas protesters in Lafayette Square outside the White House so he could have his picture taken holding a bible in front of St. John’s Church was gospel fact with the media for a year. You name the liberal outlet and they had a story declaring it to be so. Now we know the truth.
The Inspector General of the Interior Department, after a thorough investigation, discovered that the United States Park Police ordered the clearing of the park to erect barricades in an attempt to prevent more violence from the mob, who’d spent the previous days attempting to rip down statues and had set fire to the church. The White House had nothing to do with that decision, taking advantage of it for the defiant picture only after it had learned the area was being secured.
Not one single reporter bothered to investigate the allegation, it just had to be true and so it was declared such. Not just on that day, but in the 365 days that followed. The narrative was fact until someone who isn’t a journalist bothered to investigate the facts, then the story fell apart.
It tells you something important about journalism that none of its practitioners felt the need to engage in it for a year on this story. The New York Times and Washington Post created “reconstructions” of the events in its aftermath, which gave the impression journalism had taken place, but it hadn’t. Narrative, established under the guise of “Orange Man Bad,” was simply repeated as truth because the people typing it up wanted it to be true.
That was the media business model of the Trump years – report first, do journalism later, if ever.
There was no journalism in the Lafayette Square story. The extent to which any questions were asked of officials was minimal and every denial, which turned out to be true, was dismissed out of hand.
Under normal circumstances, or any semblance of journalistic integrity and ethics, reporters who’d gotten the story so wrong would either be fired or suspended for failure to do their jobs. Trump Derangement Syndrome has so rotted that profession that original (and wrong) stories aren’t even issued corrections, not that it would do any good a year later.
Every anonymously sourced story, every “scandal,” deserves relentless scrutiny in general. But when so many, if not all of them related to the Trump Presidency, not only haven’t been confirmed by anyone on the record or by documentation, it makes you wonder if anything reported in the last 4 years was true. The Washington Post famously kept a running total of “Trump lies” on their website. As it turns out, their website, and the websites of their fellow “news” outlets were the biggest lies of them all.