Rarely does one paragraph so perfectly crystallize so much of what is wrong with the media. But David von Drehle, you achieve just that when you write in Time magazine in your cover story about Glenn Beck and the 9/12 rally in D.C.:
“If you get your information from liberal sources, the crowd numbered about 70,000, many of them greedy racists. If you get your information from conservative sources, the crowd was hundreds of thousands strong, perhaps as many as a million, and the tenor was peaceful and patriotic. Either way, you may not be inclined to believe what we say about numbers, according to a recent poll that found record-low levels of public trust of the mainstream media.”
Ok, let’s see what’s wrong here…
-Factual errors? Check. The conservative sources didn’t say hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as a million. Here is Michelle Malkin saying that ABC news was reporting 2 million. She later admitted that ABC news never said that. Glenn Beck – you know, that guy the article is about – said there were 1.7 million people present.
-Straw-man argument? Sure, why not. The “racism” charge is obviously out there, but I don’t know where the “greedy” part comes from. Who is calling them greedy? I don’t know, and Drehle won’t say. But straw man arguments are fun, so let’s just slip it in there.
-He-said-she-said bullshit? Obviously. Rarely does a writer make it so explicit.
-Refusal to discuss which statement is true? Of course, and this is the most important part. Pointing out the crowd size would be biased, because it would show that one side was wrong. And the point of our stenographer media isn’t to point out the truth, because that would be unfair to one of the two parties. Like Stephen Colbert once said, reality has a well-known liberal bias. So instead they just say what one side said, and then another. Of course, the 9/12 rally actually did happen. Some number of people actually did show up. According to the LA Times, “a Boston University research professor and expert on crowd estimation said his informal research from press coverage indicated 75,000 as the peak number. Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire Department, said he made an unofficial estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 at the beginning of the event.” There are your “liberal” sources: experts on crowd estimates and Fire Department officials.
So the DC Fire Department says one number, which is the “liberal” one, and the conservative sources say another number (which Drehle underestimates), and Drehle just leaves it up in the air. But the cherry on top is the final sentence. We might not believe where Drehle weighs in on the matter, he says, because trust in the mainstream media is at record-low levels. Hmm, I wonder why.
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