If you depend on imagination far more than fact, are you really a journalist?
For example, today CNN and their 6,482 guests are all hyperventilating over “the possibility that Cohen might flip.” They’re spending hours on this. Arguably the entire day. And they have been since last week.
A lot goes in to making this the biggest story of the hour.
First you have to use your imagination to assume before anything else that both Cohen and President Trump are guilty. . .of something. There’s no oxygen for the possibility that either are innocent. . .of anything. The starting position is that both are guilty. And CNN helps viewers keep up by not disclosing this assumption. They simply assert it as implicit, established fact. They’re both guilty. But it’s not a fact. It’s an assumption, and a terrifically unjust one at that.
Now that you hopefully assume both Cohen and Trump are guilty, CNN hosts want you to assume their reporting is accurate. There’s no oxygen for the possibility that Cohen is not “considering flipping.” There’s no possibility that political operatives are leaking bad information to unnamed sources in an effort to help one side or hurt the other. Cohen is 100% “considering flipping.” In fact it’s the only thing he’s thinking about. Because we already know he’s guilty of something, and of course he doesn’t want to do hard time.
Now that you assume Cohen and Trump are guilty of something and that Cohen is about to admit it, CNN hosts want you to assume that it means real trouble for President Trump…
But how much trouble? Could it mean jail time, or just impeachment? And how will Democrats use it to their advantage? Who are these crazies who dispute our impeccable reporting? Why are Trump supporters such bitter clingers despite all this evidence? Why do they hate the First Amendment? Is this driving President Trump more insane than he already clearly is? Is he being more racist than usual, in order to rev up his also racist base? Does he actually hate Cohen? Does Cohen hate him? How much do they hate each other? Is there anyone who once met one of them 15 years ago and can subsequently help us explore both Trump and Cohen’s inner-most psychology in light of this bombshell news? Where is Melania? How can honest people survive in this type of environment? What do we tell the children? What happens if President Trump isn’t stopped? What are the best options for stopping him?
That’s how CNN spends an hour. They take a single verified detail and then apply dozens of assumptions to manufacture a series of fake news stories that all fuel their anti-Trump narrative.
I’ll show you how easy it is using the same verified detail for the “Cohen might flip!” story…
Breaking this hour: Sources say Michael Cohen, the president’s long-time legal confidante, might begin cooperating with investigators. This is yet more vindication for President Trump as Cohen’s dealings with the Southern District appear to be staying put and thus out of Mueller’s jurisdiction. Our experts will weigh in on why that matters and is a clear victory for Team Trump. It also could signal Cohen’s innocence of any serious wrongdoings, or any wrongdoing at all. There are no indications so far that Cohen is guilty of anything, so it’s very possible that these are the final steps before his exoneration. How will this hurt the Democrats who have invested so much of our nation’s time, energy and resources in what increasingly appears to be a political stunt on their part to obstruct the duly elected POTUS? We have the best legal minds and experts here all hour to discuss these stories and more.
The single, verifiable detail is that “sources say Michael Cohen might begin cooperating with investigators.” And the verifiable part isn’t even that Cohen will cooperate, it’s that sources say he might. The rest, everything after it, is partisan spin to support a narrative. It’s all based on assumption. In a courtroom one might say they’re using hearsay to speculate their way to conjecture, all in an effort to lead the viewer.
What they’re not doing is presenting facts in an unbiased way so that viewers can make up their own minds. And to be fair, President Trump does pretty much the same thing. But President Trump, like every President who came before him, is a politician. And politicians cherry-pick verifiable details to spin narratives and push their agendas. You could argue pretty easily that doing so is their entire job.
CNN and other mainstream media are supposed to be impartial news organizations. They’re not supposed to cherry-pick verifiable details and spin narratives to push their agendas. But that’s what they do, and under President Trump they are actually rewarded for it by others in the media.
The institutional left has bastardized science with laughable claims like climate change is not infinitely ubiquitous and single-parent homes don’t create disparity, and made a joke of “fact checking” with the exaltation of clearly partisan outfits like FactCheck.org and Politifact. (Examples of their partisanship here and here.) As a result, we’re living at a time when once reliable, structural pillars like “science” and “fact” have lost virtually all of their mass.
And now the media as an institution, exemplified by offenders like CNN, has become the same bastardized laughingstock. And despite their incessant and unnecessary insistence that “Facts Matter!’, it turns out that facts really don’t matter at all. In 2018, imagination and uncritical partisanship are all the media needs.
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