Posts Tagged ‘media bias’

Cerberus and Heracles. Etching by Antonio Tempesta (Italy, Florence, 1555–1630). The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Graphic courtesy of Wikipedia.

By John Ruberry

A theme coming out of Elon Musk’s release of the Twitter Files is that there is a three headed beast that seeks to be an overlord of us all, who I am dubbing Cerberus. 

Why that name? According to Greek mythology, he was a vicious three-headed dog who guarded the underworld, the realm of the dead. Sometimes he was called the Hound of Hades. “Heads of snakes grew from his back, and he had a serpent’s tail,” Encyclopedia Brittanica tells us about Cerberus. If you are thinking of the hosts of The View now, then we are kindred spirits. 

There is a nexus between the federal government, most ominously the FBI, the mainstream media, and Big Tech. Information is of course power, and the Modern Cerberus used that power to suppress and censor the Hunter Biden laptop story, as well as dissenting opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic. And probably many more topics.

In regard to second one, I regularly see CDC public service TV ads that tells us that COVID is a serious health threat if you suffer from other ailments, not so much everyone else. Earlier this year, self-appointed COVID expert Bill Gates said of the virus, “We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate and that it’s a disease mainly in the elderly, kind of like flu is, although a bit different than that.” Expressing such opinions on Twitter of Facebook would lead those social media giants to suspend or ban users from their platforms in 2020 and 2021. 

The mythological Cerberus would devour and dead souls who tried to escape Hades. Let me rephrase it for our troubled times: the beast permanently banned them with no hope of appeal.

Moving from a prominent top federal government job to the media, and sometimes back again, is an old phenomenon, but it has accelerated lately–cable news is the culprit, and most of the participants in this transfer portal are Democrats. Jen Psaki comes to mind, as she has gone from working in the Barack Obama White House, to being a CNN contributor, then back to government as the White House press secretary under Joe Biden, then back to the media as an MSNBC contributor. 

As for Big Tech, Andy Stone, the communications director at Meta, the parent of Facebook, declared on Twitter in 2020 that FB, in regard to New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, would be “reducing its distribution on our platform” until it was fact-checked. I call that suppression. Prior to joining Meta, Stone was a longtime congressional staffer, working exclusively for Democrats.

Last week Musk fired Twitter’s deputy general counsel, Jim Baker, who may have withheld damaging details involving the FBI and its alleged role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop reports. Baker, when he was an FBI attorney, played a part in the Donald Trump-Russiagate collusion red herring. Before he joined, Twitter, Baker was a CNN analyst. 

Benjamin Weingarten has more on what he calls the “revolving door between Democrat Deep State and Big Tech.”

Stifling the free flow of information is the stuff of totalitarian states. My wife was raised in the Soviet Union, she emigrated to the USA in 1991. An extreme example yes, but I was the one who told her that not only did the United States send men to the moon and safely return them to Earth–but did so six times. 

There was an incarnation of Cerberus in the USSR.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

On Friday night Substack journalist Matt Taibbi released the first installment of the Twitter Files, which outlined the efforts by Twitter, with assists from the Democratic National Committee, to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020. It’s a dynamite story–a political party worked behind the scenes with a Big Tech company to suppress a damaging news story about a presidential candidate, in this case Joe Biden, so he could defeat the incumbent, Donald J. Trump.

That tale of intrigue is something that you would think that you would find only in political thrillers. You know, the stuff of books, movies, or TV series. Except the Twitter scandal really happened. In response, the elitist mainstream media chose one of three tactics, or a combination of them, to confront this scandal: ignore, bury, or insult. In this post I’m going to discuss the first one in depth, and I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first a look back at an incident from 2005, the year I started my own blog, Marathon Pundit. What was then called the blogosphere was a relatively happy place. In comment threads and in behind-the-scenes emails, there was regular communication between conservative and liberal bloggers and journalists, even some camaraderie, at least here in Illinois. Politically our two camps didn’t agree on much–but there was one subject where we were in unison. All of the Illinois bloggers and mainstream media reporters hated the Reverend Fred Phelps and his twisted house of worship, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. 

Some background: Phelps, who died in 2014, would bus in the few dozen members of his church, which then, as it does now, consisted only of the extended Phelps family, and protest at the funerals of soldiers and sailors killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. They held signs that read, among other things, “God Loves Dead Soldiers.” Phelps, who probably was in need of intensive psychiatric care, based his opinion on God and US military deaths on America’s acceptance of the gay lifestyle. 

Back to Illinois: There was a Phelps protest in East Peoria, Illinois in 2005 at the funeral of a US Marine gunnery sergeant, who was killed in Iraq, which the local paper, the Peoria Journal Star reported on, but it left out the Westboro Church protest. And that infuriated Bill Dennis, who wrote the now-inactive Peoria Pundit blog. 

Dennis had this say 17 years ago:

More than once, I’ve read the opinion that the media shouldn’t give Phelps and his people any “publicity.” Whether or not any particular groups gets publicity from news covering isn’t important. The news media needs to cover the news, whether or not it’s news we want to hear. It’s not the media’s job to keep us from having to hear ugly messages. The people who work in the information business need to reject the notion that the public is better off when it is kept in the dark. We wouldn’t tolerate the government doing that to us. Why does the media think it has the right to keep unpleasant news away from us?

It’s the news media’s job to answer questions, not to turn their head and pretend they didn’t hear the question.

The media’s opinion of what information should be provided to its consumers has now become dangerous. Big Tech, meaning of course Twitter, and as well as Google and Facebook, as well as traditional sources such as the legacy newspapers and broadcast networks, actively worked to suppress or ignore the Hunter Biden laptop story, which was revealed in October 2020 by the New York Post, as the presidential election season was underway. Yes, season–voting was already underway just about everywhere. Those media villains–I believe it’s fair to include those three Big Tech behemoths are part of the media–committed election interference. Think of a football game where the beat reporter for an NFL team is standing on the sidelines when the opposing team is about to score a touchdown–who then runs on to the field and tackles the player carrying the ball. Let’s call that wronged player “Trump.”

That’s what happened in 2020. 

What is the slogan of the Washington Post, which has so far has written just one story about the Twitter Files? Oh yeah, “Democracy dies in darkness.” At least the most recent time Clay Travis checked, which was this morning, the New York Times hasn’t reported on Taibbe’s Twitter revelations. Travis Tweeted a few hours ago, “It has now been two days since @twitter & @elonmusk posted actual emails & correspondence of internal documents relating to the Hunter Biden laptop censorship in 2020. The @nytimes has still not covered the story at all.”

In a story published today CBS news barely mentions Taibbi’s scoop–but it attacked Twitter owner Elon Musk. Oh yeah, attacking. A whole bunch of leftist journalists, propagandists really, went into that attack mode I discussed earlier, vilifying Taibbi for performing superb journalism.

And in regard to that Phelps story from ’05, it wasn’t just the Peoria Journal Star committing the sin of omission. You remember I said that back in the day conservative and liberal bloggers and journalists used to interact regularly about stories. I can’t find the email I sent so long ago, but I reached out to a big shot left-wing Chicago newspaper columnist about what the Peoria Pundit and I saw as media malpractice. His polite reply to me was something like this, “But if we report on Phelps and his hateful protests, then we are only doing what he wants–giving him publicity.” 

No, Mr. Newspaper Columnist, it is your job is to report the news. Not hide it, shape it, or twist it.

Democracy dies in darkness. So does the truth.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

On the evening of November 8, a woman from Skokie, Illinois, which is the town just east of where I live, was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Interstate 55 just south of Springfield, Illinois. 

The victim, Lauren Wegner, 35, by all accounts a wonderful woman, was fatally injured when a GMC Sierra, according to police officials driven by Shane Woods, 44 of Auburn, Illinois, drove the wrong way on the interstate.

The Chicago media and other sources in the Prairie State have been repeatedly reporting on this story. And a primary reason for its deep interest in it appears to be because Woods, also known as Shane Castleman, pleaded guilty in September to assaulting a Capitol Police officer and a media photographer during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in January. Woods faces up to eight years in prison for those crimes. Woods of course faces much more serious prison time if he is found guilty of killing Wegner–from 20 to 60 years. He has been charged with first degree murder, eluding a police officer, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, and aggravated fleeing. Woods is being held in the Sangamon County Jail, bail has been denied.

Once again, and probably not for the last time, I feel it is important that I unequivocally denounce the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Those people who stormed the Capitol on that sad day, including Woods, who destroyed property and attacked people deserve to be punished.

But just like MSNBC, the Illinois media can’t let go of obsessing over January 6. In regard to the Wegner death, the worst example of that obsession in regard to the Woods story is a State Journal-Register article from November 16 that was as much about the Capitol riot and Donald Trump as it was about the victim. The piece even mentions two men from Springfield who also allegedly participated in the riot–both of whom have no connection to the accident that killed Wegner. Was that necessary?

Absolutely, the January 6 angle is a valid part of the story of the fatal accident, as it appears Woods may have been trying to commit suicide when he started his SUV on the evening of November 8.

Here are some of the Illinois media headlines of stories that I found about the deadly car accident after a Google News search. Yes, some national outlets picked up the story too.

Also, Shia Kapos’ Politico Illinois Playbook newsletter linked to January 6/Woods stories on November 14, 16, 17, and 23.

Media obsession over January 6? I believe so. But I expect the drumbeat to continue. As for Woods, he is a despicable person.

Memorial contributions in the name of Lauren Wegner can be made to Community Animal Rescue Effort of Skokie (carenorthshore.org).

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

While increasingly irrelevant, the mainstream media is still a force to be reckoned with in regard to shaping opinion. Despite paywalls at many newspaper and magazine sites, revenue is down, and layoffs are up. The paywalls of course limit readership, and usually, considering what is produced by the MSM, that’s a good thing.

You probably that FTX, a Bahamas-based cryptocurrency firm that is incorporated in Antigua and Barbuda, filed for bankruptcy protection a few days after Election Day.

Oh, Election Day, is that a non-sequitur? 

Nope.

The co-founder, and until November 11, the CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, was the second-largest contributor to Democrats in the 2022 midterms. Nearly $40 million in SBF funds went to the Dems, most of that money ended up in three Democrat-PACs. Only George Soros, who made his fortune in currency trading, donated more to the Dems during the midterm cycle.

Bankman-Fried, often referred to as SBF, has not been charged with any crimes. Still, there are comparisons being made between SBF and Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff, as well as the collapse of Enron. Bankman-Fried’s successor at FTC, John Ray III, who did the best he could in cleaning up Enron, had this to say about his new employer, “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.” Larry Summers, alluded to the Enron debacle too. “The smartest guys in the room. Not just financial error but — certainly from the reports — whiffs of fraud,” the former Treasury secretary under Barack Obama said. “Vast explosion of wealth that nobody quite understands where it comes from.”

And I believe there is a bit of the Fyre Fest hoaxster, Billy McFarland, embedded in Bankman-Fried’s mental DNA.

Notwithstanding Summers remark, there have been few if any screams of anger from prominent Democrats about the FTX ruination. I wonder why. Not!

The mainstream media coverage of Bankman-Fried has largely avoided this word–megadonor. Which is of course how the MSM reflexively labels major Republican campaign contributors such as Ken Griffin, Andy Sabin, Ronald Lauder and so many more. When I entered “megadonor” into the Google News site this morning and their names popped up. Not so much with SBF–and most of those mentions came from conservative-leaning sites such as Fox Business and the Washington Free Beacon. NBC News managed to use the word “megadonor” in an article about SBF–but take a look at the mournful headline that accompanied that story: Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s downfall could deprive Democrats of key donor.

We used to see similar media malpractice–until bloggers and conservative journalists repeatedly called the MSM out on it–with the phrase “mass shooting” only being used when the evil perpetrator was a white male. 

You know who else is almost never called a megadonor by the media? 

George Soros. 

Media bias is like the Hydra, a beast from Greek mythology. There are so many heads that need to be sliced off. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Update: Welcome HOTAIR Headline readers John is one of our original magnificent seven writers. He writes here every Sunday.