The headlines in these media outlets of record, the most respected on the planet, reverberate in massive, anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. The Arab streets quickly fill with thousands of agitated protestors. Similar protests roil hundreds of Western cities. Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s President al-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas abruptly cancel a scheduled meeting in Amman with President Biden.
The problem is that these blaring, large-type headlines and feverish broadcasts weren’t true. All of the evidence to date, confirmed by multiple intelligence agencies, indicates that the hospital was hit by an errant rocket fired at Israel by another Gaza terrorist group, Islamic Jihad. Note that one-third of all Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets aimed at Israel misfire, often landing in Gaza, killing and maiming local civilians.
The damage done by this monumentally irresponsible journalistic jump to a false conclusion is massive. It cannot be undone by one of the usual corrections that newspapers print in small type and position on an inside page. It is not too far-fetched to say that people will die as a consequence of this rush to judgment. The mainstream media’s careless blunder has fueled both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism around the world.
While the consequences of this journalistic malpractice are devastating, this is hardly the first time the mainstream media has fallen down on the job and failed to live up to the standards and integrity we expect from the Fourth Estate. The way in which newspapers, cable and broadcast media have covered Donald Trump for five decades is the prime example of what is wrong with mainstream journalism.
Aside: I do not include Fox News in my definition of mainstream media. From its beginnings more than 30 years ago, it has never risen above its sole raison d’etre: serving as the chief propaganda and agitprop mouthpiece of the Republican Party.
Mainstream outlets twist themselves into knots when reporting on Trump’s uncountable misdeeds. They have still not learned the lessons of 2016, when they were complicit with mega-thug, Vladimir Putin, and disgraced former FBI Director, James Comey, in paving the way for Trump to win the presidency. The boys and girls who earn the big bucks working for the elite media outlets never bothered to investigate Trump’s four-decade background of lies and grifts. Instead, they bought into the fiction that he was a brilliant businessman and a huge success. The truth was easy to unearth, namely that he started out with more than $400 million in inherited wealth, presided over numerous business failures, illegally inflated the value of his holdings, stiffed his vendors and contractors, ran a scam “university,” and played a fictitious businessman on television that had no link to his reality. Instead, they accepted at face value the lie that Trump was a major business impresario. Had they done their jobs as they should have, we might be living in a very different and much better world today.
It defies logic and credulity that, despite the lessons they should have learned from their 2016 collapse, they persist in covering Trump today as if this twice-impeached, four-times indicted liar and thief, whose four years as president were marked by calamity upon calamity and incompetence beyond belief, is a normal candidate. He is anything but, and that should be noted in every article, town hall, etc. that is printed or broadcast. When he lies, an all-caps chyron should immediately appear on screen pointing that out.
It may be too late to expect the mainstream media to do its job. The irony is that if they persist in their blind adherence to fantasy coverage of Trump, the Israel-Hamas war, and the many other stories that they don’t dig into, they may be the first to go when Trump is elected and blows up what remains of American democracy.
October 27, 2023