The Mystery of the Flying Chair: A Bad Day For Journalism
It is easier to steal a canoe than a pack of gum and so it was in Nevada this week when the Nevada Democratic Party railroaded the Bernie Sander’s campaign by ignoring a floor debate and unilaterally declaring a vote and more delegates to Hillary Clinton.
The disputed result produced a vocal display on the convention floor, catcalls at the Nevada Democratic chairwoman and accusations that a few Sanders’ delegates threw chairs at the podium. Yet despite the presence of police and video camera, there is no video of a chair being tossed into the air.
Yet despite the basic lack of evidence, hysterical, pro-Clinton TV commentators and reporters on CNN never challenged this lack of facts about the alleged flying chair. They then continued to invent their own stories about Sanders supporters who trafficked in “conspiracy theories” about the Clinton campaign working against them and the “discontents” who comprise the Vermont Senator’s presidential bid.
As seen on the Young Turks YouTube TV show, CNN and its prejudiced commentators were falling all over themselves denouncing the “violence” in Nevada, yet without looking at the video footage of what transpired. Similarly, MSNCB and its top openly pro-Clinton political reporters, Chris Matthews (whose wife lost her bid for Congress in Virginia as a Democrat and Clinton supporter) and Andrea Mitchell (the wife of Alan Greenspan), also picked up the same false story to denounce Sanders.
Now, in a more ethical journalism industry, the management of MSNBC should have barred Mathews and Mitchell from covering the Sanders campaign. But in the new corporate media world, they are paying these people too much to have them recuse themselves from their obvious prejudicial reporting. This represents a new low in national TV political reporting.
It is also worth noting that the poor reporting of the Nevada Democratic convention happened at about the same time that an unnamed individual accused Facebook of censoring trending comments posted by political conservatives.
As expected, and based on some of the same low journalism standards evident in the Nevada convention incident, the wider media elevated this single anonymous accusation into a firestorm. This prompted Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg to hold a meeting with conservatives to explain the Facebook algorithms and other technical to what we would expect would be a very hostile skeptical audience.
But none other than conservative paragon Glenn Beck came away from the meeting saying “I was
convinced that Facebook is behaving appropriately and trying to do the right thing. They were humble, open, and listened intently to everyone in the room.” Beck also noted that the allegations came from one person and were proven to be unsubstantiated by Facebook.
The bottom line in this particular case is that the controversial Beck has more good journalism sense than the majority of working editors, producers, publishers and reporters today.
Reporting on the Political Economy
Now, what does the Nevada state Democratic convention have to do with this personal finance web site?
First, this site has routinely discussed prejudiced, pro-corporate financial journalism. Second, this election has raised national awareness about income disparities, corporate corruption, financial industry irregularities against their own customers, the role of money in politics, and legalized tax evasion, among other political-economic issues. Denigrating the Sanders campaign, which elevated these financial issues to national attention, is a disgrace to 2016 politics. It also plays right into the hands of politicians who prefer to let corporations run the nation rather than the electorate.
All of this is only aggravated by shoddy broadcast journalism that ignores the facts, despite millions of dollars in video hardware and staff. And with all of this, the faux-authoritative political 24-hour TV media cannot find any videos of the flying chair. For anyone who takes journalism seriously, this is a very sad, yet revealing, episode.
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