Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hey NYDN: Biased Liars Make Lousy "Journalists"

Photo by:  NY Daily News (before he started writing stories, and this fraud was the story)
As a member of the #JustABlogger community, the expectations I have for traditional media sources is already at a low bar. But this doesn't even come close. 

It seems that the NY Daily News, a paper that is not exactly known for its political bent (all that means is that it  has tried to appear to be neutral) has hired "fake black man" Shaun King, an activist in the so-called Black Lives Matter movement who was recently "outed" as white by his family, according to Breitbart. King’s race was put at issue after Breitbart News published King's birth certificate, which listed his white parents. King had claimed in the past that his father is black. The Daily Caller later reported that a claim made by King that he was the victim of a hate crime attack  was unsubstantiated by any official reports. 

King's hiring comes on the heels of a veritable bloodletting of journalists and columnists at NYDN, including top notch political reporters like Albany columnist and editorial board member Bill Hammond, chief political reporter and blogger Celeste Katz.  

Yet another sign that the print newspaper model remains in free fall, and a sign that journalism is a dying art.  When halfway-reliable publications turn to hacks and rabble-rousers for content, public discourse as a whole suffers.  This is how echo chambers develop and how partisan divides widen. 

But let's face it - what I like to call "advocacy entertainment" is BIG money nowadays. Outlets like those I cited, Breitbart and The Daily Caller, certainly attract wide audiences - millions of pageviews per month to be sure - that advertisers love to throw money towards.  And a veritable bumper crop of pundits and prognosticators have grown with the advent of the 24-hour news cycle and the increasing number of news / feature outlets that need to fill airtime. 

And it's not like I have a problem with "advocacy entertainment"in the least, after all, isn't that what we here at BEL do?  

But, unlike the NYDN, I don't kid myself, or our audience. We take positions, and we let you know up front. If you're reading this, you know what you're in for.  I only have a problem when it masquerades under the guise of an up-until-now-credible masthead built on the credibility of those who are now seeking employment.

So out with the experienced and competent, in with a known, biased liar.   And the effects are already on display. 


If you're thinking about being a journalist, it don't matter if you're black or white - just if you're biased or unbiased.

Take this for example:  Kings writes about the "senseless" shooting of a black teenager -  - and a football "star" who, notably, graduated high school - Patterson Brown, Jr. in Virginia by a plainclothes police officer.  The scant account is dubious at best, and at worst, intentionally omits material facts:
Brown, a recent graduate of James River High School, reportedly commandeered the officer’s vehicle and drove it through the Better Vision car wash about 9:40 a.m. after he and friends pulled up in a car behind the man. (Emphasis added). 
***
The unprovoked action prompted the officer to confront Brown, who witnesses said remained in the vehicle after he was asked to leave.


"Reportedly commandeered"?!?

How about stole a vehicle! How about committed a crime! And then, when told - no, ordered -  to get out of the stolen car, refused to do so.

Before we continue, let's recognize this:  this isn't an opinion-editorial piece.  This isn't a "Letter to the Editor".  This is being offered as "news" - a factual accounting of an event of note.

With that in mind - ask yourself: where is the most material fact of this story? How and why did the promising young Mr. Brown get shot by this officer?

Mr. King is silent on the matter. A glaring omission.  But you'll see why it's missing in a minute.

Now let's turn to a local newspaper for some real reporting.
A witness, who talked at the scene of the shooting but did not want his name used, said a car with at least three people pulled up in line behind the officer’s car and that one person, a man who appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s, got out and jumped into the officer’s car and began driving it into the building. 
A woman in the other car told the man to get out, the witness said. At that point, the officer noticed someone in his car, approached the vehicle and repeatedly told the man to get out. He identified himself as a police officer and brandished his weapon, the witness said, but the man still did not get out of the car.
***
At one point, the officer asked a clerk at the gas station to call police, the witness said, but between that call and the arrival of officers, the man in the officer’s car moved suddenly as if reaching for a weapon, and the officer fired a shot.  (Emphasis added)

Kind of an important detail, isn't it?   Mr. King linked the above-referenced story, but chose to leave that little detail out.

Why?  Because while it was news, the news didn't fit his narrative, which was:
Brown is the 29th unarmed African-American to be fatally shot by police in 2015, according to the Washington Post.
Advocates-in-journalist clothes passing off advocacy as news does nothing but mislead, misinform and frustrate readers who simply want to know what is happening in the world around them.

Count the readers of the NY Daily News as just another victim of profits over integrity. And count me out of reading the NY Daily News.





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