Searching for honesty in national media

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

If a modern-day Diogenes were to search for honesty in the mainstream media, he would need barrels of lamp oil.

Diogenes the Cynic was an oddball philosopher and critic of Greek society in the 4th and 5th Century BCE. One of his schticks was to carry around a burning lamp during the day in search of “an honest man.”

It’s hard to believe it possible that The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, NBC and ABC could sink any lower in the honesty department, but their actions over the last seven days showed them to be up to the challenge.

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On Tuesday, Sept. 11th, as Hurricane Florence approached North Carolina, the Washington Post’s editorial board wrote: “When it comes to extreme weather, Mr. Trump is complicit.” The editors claimed that Donald Trump “plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks” of storms such as Hurricane Florence. So, is it now the Washington Post’s official position that President Trump, in office only 21 months, has the power to control the world’s weather?

On Thursday, Sept. 13, the New York Times ran a photo of current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley alongside an article about the State Department spending $52,701 on drapes for the Manhattan penthouse apartment leased by the department for use as the Ambassador’s official residence. The Times also printed that the rental price for the extravagant penthouse was $58,000 per month.

The only problem: the penthouse was leased and the drapes purchased by the State Department in 2016, during the Obama administration. Nikki Haley is the first ambassador to reside in the penthouse, which is used for official meetings and receptions, but she had nothing to do with leasing the penthouse or buying the drapes. The Times admitted this in a correction after Haley was smeared.

The major television networks are no better. In the spring of this year, Media Research Center announced the results of a major new study confirming earlier studies: 91 percent of coverage of President Trump by ABC, CBS, and NBC is negative.

ABC, NBC, CBS, The New York Times and The Washington Post are left-leaning allies of the Democrat party and oppose President Trump.

Yet, it is shocking how mean and unscrupulous these democrats and their media operatives are. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been scrutinized extensively by the FBI in six different background checks for federal appointments. Every aspect of his life has been studied. He’s answered more questions and produced more documents than any nominee in history.

But days before the Judiciary Committee vote, previously scheduled for this week, Senator Diane Feinstein stepped forward with a claim by a northern California psychologist, Christine Blasey Ford. Ford alleges that 17-year-old Brett was sexually inappropriate with her when she was 15. She doesn’t allege rape or physical injury, and can’t remember exactly when or where the attack took place. She says Brett’s friend, Mark Judge, knocked Brett off her, allowing her to leave.

Mark Judge said it never happened. Judge Kavanaugh says it never happened. Ford admits that some details surfaced in 2012 during “repressed memory” counseling, a process notorious for creating false memories.

Feinstein knew of Ford’s complaint since July, but during months of rigorous digging into Kavanaugh’s background and television coverage, Feinstein never mentioned it. The timing of the Ford claim mirrors Anita Hill’s last-minute claims in 1991 against Justice Clarence Thomas — at the end of the hearings and before the vote.

Democrats bring a gun to a fight. Establishment Republicans bring a butter knife.

Justice Thomas’s reputation is permanently stained by professor Anita Hill’s allegations, in part because it is impossible to prove a negative. This is especially true for Kavanaugh, 36 years after the fact. Professor Ford’s claim is not credible, but that doesn’t matter to the networks, The Times and The Post. Like Justice Thomas, Ford’s unprovable allegations will stain Kavanaugh for the rest of his life.

A word of advice to a modern-day Diogenes: don’t waste your lamp oil in New York, Washington, D.C., or in major network studios.

Michael Henry writes in Oxford and can be reached at