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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Journalists have often tended to be on the Left – some of the most feared murderers of the French Revolution were hacks – but there has definitely been an acceleration. In the 1960s the trend was about 2 to 1, but by the 2000s as little as 7% identified as conservative, compared to 33% of the US public, a figure repeated in a report a decade later.

Rather unsurprisingly, polls show American trust in the media declining, a trend that accelerated in 2008 when swathes of Americans came to believe journalists were conspiring to get Obama elected. I don’t think Donald Trump’s open hostility to journalists did him any harm, nor do I think it will harm the prospects of any future populist.

Ed West

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Quote is true. A current example:

    https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/when-the-narrative-replaces-the-news-9ea

    We have yet to find any credible evidence of anti-Asian hatred or bigotry in this man’s history. Maybe we will. We can’t rule it out. But we do know that his roommates say they once asked him if he picked the spas for sex because the women were Asian. And they say he denied it, saying he thought those spas were just the safest way to have quick sex. That needs to be checked out more. But the only piece of evidence about possible anti-Asian bias points away, not toward it.

    And yet. Well, you know what’s coming. Accompanying one original piece on the known facts, the NYT ran nine — nine! — separate stories about the incident as part of the narrative that this was an anti-Asian hate crime, fueled by white supremacy and/or misogyny. Not to be outdone, the WaPo ran sixteen separate stories on the incident as an anti-Asian white supremacist hate crime. Sixteen! One story for the facts; sixteen stories on how critical race theory would interpret the event regardless of the facts. For good measure, one of their columnists denounced reporting of law enforcement’s version of events in the newspaper, because it distracted attention from the “real” motives. Today, the NYT ran yet another full-on critical theory piece disguised as news on how these murders are proof of structural racism and sexism — because some activists say they are.

    The Fake News Media does this INTENTIONALLY. Not once in a while but every single day. On small things and big things. Good things and bad things. Constantly pushing their fake bullshit narratives. Lies of omission, mischaracterization, falsehoods, misquotes, taking things out of context, etc etc etc. It never ends. They have no remorse, no regret, and they make no apologies. It’s not only to drive greater profit, there is also an ideological motivation, a virtue signaling motivation, a Woke motivation. Toxic.

  • Lee Moore

    Whatever has happened to the political preference of journalists, the editorial “stance” of British newspapers has definitely shifted left in the last 50 years. The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Sun all used to be clearly on the right, though with different admixtures of long words, pictures of Royals and boobies. On the left there was just the Graun and the Mirror. Ol’ Rupe used to flip the Sun’s election vote recommendation from time to time but that didn’t affect the day to day stance. The pink ‘un was mostly conservative too, though they had opinion slots for lefties.

    Now even the Daily Mail isn’t “on the right” as such – you can read a lot of right wing oriented stories there, which are invisible elsewhere, but you can also read a lot of other stories from left and centre. They will steal stories for their online version from anywhere they can get ’em. The Mail is roughly the most middle of the road, open to all viewpoints outlet available, which is an amazing thing. Meanwhile The Times, Telegraph, Express and especially FT can hardly be called right wing. They’re mostly just mouthpieces for the Establishment – which is of course mostly leftie. In the FT’s case, of course, the Brussels Establishment.

  • Pat

    The media have a piece of string with which to pull public opinion in its desired direction. But if it pulls too hard, or jerks, the string breaks.

  • Exasperated

    Off with Jay Baker’s head. If this botched reporting isn’t typical of American media, I don’t know what is:

    A moment from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office press conference on Wednesday quickly went viral: Jay Baker, a spokesperson for the police department handling the investigation into the horrific Atlanta spa murders, said that suspect Robert Aaron Long was having a bad day.

    “He was pretty much fed up, kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” said Baker. The comment struck many people as overly sympathetic toward Long, as if Baker was making excuses for someone who stands accused of killing six Asian-American women in cold blood. A 20-second video clip of Baker’s statement was shared on Twitter by Vox journalist Aaron Rupar and swiftly went viral, earning widespread condemnation. Many saw it as evidence that cops are desperate to discount the culpability of white male criminals. For instance, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor and inventor of the term “intersectionality,” described Baker’s comments as “bone-chilling,” and castigated him for refusing to acknowledge “the misogynistic dimensions of anti-Asian racism.”

    A police officer excusing Long’s actions as merely the result of him having a “bad day” would indeed be contemptible. But that’s not what Baker did. In fact, many of the people so infuriated about the quote were misled by Rupar’s edit of the video.

    The full video (the relevant section starts at about 13:50) makes clear that Baker was not providing his own commentary, but rather summarizing what Long had told the investigators. The “bad day” line was proceeded by a clarification that this was Long’s own explanation, as related to the police. Baker did not endorse it.

    https://reason.com/2021/03/19/aaron-robert-long-spa-killer-atlanta-jay-baker-cop-bad-day/

  • Exasperated

    Does the Jay Baker story remind you of anything? If this kind of trick was rare, it could be chalked up to an honest mistake. But, consider the Covington kids. That shit show targeted innocent children. Most of the media figures, who vilified those high school kids, have withdrawn their remarks and apologized, but there are still hold outs who (Sen Warren, Rep Haaland) are hiding behind the shield of congressional privilege to lie and defame. This case is pending before the Supreme Court.
    Then there is the recent claim that Trump attempted to intimidate the Georgia Secretary of States’ Office and that he was going to be subject to criminal prosecution for his alleged threats. The quotes attributed to him were fabricated, they were bogus.
    Sharyl Attkisson, journalist, has documented some of the more egregious examples of lies about Trump.

  • Exasperated

    As an American, when an inflammatory story hits the media, I, like most people I know, don’t take it seriously, anticipating that some of the truth will trickle out in the weeks and sometimes months to follow. I give you the George Floyd story. Most people have heard the inculpatory evidence but not the exculpatory.

  • John Lewis

    On the recurring subject of GF I deplore the fact that while watching Sky Sports I am regularly subjected to a “banner” occupying 1/3 of the screen inviting me to watch 8 minutes and 40 seconds of the killing of George Floyd “available on demand”.

    What with their neverending in-screen references to black history month, blm, rainbow laces etc plus the whining of my former hero Mikey Holding the chances of my subscription being renewed are minimal.

  • Paul Marks

    The Schools of Journalism were created to push “Social Reform” – i.e. more government spending and regulations. The guff about “objective” and “unbiased” is in basic contradiction to their objective.

    If you recruit people from places that have the objective of pushing Collectivism, it is not a surprise that most of them turn out to be Collectivists – and YES most of the Schools of Journalism have got much worse over time.

    But it is not just the Schools of Journalism – it is most of the education system, both schools and universities, and the people they produce dominate more Corporations (not just media ones) now. Collectivist doctrines (loosely called being “Woke”) dominate the board room – not just the class room.

    It may well be that our society, Western society, has passed the point of no return.

    General Attius is dead “with your left hand you have cut off your right” as a brave man said of the betrayal and murder of Attius by the Emperor Valentinian III – the Goths sacked the City years ago, and soon it will be the turn of the Vandals.

    There will be no Western Army, worthy of the name, again – these days they are taught “Critical Race Theory” and “Trans Rights” – the enemies of the dying West laugh, and their laughter is like daggers.

  • Lee Moores’ point about how the UK papers have shifted is something I’ve long wondered about, I suspect its partly due to a generational turnover of staff (young people entering the profession having been indoctrinated by the left at uni), but I do wonder how they end up working for ‘right wing’ papers- do the papers know about their political views when they apply for jobs? If so why do they hire them? Or do they lie about their views to get their foot in the door?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Actually, I think it is about the demands of the job. All media are trying to grab our attention as quickly as possible. That requires sensation. So people attracted to media jobs are likely to go for the razzle-dazzle approach. The thoughtful approach would not gain new readers or viewers, just as not promising to fix a problem wouldn’t win you votes in elections.

  • Exasperated

    Nicholas: Embrace the power of “and”. You are not wrong; there does appear to be a competition that continuously drives the narrative to more bizarre and grotesque claims, it’s like a never ending cycle that feeds upon itself. This is the one area where the sofa media actually exhibit some creativity; out smearing, out sneering, out blaming, out hallucinating, out fabricating…….. for first place in the resentment sweepstakes.
    I sometimes wonder if this is the reason that the middle ground, the centrist solutions, have been cut out of public discourse.
    .

  • Lee Moore

    I am sure Andy ex Taiwan is right about generational turnover. But I suspect another reason is that dead tree journalists do much less news gathering than in t’olden days. They haven’t the budget for it. Therefore all they can do is stenography – copying stories from the BBC, NYT, Associated Press, Reuters etc, and of course government press releases. And those stories will (a) be framed from a lefty viewpoint and (b) will be stories the lefty agencies want to push (ie stories whose content might lead to right wing inferences will simply not be covered.)

    The Mail operates on this stenography basis, but somehow it manages to find right wing stories as well as left wing ones, whch implies that Mail stenographers are trawling a wider pool of original sources. Perhaps such sources are considered too grubby by the Torygraph etc. Maybe the Mail sometimes even glances at Samizdata !

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