By Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
Even if Donald Trump had lost the 2016 election, instead of won it in a surprise, the media’s coverage of his campaign and supporters would have been a horrific failure. They presented that race as unwinnable for Trump and as if his support was inexplicable.
Their response to their 2016 failures has been not to improve their journalism in any way, shape, or form, but to decide that they didn’t do enough to bias that election in their preferred direction. Their nearly four-year temper tantrum has resulted in far worse 2020 campaign coverage than even the depths of their 2016 coverage. It’s as if they looked to the Candy Crowley debate in 2012, when she went out of her way to back Barack Obama when he said something false, and viewed it as a model, not an embarrassment.
Once again, regardless of the outcome next week, Big Media is actively at war with half of the American people and are desperately working to rig an election against them. Here are just five ways they’re doing that.
1. Refusing to Do Journalism on Joe Biden
On October 14, the New York Post published a story about how Hunter Biden had introduced his father to a top Ukrainian businessman. This contradicted Joe Biden’s oft-repeated claim to have had no knowledge whatsoever about his son’s overseas business affairs.
Hunter Biden was paid handsomely by Burisma, a Ukrainian energy concern, while his father was vice president. Hunter had no business acumen or relevant experience in the energy sector, but was paid millions of dollars by Burisma at the time his father was in charge of U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
The story was sourced to a laptop computer allegedly left by Hunter at a Wilmington computer repair store. Big Tech moved immediately to squash the blockbuster story on both Twitter and Facebook. Twitter has banned the New York Post from tweeting and Facebook publicly announced they were suppressing the story, pending journalistic fact checks.
It’s been more than two weeks since Facebook announced it was suppressing the story pending fact checks. It has not shared who it tasked with the fact checks, and the only journalistic checks on the information have confirmed the story. One of the recipients of an email found on the laptop confirmed it was real, on the record. Government officials said it was not Russian disinformation. No information has come to light to suggest it was Russian disinformation. And last night, the key email in question was verified as legitimate by a cyber expert who was given access to the metadata for the email.
Other media outlets participated in the coordinated effort to squash the story, either by ignoring it completely or by claiming it wasn’t a big deal. Few to no media outlets defended the New York Post.
Partly as a result of the New York Post’s story and partly as a result of a Senate report showcasing Hunter Biden’s questionable overseas financial dealings, a former business associate of Hunter Biden’s named Tony Bobulinski came forward with more details about the Biden family’s problematic overseas relationships.
Armed with reams of documents, texts, emails, messages, and voicemails, Bobulinski said that Joe Biden had lied when he claimed he had no knowledge of Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings. Bobulinski recounted two in-person meetings with Joe Biden. Bobulinski, a retired Navy veteran, would go on to describe how Biden family members and associates plotted to keep Joe’s involvement off the books, and provide paperwork, texts, emails, documents, and audio files to substantiate his claims.
Last night, Sinclair’s James Rosen reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into Hunter Biden and his associates last year to investigate allegations of money laundering. The investigation is ongoing, Rosen reported. Bobulinski was interviewed as a “material witness” to the investigation in recent days.
The media blackout of any story that might harm their preferred candidate has extended even to this explosive news. Keep in mind, President Trump was impeached for expressing concern about Hunter Biden’s possible corruption in Ukraine at the same time the FBI was investigating Hunter Biden for money laundering.
There is no question that this story is journalistically significant, and dramatically more substantiated than the Trump-Russia collusion hoax that the media promulgated for years. In that story, the media ran wild with ridiculous and preposterous allegations with no evidence. Here, a family firm CEO with documentation to support his claims has been viewed by a corrupt media as not worthy of spending time on. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel summarized how bad the propaganda situation is with major media:
2. Slavish Devotion to Obviously Wrong Polling
Another way corporate media have been rigging the election has been through their polling narratives. For months, the media have been relentlessly pushing a narrative that Trump can not win the 2020 election. They almost seem to be in a contest to see who can make the most outrageous claim about a given state.
In 2016, the Real Clear Politics average of polls of Wisconsin showed that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump by 6.5 points. In fact, she lost that state to Trump, narrowly. You would think that this result, and the result in general, might produce some humility on the part of media pollsters.
In its final 2016 poll, Marquette reported that Clinton would win by six points. This week, that same pollster reported Biden would win by five points. By comparison, the Washington Post and ABC News dropped a poll claiming that Biden was going to win by 17 points. Even their previous poll gave Biden “only” a six-point lead. Marquette’s previous poll advantage was the same as their more recent advantage.
Guess which poll got massive media coverage.
One shouldn’t always assume polls are wrong, but if anyone learned anything from 2016 and 2018, it’s that polls are not always right. In 2018, for example, Fox News’ closing poll in the Indiana Senate race placed Democrat Joe Donnelly safely ahead by a 7-point margin. He lost to Republican Mike Braun by 6 points, 13 points off from what the final poll indicated. That poll result, which turned out to be very false, contributed to a narrative that the night would be a bloodbath for Republicans. While Republicans lost the House, they actually gained Senate seats, such as in Indiana.
Pundits talk as if polls are always right, but if they were, pundits wouldn’t have jobs. Everyone can read a poll and see what it says. The entire point of punditry should be to look at the entire universe of information, of which polls are a part, and try to see what world looks like with mosaic of information. Too many beltway folks go out of their way to ignore everything that’s not a poll.
That is a particular problem because some polls have at times seemed to become a vehicle to express deep-seated media bias in favor of particular candidates — in the hopes that the polls might move public opinion rather than reflect it.
3. Hiding Trump’s Accomplishments and Enthusiasm
Maybe ABC and the Post are correct and Trump is going to lose Wisconsin by 17 points and Biden will lead the most epic landslide in history. It’s certainly a possibility. But while the media are obsessing over horse-race polls, they are downplaying both Trump’s record of accomplishment and the enthusiasm he has from voters.
Trump’s biggest success in his first term has been his foreign policy agenda. While the elites predicted literal nuclear annihilation if he were elected, his presidency has been one of peace agreements and avoiding war when other presidents would have invaded.
He has worked against powerful military-industrial interests to end the Afghanistan War. He successfully eroded ISIS’s territorial gains. He rewrote trade deals. Peace agreements have sprung up in the Middle East between Israel and various Arab nations.
Trump has tried to get countries to be more invested in their own defense, rather than relying mostly on U.S. power. That has led to these peace agreements and arms deals in the Middle East but also an increase in defense spending from North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries. Trump has also massively reoriented the country’s posture toward China as part of an effort to deal with a growing threat there.
The media responded to these successes by hiding them, constantly. In the two debates between Trump and Biden, virtually no foreign policy questions were asked.
Much of Trump’s presidency was marked by significant growth of the economy. Even after the global pandemic, which has wreaked havoc throughout the world, yesterday’s explosive gross domestic product (GDP) numbers came in greater than expected. The media responded by burying the story as much as possible, worried it would help Trump.
Third-quarter GDP was up 33.1 percent, nearly double the previous growth record set in the first quarter of 1950. The Washington Post treated it like this almost unbelievable record was bad news, and didn’t use the annualized rate of 33.1 percent but the seemingly less impressive smaller number for the quarter. “U.S. economy grew by a record 7.4 percent from July to September, but the data is complicated,” was their headline. When second-quarter GDP fell by an annualized rate of 31.7 percent, the headline said that, instead of the lower 9 percent figure for the quarter. CNN and MSNBC simply blocked the historic news from airing on their prime time shows.
Republican voters are unified like they have been rarely before. Is that evidenced in any way in the media coverage? Or does nearly every media outlet constantly trot out a member of the tired and sad cabal of NeverTrumpist Republicans to suggest the opposite?
Trump’s rallies are brimming with enthusiasm, even during a pandemic, while Biden struggles to get even small crowds in attendance. When Trump held a wild and vibrant rally in Omaha this week, nearly all media coverage focused on how the logistics team had been unable to transport all the attendees in a timely fashion.
The Republican National Convention was a huge hit in part because it served as a fact check of the media narrative in recent years. Simply by highlighting a track record of domestic and foreign policy successes, viewers were reminded of how false the narrative about the first term of the Trump administration has been.
4. Peddling Obviously Fake Narratives
This week saw the news that the supposedly high-ranking “Anonymous” government official that published a 2018 New York Times op-ed about secretly undermining a president he personally disagreed with was in fact a 30-year-old mid-level bureaucrat nobody had ever heard of. The fake narrative that the New York Times knowingly promulgated roiled the administration for months, if not years, as high-level cabinet officials took turns denying that they were secretly and unconstitutionally undermining the elected president of the United States.
Miles Taylor was the Homeland Security Department policy analyst who turned out to have written the op-ed and a best-selling book about how he and other Resistance members put their personal political preferences over the ones chosen by the voting populace when they elected Trump president.
That little op-ed was nothing compared to the preposterously false Russia collusion hoax that the media promulgated for years thanks to dubious and selective leaks from politically motivated sources. For years, major media pushed the idea that Trump had won the 2016 election not because he won the Electoral College but because he had conspired with Russia — yes, Russia — to steal the 2016 election.
A coordinated leak campaign to hamstring the transition and, then, the administration was orchestrated and spun into a special counsel probe that brought the administration to a near standstill. In the end, none of the media’s promised collusion was found by the special counsel. The media pretended that they’d never been as credulous of their Russia collusion hoax as they had been and have never apologized or admitted error for what they did.
In fact, they just moved on to other hoaxes. One they cling to was formed by people using The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to filter it into a damaging story. Goldberg was also used by similar officials to push false and discredited claims about the need to invade Iraq and cleanse it of weapons of mass destruction — that they turned out not to have.
Goldberg granted anonymity to four sources so they could claim that the public persona of Trump as a military-loving enthusiast was false. In fact, they said, he had personally chosen not to visit a World War I cemetery in France one day because he thought the people buried there were losers.
Now, as it turns out, there is contemporaneous evidence that it was John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff and the man Goldberg and his allies intimated was behind the story, who put a stop to the trip because of weather concerns. Further, more than a dozen eyewitnesses to the meetings where the cancellation was discussed went on the record to dispute the anonymous allegations.
There was never even a scintilla of evidence put out in support of Goldberg’s charge. Yet the story entered the public consciousness, became a major theme of Democratic ads, and continues to be mentioned by Biden on the few occasions he speaks publicly.
5. Cheering on Suppression of Speech by Enemies
When Jack Dorsey and his Twitter employees suspended the account of the New York Post, other media outlets could have sounded the alarm about the violations of this country’s spirit of a free press. Instead, they stayed more or less silent. CNN’s Jake Tapper, who has no problem opining daily about his seething hatred of Trump officials, mentioned the Post’s suspensions but refused to take sides about it. Others didn’t even go that far.
Twitter and Facebook have been openly meddling in the 2020 election by censoring political opponents, suppressing their supporters, limiting the distribution of articles and arguments in their favor, and other draconian efforts. The media have more or less cheered them on.
NeverTrumpers, and their more traditional Democratic media colleagues, seem to think that so long as they are protected by social media companies — and there is no reason to think they won’t be — that censorship of non-leftist media is not anything they will fight. Some openly support bans on anyone they politically disagree with. Failure to defend journalists who are actually under attack — as opposed to those who are merely criticized — is a hallmark of many in the media.
David Daleiden, an undercover journalist who showed that Planned Parenthood was engaged in trafficking of unborn baby body parts, had his entire life upended by Kamala Harris prosecuting him for his journalism. Journalists didn’t think it worthy of coverage, even though many think she could be president within a matter of months.
Will They Succeed?
The media are doing everything in their power to make sure that their preferred candidate wins — and that their arch enemy Trump loses. They’re coddling Biden, refusing to ask him any hard questions about his policies, his plans, or his family being investigated for money laundering. As a friend told my husband, “It’s like watching someone make sure a three-year-old wins CandyLand.”
They’ve gone overtime to influence public opinion with their emphasis on polls, despite the problems with those polls. They’ve hidden Trump accomplishments and enthusiasm. They’ve pushed outlandish conspiracy theories that many Americans believe to this day. And they’ve encouraged social media companies to suppress conservative arguments.
Will that be enough for them to win the day? People will find out next week. But the half of the country that the media are rigging the game against can’t be happy about what they’ve seen this year. And nobody who cares about a free and functioning country should tolerate what they’ve done.