Opinion

In Search of Peak Deception

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The concept of media deception has been on my mind this week due to diving into Daniel Boorstin’s “The Image”. This is the book responsible for coining the term “pseudo-event” with respect to the media. The concept is simple: The media, whether print or electronic, create events instead of reporting them. In this creation, the media feed a cultural need or a hunger if you will. 

It is rare to encounter any consumer of news who doesn’t believe that bias exists within the media. Often their opinion of what kind of bias or to what extent, is based on their own political perspective. Personal experiences often drive political beliefs, and political beliefs often drive what media driven experiences are believed. It becomes a form of a feedback loop in which Americans can, and often are, radicalized in their political beliefs because of their own media consumption. 

This feedback loop doesn’t require news in the affirmitive of your ideology in order to function. I would theorize that we are seeing radicalization based also in the information we do NOT believe. It is possible for news information to provide the same radicalization, but in polar opposite effects. With the vast majority of media being heavily biased towards Progressivism, the same information which convinces the viewer of a growing Nazi presence also convinces a Conservative of Progressive evil. Both sides view themselves as a hero, but only one stands for freedom of the Individual.

Whether it is painting a border policy enacted under Obama as a Trump decision, to blaming the current UN Ambassador for curtains purchased during the Obama administration, there are daily examples of the media avoiding context to produce a particular viewpoint. The media has graduated from omitting context to printing anonymous stories and insisting the public trust their vetting of the source. However, we see their credibility on display when they take non-credible source (who refuses to comment) and turns them into an anonymous source to increase credibility.


Davis told BuzzFeed News Monday night he regretted being the anonymous source as well as his subsequent denial. The CNN story, which cited multiple “sources,” claimed Cohen said President Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower sit-down.

Fox News

Yet, CNN stuck by their story claiming they had another source. Sure, of course we can trust them!

The nomination and possible confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the latest in this media saga. It has produced some of the most unprofessional and reckless reporting I have seen in my lifetime. We are beyond lack of context, beyond anonymous sources, and have gone right into substantiation of accusations with zero facts. Emphasis mine.


The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party. The magazine contacted several dozen classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh regarding the incident. Many did not respond to interview requests; others declined to comment, or said they did not attend or remember the party. A classmate of Ramirez’s, who declined to be identified because of the partisan battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is “one-hundred-per-cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez. 

The New Yorker

The case of Ms. Ramirez’s allegations is just the tip of the iceberg, but allows us to analyse the behavior of the media when faced with a juicy story that is void of facts and has many holes. In fact, the Federalist investigated why the New York Times made critical edits to the story covering the New Yorker Article. Twitchy covers some of the investigation carried out over twitter.


Mayer and Farrow admit that, “In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, [Ramirez] was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty,” that “there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening,” and that, “The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.”


Yet these crucial caveats are sprinkled over several paragraphs in the course of a narrative seemingly written to bolster Ramirez’s claim, emphasizing hearsay corroboration of an incident while burying the denials from those allegedly involved near the end. The New York Times highlighted the obvious weaknesses of the allegations – and by extension, The New Yorker story – in two succinct sentences.

The Federalist

But we’re not just talking about the New York Times, CNN, or the New Yorker here. It goes well beyond that.

NBC is no stranger to manipulating stories to protect a particular narrative. The folks over at NewsBusters remind us all that they sat on the Juanita Broaddrick allegations until after the conclusion of Bill Clinton’s impeachment process:

The situation gets even more suspect when the Paper of Record, the New York Times, arranges their technology in such a way that their articles are not cached by search engines to likely mask their various real time edits:

I could spend all day rehashing the media exchanges between Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, however it is Julie Swetnick that interests me. She was brought forward by Attorney Michael Avenatti, who has represented Stormy Daniels and is currently the darling of the Progressive left for a 2020 run. Swetnick leveled accusations of “gang-rape” like events where boys ran “trains” on intoxicated or inebriated young women. While her claims to have “seen” Kavanaugh present at such events are mentioned, people already convinced of Kavanaugh’s guilt soak it all right up.


At that point, to believe Kavanaugh is telling the truth is to assume numerous women engaged in a vast conspiracy to smear him. And that all of them risked their reputations and careers in order to sustain a lie, even going so far as to risk committing perjury and facing prison.

It was Tom Foley, House Speaker at the time who once said, “The seriousness of the charge mandates that we investigate this.” We can see this is still alive and well today. However, the added benefit to Progressives is we no longer publicly support innocent until proven guilty.

It gets much worse from here. As this new line of thinking began to take hold, suddenly millions of Americans proclaim they KNOW what an innocent person “acts” like.

Thus, the circle of life between the media and the consumers of it. America didn’t become radicalized or polarized simply out of nothing. The media is the engine and the fuel which keeps the feedback loop going. In an effort to create fake events for the entertainment of the masses, along with the desire to influence thinking and actions via politics, the media have created this monster. 

The worst part? They will report on the monster’s destruction of America and they will profit from it. Have we seek Peak Deception by the media? I suspect not by a long shot.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey over at Hotair.com has more in depth information regarding the changes with the NBC text message allegations that are referenced in the Charles Cooke tweet above. The last paragraph of their post provides some fantastic recent examples of NBC’s embarrassing reporting.

So why didn’t NBC News mention this context in its First Read this morning? Suffice it to say that it’s not the first strange editorial decision they’ve made in the Kavanaughcalypse. They rushed to report an unsubstantiated Facebook post from Cristina King Miranda backing Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation as actual news without bothering to corroborate it, calling it a “major development.” When NPR blew up their source and Miranda backpedaled out of the picture, NBC News noted it in the fifth paragraph of a story that still remains up to this day. Yesterday, of course, NBC News provided Julie Swetnick with a platform for making allegations which the network had to disavow, in what Allahpundit calls “clown-show interview with Swetnick.”


NBC seems invested in a particular narrative here. Advancing it requires not providing the whole truth and its context — which speaks volumes about the narrative, as well as those pushing it.

Ed Morrissey


Mitchell Rejects Ford’s Allegations

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