The Media and the Brett Kavanaugh Senate Hearings
Lauri and I need a break from the “Sifted and Refined” series. I hope you will understand that choosing to make ourselves so vulnerable before the public has been an emotionally gut-wrenching experience for us. Even so, we have elected to do it in the belief that the Lord can (and is) using it for the benefit of wounded and broken people. But today, we are going to talk about something else, and, boy, am I ready to do that.
It is, perhaps, with our recent experience in mind that we have a heightened sensitivity to the public humiliations and attacks on others. As someone who has dealt with the media extensively and has been the subject of media reports (both positively and negatively), I pay close attention to the methods that are employed. The media’s latest victim is Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family. Like many of you, I followed the Senate confirmation hearings and found myself infuriated by the injustice of it all. In recent months, I have noticed a new media strategy and I wonder if you have noticed it, too, even if only subconsciously.
It is not news to say that media is used by both sides in the culture wars as a weapon to obtain political power. Nor is it news to say that most print and television media leans, in varying degrees, to the Left. In the case of the Senate confirmation hearing, all pretense of fairness was dropped. Democrats, along with their media allies, launched an all-out assault on a man in an effort to totally destroy him. Ariel Dumas, a writer for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” said as much: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad that we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.” The rationale here is simple. Since Kavanaugh represents a legislative threat to the Left’s cultural agenda, destroying him via old, dubious, or false accusations is deemed a morally defensible thing to do because the end justifies the means.
While this was, perhaps, the most outrageous example of someone being grossly mistreated during a confirmation hearing, it certainly wasn’t the first time this has been done (remember Bork?). But have you noticed how media are trying to bolster their own opinions while isolating and silencing dissenters? Let’s start with a sample story on a subject that is of less importance: football. Here’s the headline:
Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers lose and the author of this story tells us what every idiot with a cell phone had to say about it. Here’s another example:
Thunderstorms in the area of Little Rock, Arkansas, caused technical difficulties during this game and, again, a sports writer has produced a story about Twitter reactions to the power outage. Do you really care?
Earth-shattering news. It seems some people need to get a life. Let’s look at a few on politics:
See the pattern here? Now let’s look at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings:
Is the similar language in all of these a coincidence? I don’t think so.
And one last one:
If you haven’t noticed it before, I’m sure you notice the pattern now. It is noteworthy that even the language is the same: ”Twitter Reacts.” These are just a few examples, I could have given a hundred more. I found these in just a couple of minutes, and I didn’t cherry pick them. Note that none of them says anything like ”Democrats Smear Judicial Nominee: Twitter Reacts.” The very phrase ”Twitter Reacts” implies that Twitter is a monolithic universe, which it certainly is not. The idea is to give you the impression that Twitter is united in it’s opposition to Dunkin’ Donuts’ name change and Kavanaugh’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court. The trend indicates that this is more than a few journalists who had a clever angle for a story; it is now a staple of media methodology.
It is an effort to lend authority to the author’s opinion while disguising it as that of a majority of Americans (or football fans or kind and compassionate people or whatever suits the author’s purpose). It’s devious. It’s meant to make you feel out of step with the rest of the country if you disagree with the author on Malzahn’s play calling or Kavanaugh’s alleged college shenanigans or Trump’s Wall or the proper use of a spatula. And this tactic is so easy to do because it requires no real skill as a writer and you can find on Twitter an opinion to support anything. For example, let’s suppose it’s my opinion that the Resurrection never happened and I want to add weight to that opinion. What do I do? I go on Twitter, do a quick search with key phrases like ”resurrection faked” or ”resurrection conspiracy” and so on, I find a few people who hold that opinion, too, and then I publish a piece quoting them with a title like: ”Preacher Claims Jesus Resurrected from Dead: Twitter Reacts.” See? It’s easy.
But let’s be clear on something. Many Twitter users are like the guy who shouts at you and gives you the middle finger on the highway. It’s social media road rage, mob mentality, and outright hate committed against others at the safe distance of cyberspace. So it is with all social media, what I have collectively labeled InstaTwitFace. People on InstaTwitFace react to everything. Some of my most gentle and respectful articles have generated astonishingly hateful responses on social media. Read the article I wrote last year about the treatment of radio host Rick Burgess and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
So, there you have it. My reaction to ”Twitter Reacts.”
We end this edition with an appropriate song about media: Don Henley’s ”Dirty Laundry.” (NOTE: I would have linked the original music video, but Lauri says that there’s a naked man in it. Yikes! I’ll be tracking the hits on that video to see if they go up significantly!)