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The Modern Media in Elections - Run the Scandal Now, Check for Facts Later

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

As an election creeps ever closer there is little surprise that scandals would be alleged in order to score needed political points. The surprise in this current cycle is that there appears to be not the expected October Surprise -- the regular late-arriving blockbuster story meant to tilt the result -- but a never ending parade of reports we are told will do in the presidential bid. Partly this is just the new environment of a Trump era, and partly it is due to a desperation mounting on the left.

Much like the current publishing stampede of dozens of election-related books, only a handful of which are focused on Joe Biden, this string of mini-October tremors have been intended to shake the foundation only of a Trump reelection bid. That these have barely managed to knock a few picture frames askew is indicative of the desperation.

The current OUTRAGE has already begun to lose its venom. For days we have been inundated with hand-wringing and bleating from the press over the release of audio tapes from Bob Woodward, timed with the release of his latest book, ‘’Rage.’’ On these tapes we were supposed to become enraged (appropriately enough) with President Trump downplaying the severity of the pandemic, back in March. This latest salvo meant to derail the president was itself knocked off the tracks by a common neutering agent with all these ‘’scandals’’ -- the presentation of facts.

While hearing these passages was possibly concerning they were rapidly shown to be less than dire. For one, Dr. Anthony Fauci came forward to deflate the import of what was said. Then there was the small matter of the media’s beloved governor, Andrew Cuomo, also coming out in March and stating that there was a desire to keep the public calm and not inducing pandemic panic. The press soon found it hard to slam Trump but not their adored politician.

Finally there was one detail that deflated this whole outrage -- Trump had already said these very words in public back in March. How were we to lose our minds over quotes that the press had been completely unbothered about for half a year? The tide turned on this story once we began to see criticism being aimed at Woodward for sitting on this quote for so long, just in order to sensationalize it for his book release. His wormy excuse of needing this time to verify details and vetting of facts only helped out Trump’s cause; if timeframe was needed to write a book should not a leader dealing with a novel viral outbreak be granted time to shift and adjust as things become learned?

This has become the pattern now for months. Almost weekly it seems we are presented with another blistering news report, another reason delivered by the media for us to light our hair on fire over a story regarding President Trump that was supposed to leave a crater. The Atlantic just had its release of supposed quotes where he supposedly maligned military casualties. That story fell apart.

Just prior to that we went through the cycle of The Post Office Scandal, where we were led to believe President Trump was defunding the USPS, dismantling sorting machines, surreptitiously confiscating mailboxes off city streets, and even stealing postal vehicles stuffed full of ballots. 

Each one of these postal subterfuge examples became explained in calm and easily researched fashion, but only numerous days later. Maybe we could grant some leeway on the matter - it is possible folks could not get the full story since Time Magazine delivery was hindered by locked mailboxes.

In this flood of regular controversies it feels like it was more than just a couple of months ago when we were all in a lather over President Trump ignoring the bounties placed on the heads of our military in the Middle East. This was held up as definitive proof our president was in the pocket of Russia, who was said to be paying this bounty out. Of course, the lack of evidence to this day has not stopped some -- like Joe Biden -- from still attempting to keep this story afloat.

This is the unfortunate reality we have with our contemporary media complex. Look at how each of these scandals have arrived and dissipated. The press has been more than eager to present these cases and blast them across the news cycles. They are delivered for maximum impact and with no regard for verification. Note how each one of these examples are rendered by the presentation of facts, facts that were obtainable by the very news outlets blaring the jarring headlines. 

That is where the real scandal resides these days. The news outlets who love to drape themselves in the cloak of holding politicians accountable are subject to little accountability for their brazen displays of late. They shudder and tremor at the mention of reporting that is disreputable, yet they continue to deliver evidence to prove the claim correct. More evidence they elect to ignore.

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