"Riffed from the Headlines" is Townhall's daily VIP feature with coverage on the deeply flawed aspects of journalism in the nation. We'll look to bring accountability to the mishaps, malaprops, misdeeds, manipulations, malpractice, and manufactured narratives in mainstream media.
Legalized Press-titution – BUZZFEED
As you likely heard or saw, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a dress to the Met Gala that said "Tax The Rich." This is a rather oblivious message, given she was at an event that was held for the one percent of the one percent elites, and attendance went for $30,000 a plate. BuzzFeed was only one of the countless outlets raving about her bold statement, declaring, "She models a message."
Awarding her for this stunted move is just perfect for today's press.
Everytime I see AOC dress I think of a chick fil a bag pic.twitter.com/vkRG1Snszu— SoapT???? (@k4uty) September 14, 2021
Presentation Paradox – WALL STREET JOURNAL
It has become permanently ingrained in the Hollywood offerings that product placement is a common element in our entertainment choices. The Wall Street Journal has a video segment on the subject, featuring – get this – how shows on the Apple+ streaming platform are flooded with Apple products. All the stars and plotlines involve iPhones and other tech from the company. Imagine.
While there are a few interesting facets in the video, one thing stood out. Journalist Kenny Wassus appears throughout the entry, showing him tabulating the instances and recording the effects – on his Apple MacBook Pro.
Pre-Written Field Reports – CNBC
Yesterday, news went out in the financial press that Walmart was about to begin accepting payments involving the cryptocurrency LiteCoin. This was based on a release from the GlobeNewswire service, and it was picked up by CNBC, as well as Reuters, and spread around for much of the morning. The problem – it was completely false.
A user account posted the fake notice, and the price of LiteCoin shot up about 30% before corrections were issued. There were caution flags behind the claim that should have been picked up. The account on GlobeNewswire that sent out the notice was new, Walmart had never prior issued a PR posting on the service, and a call to Walmart corporate would have exposed the fraud. Instead, CNBC even acknowledges that it simply ran with the headline.
- "Litecoin tweeted the press release from its official account at 9:50 a.m. ET. CNBC's report on what turned out to be fake was published five minutes later."
Stealth Story Evolution – NEW YORK TIMES
- The press moves from protecting Hunter Biden to wishing they did not have to mention Hunter Biden at all.
Yesterday, the Federal Elections Commission came to the decision that Twitter was not in violation of election laws by banning the New York Post report about Hunter Biden's laptop last fall ahead of the 2020 election. The New York Times reported on the story, but they declared that the original story was "unsubstantiated."
Breaking News: The FEC ruled that Twitter’s decision in October to block an unsubstantiated article about President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, did not violate election laws, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. https://t.co/EzFKKvQ7X2— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 13, 2021
Daniel Chaitlan of the DC Examiner then noted that following some criticism after publication, The Times quietly altered their report to clean up the false summation.
Hours later, the New York Times publishes an update to an article that removes the word "unsubstantiated" when talking about a New York Post article on Hunter Biden that was the subject of an FEC complainthttps://t.co/0SmUyIdP70 pic.twitter.com/FD7EpAEP3O— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) September 13, 2021
Pulitzer Prize Nomination – CNN
The lure of celebrity is real, and the need to report on them is addictive...but can we at least make a small demand that something actually worthwhile transpires in order to hear about them?!
At CNN, Lisa Respers France gives us all the details of a time when Taylor Swift got together with Ed Sheeran. The two are friends, and apparently, they decided to go out together. And...AND…?!?!
- "Two Grammy-winning artists walk into a bar and ... apparently they just drank. That's according to Ed Sheeran, who says he took his friend Taylor Swift to a pub and no one noticed."
Thank you, Lisa. This edifying report has to qualify as the journalism equivalent of a rice cake.
"No one really clocked [that it was her]," Ed Sheeran said, recalling a time he took Taylor Swift to his local pub. "It was like a week later that the person behind the bar was like, 'Did you bring Taylor Swift in here last week?'" https://t.co/psh1D7N1NE— CNN International (@cnni) September 13, 2021