"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.
Low Octane Gas Lighting – CNN
Last week, with amusement, CNN stars unraveled on camera over Fox News celebrating their 25th Anniversary. There were numerous claims of the network delivering false stories and not conducting actual journalism. It was with deep amusement that Oliver Darcy charged Fox with avoiding a national story, only to be shown they had covered it repeatedly, and the one failing at journalism was Darcy.
Well, Ollie is at it again already. He took over the writing of the "Reliable Sources" newsletter Tuesday night, and in one passage, he thought he had the goods on the Washington Examiner over the outlet's vaccine standards.
- "Vax mandate for me but not for thee?
If you were to take a look at the Twitter feed of Mark Walters, the head of MediaDC, which is the parent company of the conservative Washington Examiner, you would think he hates vaccine mandates. On Tuesday, for instance, Walters posted back-to-back tweets knocking such mandates. But that seems awfully ironic, given that his own company has implemented a "mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy" for its staffers. According to that policy, which was reported on at the time it was announced, unvaccinated employees must wear a mask at all times, submit regular negative tests, and don't have full access to the office. Of course, this is just part of a larger trend of hypocrisy on the subject in conservative media…"
The hilarity is in how many aspects of this are completely incorrect.
1) If employees are permitted to work in the office while unvaccinated, there is no mandate.
2) In the article Darcy linked to for "proof," Walters is quoted saying, "No one is at risk of losing their job if they choose to be unvaccinated, they will simply follow the protocols outlined in our policy."
3) In that article from The Hill, it noted how the Washington Examiner had published pro-vaccine content.
4) The Washington Examiner is headquartered in D.C., where the mayor has instituted indoor masking mandates, meaning the outlet was following a local ordinance.
It is a rather impressive feat how many errors Darcy was able to insert inside of a lone paragraph.
News Avoidance Syndrome – CBS EVENING NEWS
- It does not require math to see these claims do not add up.
Norah O'Donnell sat with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to discuss the discovery of the controversial budget plan to have banks report on accounts with activity in excess of $600 annually. Yellin makes the attempt that this is not a means to pry into anyone's account but an effort to go after billionaires who do not pay enough taxes.
It never occurs to Nora to ask how many $600 accounts get transferred to offshore banks to evade taxes.
“There’s a lot of tax fraud and cheating that’s going on.” Treasury @SecYellen tells @NorahODonnell the proposed $600 IRS reporting requirement for banks is “absolutely not” a way for the government to peek into American’s pocketbooks but to hold billionaires accountable. pic.twitter.com/M3VKOhdtSu— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 12, 2021
Body Checking The Fact Checkers – USA TODAY
Coming to Yellin's rescue is USA Today, right on cue, to inform us that claims of the IRS starting to peer into accounts in the $600 range are completely unfounded. Using a tried tactic of applying context to a story, the outlet is here to declare that this is not a policy that has been passed – as if that should make us feel better.
- "While the claim is based in reality, it gets many of the facts wrong. The claim's assertion is a proposal by the Biden administration, not a decision set in stone. The Treasury cannot 'declare' any changes to law, as that is a legislative power that belongs to Congress. And even if the proposal is adopted banks would not provide access to individual transactions, just the total amount flowing in and out of an account annually."
See, you hysterics? The Treasury is not monitoring our low-grade bank accounts. They merely want to monitor our low-grade accounts.
For this to fly, we have to gloss over certain realities, like how this money threshold manages to involve anyone who now qualifies for the $15 minimum wage (funny what a 40-hour workweek amounts to in gross wages at that level) as well as Nancy Pelosi being asked pointedly if this monitoring requirement will remain in the bill, and she responded with a definitive positive answer.
Pelosi: 'Yes, Yes, Yes,' Bank Account Reporting Plan Will Be Part of Reconciliation Bill https://t.co/EelHi8LDlg— CNSNews (@cnsnews) October 13, 2021
Body Checking The Fact Checkers – POLITIFACT
The recent attempt by the National School Board Association (NSBA) to have parents declared domestic terrorists has become a complete catastrophe. Not only has it become a public relations nightmare, it has been so bad the administration is running away from the issue, and now a number of state school board groups are disavowing the national organization.
In a futile attempt to help the NSBA save face, PolitiFact is here to nitpick details and downplay the idiocy of the request made. The site focused on Senator Rick Scott, who said that AG Merrick Garland was sending the Feds after parents. Here is the level they had to go to "disprove" the claim.
Garland is not sending the FBI to go after parents, he simply "directed Justice Department agencies to hold meetings nationwide on criminal threats against school personnel." See? It's completely different...or something.
Gilded Reframe – BUSINESS INSIDER
- You can feel the pain when journalists are forced to report objectively.
As if there was any further need of proof that our national press complex is working on behalf of the White House, just take a look at this pained headline from Business Insider.
When faced with a negative Biden story that is nearly impossible to spin, they have to contort and expand in a fashion that will excuse their effort and appease their readership. Here is hoping the writer was in the office and therefore able to file a Workman's Comp claim after hurting themself in crafting this gem.
This headline is so completely insanehttps://t.co/wnV75xnliv— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) October 13, 2021
Reporting On The Mirror – THE BULWARK / THE DISPATCH
- Two outlets locked in a Battle for the Aimless.
In a way, you can understand the dismay leading to this. After almost two years of pleading to get people to vote for Joe Biden, the Never Trump outlets are in an unforeseen position – Biden has become a consummate disaster incapable of being defended with any level of intellectual honesty. So, when faced with a desire to not report on what their chosen leader is up to, the folks at The Dispatch and The Bulwark are faced with a distraction; they are turning on each other.
It seems to have started when Jonah Goldberg made some caustic toss-away comments about The Bulwark in an interview with Vanity Fair. "Never Trump and pro-Trump publications are two sides of the same Trump-obsessed coin."
Then, in a display of the thin-skinned nature seen in so many at their outlet, The Bulwark responded with a lengthy moaning column about Goldberg by Mona Cheren.