"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
One dependable source of comedy is CNN's Chris Cillizza, but it becomes magical when he chooses to add to the levity. In the latest issue of his newsletter, "The Point," Chris had an entry about the Virginia governor's race, with a section about Kamala Harris arriving in the state to help float the floundering candidate Terry McAuliffe.
In the body of his dispatch was a pull quote referring to Harris in exaggeratedly glowing terms, something that is easily defied by regular polling numbers.
Then things got weird. After sending that out, Cillizza responded directly to me, attempting to elide responsibility for that quote.
I didn't write this— Chris Cillizza (@ChrisCillizza) October 19, 2021
Now, already this is an odd claim, given that it was directly pulled from his newsletter. But even if he is attempting to sidestep by saying he had linked to an article written by CNN's Dan Merica, the pull quote from the header was the words "Harris magic," which do not appear anywhere in the Merica article. In other words, Chris, you did write that.
News Avoidance Syndrome – POLITICO
- Speculative violence is always more dangerous than actual violence.
Politico detailed a serious report from the DOJ that stated people daring to elevate those involved with the January 6 Capitol riot could inspire future events of a similar fashion.
- "The Justice Department said Monday that people 'lionizing' the Jan. 6 rioters are heightening the risk of future political violence."
This could be regarded as a serious article, save for the fact that nowhere in the piece, nor the DOJ report, is there any mention of the violence seen last week when protestors attacked police and stormed a federal building in D.C. Of course, that was a mob of leftist protestors, so they are not considered a threat to our democracy when they attack the government...somehow.
Last Week’s Insurrection Attempt In D.C. Exposes the Media for the Biased Positions They Hold— RedState (@RedState) October 19, 2021
DNC PR Firm – WASHINGTON POST
When faced with a mounting delivery system crisis, many Americans are beginning to notice that it has become tougher to get durable goods and foodstuffs, and this is a problem. Not the shortages, mind you, but that people are noticing the problems. Coming to Joe Biden's rescue is the Washington Post, who is here to tell us that what we really need to do in this case is not complain and demand solutions; the paper has an alternative idea.
Opinion: Don’t rant about short-staffed stores and supply chain woes. Try to lower expectations. https://t.co/3CLpV5HXbG— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 19, 2021
Yes, people, we need to dispatch our consumer privilege and start to open ourselves up to the nobility of soup lines, once again. This does present something of a quandary, however. After all, it was just a few months ago that the administration was boasting how mustard and hotdogs were $0.16 cheaper than last year. We will just have to wait for the shelves to be restocked someday so we can enjoy that discount.
The key point here is to stop complaining about the stupidity in WaPo. We just need to lower our expectations for the news outlet. The real comedy is that we are being told to accept doing with fewer products from the paper owned by Jeff Bezos – of Amazon.
Borth Kinds of Standards – CNN
One of the constants seen from Brian Stelter over the years has been how Fox News was the official news organ of the Trump administration. This was always presented as a grievous breach of journalism ethics and a dangerous precedent for politics.
Joe Biden, meanwhile, has shown a particular reticence to talk with the media. Well...most of the media. This Thursday, the president will hold a town hall in primetime. It is the second one with CNN, hosted by Anderson Cooper for the second time. And there are some curious steps being taken by CNN's own admission.
- "A CNN spokesperson said an invitation-only audience will be present at the town hall and the network will follow all local and state Covid-19 guidance and regulations to ensure a safe event. The town hall's location will be announced in the coming days."
A big stage to discuss the Democrats' legislative agenda: President Biden will "participate in a CNN town hall on Thursday in Baltimore." @AndersonCooper will moderate the event at 8pm ET. https://t.co/pICEE6453N— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 18, 2021
Low Octane Gas Lighting – DESERET NEWS
This entry is all about the headline. No commentary – just the headline.
Is Evan McMullin a threat to Sen. Mike Lee? |Opinion - Deseret News https://t.co/bwEVvneD8I— Mitt Romney Plaza (@MittRomneyPlaza) October 17, 2021
Pulitzer Prize Nomination – WUSA CHANNEL 9 NEWS
About a month ago, we reported on the deeply serious story of five zebras escaping from a ranch outside of the D.C. area. Well, after all of this time, they are still running free, and now a new plan has been hatched to attempt recapturing them.
Now, I am not one to suggest that they could be adding to the problem – the officials looking to wrangle the beasts are the ones saying this.
Believe it or not, the new plan involves using more zebras.— WUSA9 (@wusa9) October 17, 2021