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"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.


Anti-Social Media – MIAMI HERALD

In Florida, many of the local newspapers have been rather blatant in their attacking of Governor Ron DeSantis, but the clear leader of this cabal of journalistic distemper has been the Miami Herald. Through no shortage of attempts, the paper has routinely embarrassed themselves with tepid attacks that amount to nothing significant. Well, there may be a fix in store.

It has been learned that over the past few weeks, the paper has been using a robotic writer to file news reports. While we can only hope for the best, at least this way there might be a motivation for the journalists to be more accurate, if the editors can hold up a machine reporter as the baseline for accuracy in reporting.

Glossary Over Things – TAMPA BAY TIMES


And while on the subject of imbalanced coverage of Ron DeSantis, we have Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times delivering the latest impeachable offense designed to deliver level-10 outrage. Are you ready? Larry has learned that DeSantis has referred to the Covid vaccine as "The Jab." 

It was not so long ago when the complaint was that the governor is not promoting vaccines. Since it was pointed out he always has pushed for them and has never wavered, the new complaint is the term he uses.

Anti-Social Media – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Though we know that grievance culture is real, it still is amazing to see not only the depths they will go, but that supposedly respected news outlets (heh, yes I know) still cater to this mindless emotional wailing. At The New York Times, they turned over op-ed space to Jennifer Finey Boylan so she could caterwaul about how triggering and intemperate classic rock music can be.


- "For a lot of baby boomers, it's painful to realize that some of the songs first lodged in our memories in adolescence really need a second look. And it's hard to explain why younger versions of ourselves ever thought they were OK in the first place."

Imagine that – a rebellious art form is not adhering to your safe-space sensitivities. We need to pass a law that ANY column, editorial, lecture, or thinkpiece that can use the phrase 'It's time we take a look at…' in its subheader, that writer is banished for one year from producing content.

News Avoidance Syndrome – ESPN

One sign of encouragement – during these trying times™ – is that cancel culture may actually be ebbing. Dave Chappelle has not taken a knee, Morgan Wallen has seen explosive music sales after he was targeted, and this weekend saw Kyle Larson win the NASCAR championship, after his overly punitive time after a slip of the tongue. If you need a refresher, Larson used a racial epithet during a virtual race toward a crew member. That neither of them are black was inconsequential – Larson needed to be punished, severely.


After he was dropped from his team, Larson took on a number of tasks to rectify things, and he comes back with a new squad and wins the championship. Well, that did not sit right with Ryan McGee of ESPN. Not at all. McGee has a list of amends he expects from Larson.

- "If he chooses to do nothing for the short-term sake of taking the path of least resistance, he would be lowering his visor to the long-term damage. Silence will only bolster those who see NASCAR as still stuck in 1968, the perceived free pass given to the driver who dropped the N-word and then won the championship one year later. But Larson owning it publicly and carrying it with him as prominently as a sponsor on a car hood is the only way to convince anyone that anything has actually changed."

This is written from a standpoint of pure pettiness and ignorance. First off, Larson has taken every mandated sensitivity training, has worked with minority youth groups beyond his obligation term, donates his time and money to this day to the causes, and even made peace with Bubba Wallace. Secondly, for the very white Ryan McGee to declare the biracial Larson has not done enough is itself, racially insensitive.


Both Kinds of Standards – COLORADO SUN

Recall just a couple of months ago the Covid surge in Florida was entirely the blame of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The seasonal spike everyone knew was coming was his fault, even when numerous other states experienced surges at the same time.

Well, now Florida sits toward the bottom of case rates nationally and the western half of the country is seeing its predicted spikes – and this mystifies the medical professionals and the journalists.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis is a Democrat, so with his name removed from blame by default, the experts are at a loss where to place the blame for the state experiencing a sharp rise in cases. 

- "There is still much the state's leading authorities on the virus do not know. That extends to the current surge in cases, which has defied expectations and conventional wisdom and placed hospitals in jeopardy of being overwhelmed, a risk many believed had long passed."

Funny how Florida's caseload reasoning was distinctly definable, but the same thing happening elsewhere is a complete mystery.


Presentation Paradox – NEW YORK POST

Another ginned up vaccine drama involves an Illinois teacher who defied the vax-mandate at her school. When she complied, she loaded her vaccination card to their database and it showed she had received the shots months before school began. This is supposedly controversial, but only if you struggle with the difference between being anti-vaccine and anti-mandates.

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