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Noticing Racism Is Now Race-baiting

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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.

02.15.22

Both Kinds of Standards – WASHINGTON POST

The press continues to grapple with explaining away the Joe Biden program of government-supplied drug paraphernalia. Paul Waldman attempted to join in on the Biden Defense team, and he makes the mistake of impugning Republicans as racist by invoking his WaPo colleague Glenn Kessler's fact-check on the matter. (Kessler's ludicrous attempt was highlighted here yesterday.) In order for there to be racism, we have to start with this columnist insisting that crack cocaine is a "black drug." 

At issue is the Washington Free Beacon's initial report, where journos are relying on the fact that a glass tube may not actually be part of the drug smoking kits provided to users. Waldman then pounces on conservatives suggesting crack pipes are involved in order to imply racial intent.

- "This is race-baiting, pure and simple. Crack cocaine is associated in the public mind with Black people in cities (even though people of all races have used it), just as crystal meth is associated with White people in rural areas (even though people of all races have used that, too)."

Except, the supposed racist report he cites does, in fact, mention both of the products – those that Waldman assigned a race to – as his "black" and his "white" drugs are mentioned.

- "The conservative Washington Free Beacon published an article Monday falsely claiming that HHS confirmed that its funds 'will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and 'any illicit substance.'" 

Reporting on the Mirror – THE NEW YORK TIMES

The difficult bar of proving intent in the case of Sarah Palin suing The New York Times over an editorial has not yet been cleared. The judge took an odd stance in dismissing the suit as unproven while the jury was in deliberations. Today, the jury came back and denied her claim as well. The likelihood is this will move forward on appeal. What is revealing is how many in the press deny culpability, all while saying The Times screwed up, royally. 

The judge, during his explanation, described how The Times committed "very unfortunate editorializing." The AP stated, "Bennet testified that he botched the edit, but meant no harm." Media law professor Jonathan Peters said, "What Palin showed was, basically, a sloppy editorial process. It didn't rise to recklessness, and there was zero evidence of knowledge."

Erik Wemple probably best described this dichotomy of a monumental screw-up that was not malicious in intent.

- "Here was a one-off claim in a hurried editorial that slimed a public figure. Granted, it perpetrated a gobsmacking falsehood."

Low Octane Gas Lighting – CNN

Joe Biden's first year has delivered some of the harshest data seen for an incoming president. His approval numbers eroded faster than a sand dune in a tidal wave, his party is witnessing a mounting list of retirements ahead of an assured GOP surge in November, and there is not a political topic where he is viewed favorably. Now, a new poll shows how bad things have become within the Democratic Party.

A new poll asked Dems if they want Biden to run again in 2024, and the result shows that 51% said they want another candidate. Looking at that staggeringly bad result, Chris Cillizza finds good news – in the form of a restaurant metaphor. He states that if the other candidate is defined, then Biden will seem better…somehow. If you regret your fish order, you may want something else, but if you could ONLY order chicken, then somehow you are satisfied…I think…?

- "Now, consider that same scenario, except that when you are halfway done with the too-fishy fish, the waiter comes over and says that they would be happy to exchange your fish for the chicken entree. Now, you already chose the fish over the chicken for some reason -- maybe you didn't like how it was prepared or maybe you just didn't feel like chicken. You are FAR more likely to stick with the fish in this scenario."

I…have nothing. Just know this – in the same poll, after Barack Obama's first year, 80% said they wanted him to run again.

Prose & Contradiction – CNN

We have a Chris Cuomo update. The man was routinely combative with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his handling of the pandemic, from impugning his methods over those of his brother Andrew in New York to being one of the last remaining journos to entertain the crackpot Rebekah Jones on her claims Florida was a waiting room of death. Well, the deposed pundit was recently seen on vacation, and his choice of locale is, shall we say, revealing. 

News Avoidance Syndrome – AXIOS

In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has taken down the city's controversial and intrusive Covid mandates. Axios spoke to a number of residents who were gravely concerned with this announcement. Many expressed concerns about now going out, despite the fact they are likely vaccinated and boosted, and they are perfectly still free to wear an alleged life-saving mask.

What is curious is how in their detail of D.C. reactions, the outlet was incapable of finding anyone who was in support of taking down the restrictions.

Body Checking the Fact Checkers – THE NEW YORK TIMES

With Justin Trudeau taking fascistic action against private citizens, like expanding his legal powers without Parliamentary approval in order to seize the bank accounts of private citizens without court orders, he is inviting some comparisons to another dictatorial leader.

There has been a persistent rumor going around that Canada's prime minister could actually be the love child of Fidel Castro. The New York Times decided to wade into these waters as warm as the Florida Straights to debunk the rumor.

Of course, by addressing the issue, The Times also broadcasts this comparison to a far wider audience and surely extends the discussion it ostensibly is looking to squelch. 

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