"Riffed from the Headlines" is Townhall's daily VIP feature with coverage of 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.
Reporting on the Mirror – CNN
- What is the antonym for "auspicious debut"?
Some people may be questioning when Chris Wallace is set to make his CNN premiere. We say this because Wallace has made his start at his new network – it just appears very few know of this happening. On Sunday, Chris had the first showing of "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?" and the show has not exactly been on the lips of many people.
The ratings came in and were more like the raspberry sound you make with your mouth.
Wallace drew only 425,000 viewers and only 46,000 in the advertiser demo. His show was beaten by Trey Gowdy on Fox News with three times the audience. To underscore how little interest there was in seeing Wallace, he managed to actually repel the audience. He lost roughly 30,000 viewers from his lead-in, and then CNN saw a jump of more than 120,000 in the following hour.
Cable News Ratings Sun Sep 25— RoadMN ?? (@RoadMN) September 27, 2022
4 pm to Midnight Demo | Total
1?@FoxNews 91,125 967,250
2?@CNN 74,000 478,000
3?@MSNBC 27,125 339,000
1?Fox News 118,333 1,188,333
2?CNN 81,667 523,000
3?MSNBC 21,333 325,000 pic.twitter.com/8kMgOBuQJy
Artisanally-Crafted Narratives – POLITICO
It is bad enough that Politico saw fit to politicize the impending hurricane set to ravage the west coast of Florida in an attempt to set up Ron DeSantis for failure based on his response. But making this all the more inept was the claim that DeSantis had yet to go through the experience of ushering his state through a hurricane disaster.
Only one small element to this approach – history.
Blue-Anon – THE PROSPECT
- It seems the lack of evidence should not prevent a punishment.
When word came out that prosecutors might be stepping away from the prospect of prosecuting Rep. Matt Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking charges, there was a noted groan across the media landscape. It has been two years of this supposition-based story, and it appears that with little movement at all on the case, it may be coming to a close.
Among the hardest hit appears to be Ryan Cooper of The Prospect, who seems to think there should be more action taken against Gaetz. That Cooper has long railed against fascism on his account, it is amusing to see him take this stance on the matter.
chickenshit club https://t.co/yx3iYnhGAY— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) September 23, 2022
Body Checking the Fact-Checkers – POLITIFACT
The press has run up against a bit of a paradox of their own making. Since the January 6 riot, a favored talking point has been the issue of "election denialism." Anything from contesting results to simply questioning the election process has been grounds for labeling people as anything from treasonous attackers of election integrity to wanting to render democracy and threatening the Constitution. The problem: There are quite a few examples of Democrats in recent years, umm – questioning elections.
Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, Karine Jean-Pierre, members of the J-6 Committee, and more have been shown to have been critical of election results over the past few years; how do members of the hectoring media treat these cases?
Well, if you are at PolitiFact, you come up with this cagey analysis – It's different when they do it.
U.S. House Democrats made objections to election results in 2001, 2005 and 2017, when the losing candidate had already conceded. They were mostly symbolic measures. https://t.co/BevtbzCTCS— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) September 26, 2022
Blue-Anon – MSNBC
- Why does the left love the Handmaid's imagery so much?
It is one thing to concoct hysterical theories and use them as a form of political mockery. But when you actually compose those fever-dream-level conspiracies and send them out to the public, well…those end up framing yourself as the very type of crackpot you were alleging of your opponents.
Democrat operative Kurt Bardella might help himself by stepping away from his appearances on MSNBC. That need to outstrip the hyperbolic claims of other panelists while on the air with Joy Reid or Nicolle Wallace is beginning to seep into his daily mindset.
How long until Republicans start floating policies to impose a dress code on women …— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) September 26, 2022
Gilded Reframe – THE GUARDIAN
The prospect of school districts banning books is such a self-made storyline that all a reporter needs is to get a few choice quotes, and they can submit their piece and hit the bars early. Of course, sometimes you run into the issue of facts screwing up the narrative, but hey – maybe the editor won't pick up on it!
The flaws emerge, though, with the core concept. Restricting some titles for age-appropriate content is not "banning books" any more than placing an R-rating on a motion picture to restrict under-17 youths is considered banning a movie. But it gets to be an even dumber accusation when the book is not restricted after all. After running the claim about a book series, "The Girls Who Code," being banned in Pennsylvania and conducting interviews with the publisher and the writers – who all appropriately displayed dismay and outrage at the restrictions – the paper had to "amend" their subheader and content.
- "A statement from officials in that district on Monday strongly denied that they had banned the book series, and called 'categorically false' information in a Business Insider interview with the founder of Girls Who Code, which reported the ban on the series. 'This book series has not been banned, and they remain available in our libraries,' the statement said."
Pennsylvania school district bans Girls Who Code book series https://t.co/KwoEH4Lfr4— The Guardian (@guardian) September 26, 2022