"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.
Presentation Paradox – WASHINGTON POST
It gets to be little more than a punchline anymore, but we get an object lesson from the Washington Post on the latest example of systemic racism. The Discovery Channel’s annual hit "Shark Week" is both racist and sexist!
Sensing blood in the water, Daniel Wu dangles this clickbait that far too many white dudes are seen on camera by the Evinrude, and this prevents women from entering the marine biology field. This was according to the female experts who are, in fact, in the field, and also reported that more than half of those studying sharks are women. But, there are not enough on camera, it seems, so this is hateful or such.
WaPo ‘Shark Week’ Expose’: White Men Named Mike Bigoted Against Sharks! https://t.co/uuPDZ1ht8t— RedState (@RedState) December 6, 2022
Prose & Contradiction – WASHINGTON POST
Anytime you see a news feature or a pundit using the words “chill” or “chilling,” you can be certain you are due for the delivery of some vacuous emotional pontificating that is light on the facts. This weekend, Karen Attiah wrote a piece in defense of Tiffany Cross, who was recently fired from her weekend show on MSNBC.
Attiah clearly failed to look into the matter behind her firing (blatantly incendiary comments made repeatedly) as well as failing to research the network itself. Instead, she rested on the lazy assumption that racism was behind the move.
- "It was a stunning announcement — and, particularly for Black journalists, a reminder that the rug could be pulled out from under us at any time. It’s all a bad look, sending the message that we can be abruptly de-platformed for stirring up the right-wing media pot. Two years after the supposed 'global reckoning' on race, we are still disposable."
Making this claim of some kind of systemic racism difficult to believe is the fact that MSNBC retains numerous hosts – Joy Reid, Alex Wagner, Symone Sanders – who are females of color. Making it completely impossible to believe is the fact that the network President is Rashida Jones.
Reporting on the Mirror – SEMAFOR
- Learning that money is also green.
The sparkling new outlet Semafor is going through its share of growing pains. Recently we covered how the site not only got a story wrong suggesting crypto scammer Sam Bankman-Fried was getting a major piece of Elon’s Twitter, but it exposed that Semafor had itself been funded with a large investment from SBF himself.
Now we cut back to a segment we ran in October when we detailed how the site offers up a newsletter on the environment that carried a curious sponsorship from Chevron Oil. That apparent conflict has caused that newsletter’s writer, Bill Spindle, to step away because the owners are more beholden to the sponsorship than the need to present its content in a cleaner fashion.
My final story after a short but productive run as Climate Editor @Semafor — one marred, sadly, by an over-dependence on Chevron sponsorship. But that’s for a future post. For now…1/2 https://t.co/SLnXHJbxjt— Bill Spindle (@BillSpindle) December 2, 2022
Low Octane Gas Lighting – CNN
- We need to revisit all of the bills Kanye West sponsored in Congress!
One of the pitfalls of attaching to a personality for political gain is that they can self-destruct all over, and then operatives can leverage that implosion for their political gain. This has been the case with Kanye West spouting off his completely unhinged support of Hitler.
Sensing the opportunity, we see the never-objective Oliver Darcy leaping up to declare that the rap star’s mental episode on camera is somehow reflective of the entire Republican Party. Somehow a singer with no political juice and never elected to anything has become the mouthpiece of the GOP, out of convenience.
Kanye West's descent into full Nazism is also an indictment of the Republican Party and right-wing media stars like Tucker Carlson. pic.twitter.com/qUpRi1X7b2— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 2, 2022
Matching Media Memorandum – WASHINGTON POST
- Most everyone stopped listening before he went on InfoWars, but not Philip Bump.
It is rather obvious that almost everyone on the right was unimpressed with Kanye as a political force. Yes, some embraced him coming across the aisle, but that never once translated to true policy influence. Just look at how weeks ago, when he sported an “All Lives Matter” outfit, hardly anyone was moved.
Then came the announcement that Kanye would sit in for a segment with Alex Jones on InfoWars, and that largely inspired most thinking individuals to seek out other distractions. But not the media. Even as Philip Bump eagerly went to watch the ensuing carnage, he indicated all the thinking behind not watching.
- "Then Ye went on Alex Jones’s radio show (oof) with Fuentes (ouch) and proceeded to praise both Nazis in general and Hitler specifically (a yike of world-historic proportions). And with that, Ye went from shaky asset to obvious liability.
Ye was a Black member of the elite who said the things about the left that any Trump ally in good standing would say. So the right held him tight even as his endless repositioning threatened to see him slip their grasp."
Despite Kanye never moving the needle politically, here is Bump acting desperate that his views represent all of those on the right.
Both Kinds of Standards – VARIOUS OUTLETS
- Funny how a personal fiasco does not taint the news industry.
As an example of how the game of blame is rigged for one side, let us note the news yesterday of a conviction that manages to not taint those who formerly embraced the individual. When the press latches onto a personality who eventually becomes a severe embarrassment, it is more than convenient how those touting them never bear the same level of responsibility they are currently trying to force onto the right.
If Kanye is the new exemplar of conservatives, then shouldn’t the media complex be saddled with the criminal activities of Michael Avenatti? This is a man they gave copious airtime as he was lashing out at Donald Trump, and more than one person at CNN was pushing for the man to run for President. Now, as he is sent away to prison, few in media circles are embracing the man today – and fewer are being held responsible.
CBS and NBC's evening shows both ignored Michael Avenatti being sentenced to 14 years in prison.— Media Research Center (@theMRC) December 6, 2022
Reminder: Avenatti appeared on-air over 250 times in one year. https://t.co/rOpNPvGYKy
Pulitzer Prize Nomination – WASHINGTON POST
Maybe this feature is serving as a metaphor for everyone looking to expunge involvement from the record. WaPo looks at the Kanye West Nazi debacle and finds just the perfect story to put a bow on his involvement entirely. They found a clinic that will remove your Kanye tattoo. Free of charge.
Regret your Kanye West tattoo? This studio will remove it for free. https://t.co/mZRBa7u5dX— Jennifer Hassan (@GuinnessKebab) December 1, 2022