"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.
Prose & Contradiction – CNN
- I’m sorry, but how does accuracy fuel conspiracies, exactly…?
On CNN’s reconstituted morning show, they invited pandemic celebrity Dr. Leana Wen to join them and discuss some new findings that were recently released about hospitals overcounting of Covid deaths, and this was a concern for co-hostess Poppy Harlow.
She was not concerned about accurately reporting these deaths, mind you – Harlow was concerned about what releasing new factual data could lead to.
This is something.— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) January 17, 2023
Poppy Harlow worries that being honest about how hospitals overcounted COVID deaths may bolster conspiracy theorists, "anti-vaxxers," or folks who downplay COVID.
This is instructive: she's implying it's better to lie for what she thinks is the greater good. pic.twitter.com/WJmp42lmNQ
Let’s take a moment to reflect on this. After years of the press braying about how important it was to fight back on Covid disinformation, we have seen them now evolve to the point that they are combating the release of fact-based data points about Covid deaths because that could give conspiracies more weight. Facts, Poppy, dispel conspiracies. And she is expressing concern that giving out facts about overcounting Covid deaths could give anti-vaxxers more ammunition.
Both Kinds of Standards – ABC NEWS
The Jose Biden classified documents issue continues to be a vexing challenge for the press. How, exactly, can they excuse away the criminality of his actions after spending half a year demonizing Trump over the very same act? One attempt is to bring on experts to dismiss the seriousness on their behalf – and Biden’s behalf, by extension.
At ABC News, they brought in John Cohen, former acting undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, to tell everyone just how this can be regarded as no small matter. Cohen’s summation is rather weak: it was all just a big ole’ accident.
- "But, we have not heard yet whether cover sheets were on the material found in the Biden home. So, there's a lot to learn still. Security violations sound very, very nefarious, but in many cases, they're just accidents. In many cases, they're people who were a little bit careless or maybe didn't, weren't as careful as they should be. And they accidentally mixed up some papers. They got packed in a box and they got stored away."
TRUMP = A dire threat to national security, potential global implications, and assured criminal behavior.
BIDEN = Whoops, he just got scattered with all these papers laying around!
"Security violations sound very, very nefarious, but in many cases, they're just accidents."— ABC News (@ABC) January 16, 2023
A former Homeland Security official weighs in on the Biden classified document probe. https://t.co/Hqv6JJsUi2
Pounce of Prevention – NEWSWEEK
During his speech to commemorate Martin Luther King Day, we mentioned there were numerous times Biden spoke in hand grenades. At another moment, the president attempted to sing Happy Birthday to MLK’s widow, and things went just about as well as expected.
- "Biden brought attention to the fact that Arndrea Waters King is sharing her birthday with Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, and encouraged the attendees to sing 'happy birthday.' However, he appeared to mumble when time came time came to sing Waters King's first name."
When social media erupted with the audacity that Biden once again displayed his mental dexterity – this time forgetting the name of the famous woman he was honoring – Newsweek responded by rising up to note Biden was being victimized, as people attacked him with…evidence of his hobbled mental faculties?
President Joe Biden has been the victim of ridicule online after forgetting the name of the wife of Martin Luther King III while singing her happy birthday.— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 17, 2023
🔗- https://t.co/MRiXhkdT4A pic.twitter.com/gORq2S9CWm
Blue-Anon – FORBES
HBO Max has just debuted a new version of the Scooby-Doo franchise, a reworked prequel of sorts. Written for adults, “Velma” presents the familiar cast of characters in a new, contemporary light, filtering everything through a woke prism and delivering a bastardized version of the classic show. By most measurements, this is a complete disaster, so much so that there are emerging theories that this was done intentionally.
A conspiracy has cropped up that suggests this is actually a conservative plot, a severe parody of woke Hollywood that was released to display all the problems with virtue signaling and give those on the right fodder to lambaste the studio system. The only thing funnier than this crackpot explanation is writer Paul Tassi giving this premise any legitimacy at all.
- "Yet if that wasn’t the intent of the show, it sure feels like it in practice. On one side, it absolutely is working to spark mockery from the right, exactly as you might imagine it would. But on the other, it’s just not defensible at all by those who would normally welcome a progressive series."
The only thing better is that later, Tassi explains that he heard the show described as being created by those in the industry for those in the industry. So either this was the hyper-leftists in Hollywood appealing to their woke acolytes, or it was a nefarious plot from evil conservatives. Uh-huh.
HBO’s Scoobie-Doo Reboot 'Velma' Is So Bad Some Call It a Planted Conservative Commentary at Wokeism— RedState (@RedState) January 17, 2023
Body Checking the Fact-Checkers – USA TODAY
President Smokemachine has been spewing out a number of things this past week that are deeply in need of corrective journalism. Glenn Kessler is busy running defense. CNN’s Daniel Dale has gone missing. Meanwhile, over at USA Today, they looked over all of Biden’s factual problems and have decided that it is simply too much to cover.
So instead, they go forward with the explosive verification that, as it turns out, the Earth is not actually flat but globular in shape.
The claim: Moon visible in the daytime proves Earth is flathttps://t.co/XAPmwYfdO7— Dave Agar (@dave1agar) January 16, 2023