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"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.

01.26.23

Democratic Custodial Services – MSNBC

  • Andrea was so flustered at the accusations by Kevin McCarthy she almost displayed some emotion.

Watching Andrea Mitchell is a laborious process anymore. Her dispassionate delivery is so distancing she could bore a meth addict who has ADHD. In her report on Kevin McCarthy defending his decision to remove Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, Andrea was rather bothered by the accusation McCarthy made about Schiff having lied about Donald Trump as justification for his removal.

At least, we think she was bothered. Her modulation never wavered from the level of one notch above SNORING.

The real amusement is not just in her defense that there was no proof that Schiff had ever lied, but in her playing of a portion of McCarthy’s press conference, then cutting back to her in the studio – and avoiding the portion of the Speaker’s monologue where he listed off the examples of Adam Schiff lying in the past.

Artisanally-Crafted Narratives – NEWSWEEK

Meh, who needs reputable sourcing when reporting on the scandal-plagued career of Florida Representative Matt Gaetz?! Certainly, not James Bickerton, who decided to run with his entry about the possibility that Gaetz is involved in a homosexual affair with a staff member. This is based entirely, solely, and ridiculously on the words of Florida’s infamous fabulist, Rebekah Jones. 

That any outlet even listens to Jones in any capacity is itself a joke, but Bickerton gives every reason to stop reading his reporting – not just this piece, but any further ones going forward – with this brief nugget near the top of his “report”:

- "The allegation—presented without evidence by Rebekah Jones…"

Glossary Over Things – ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • The ongoing fight against…definite articles, in their articles.

The Associate Press Stylebook – the purported Bible for journalistic standards – has received a new change. Going forward, it is said that the use of “the” in particular references is to be suspended out of a sense of sensitivity…at least, we guess that is what is claimed?

- "We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing “'the' labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French…"

So, going forward, we expect you to refer to Parisians as “Individuals imbued with Francophile cultural designators.” The last thing we here at RFH want is to be accused of dehumanizing anyone.

Anti-Social Media – THE NEW YORK TIMES

  • Killing democracy through Facebook?! But President Biden said we’d need F-15s!

The announcement that Facebook is looking to reinstitute President Trump’s account has many in the press bothered, but probably none more so than Mara Gray of The Times. She sat in with the "Morning Joe" think tank and pontificated what it could mean for Trump to get his account reactivated.

She was not too hysterical in her prediction, just declaring that it would lead to the end of the country as we know it. Otherwise, everything else will be pretty normal.

Pre-Written Field Reports – CNN

CNN is on the scene to describe the dastardly after-effects of the new Florida law that places approval standards on books. It turns out that schools and teachers have to verify the appropriateness of certain titles for certain grades. CNN places scare quotes on the practice of “cataloging” books, a practice that has usually been in place but is today somehow different and pernicious.

In the report, it is even noted that “battles over access to controversial books have traditionally been fought,” but something is making this unique; now it is taking place in “Republican-controlled states.” Oh, dear!

Reporting on the Mirror – BUZZFEED

BuzzFeed is joining in with other publishers who are starting to use AI-generated content. The trick is going to be finding out if the quality of their listicles improves. 

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