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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.

01.30.23

Anti-Social Media – VARIOUS OUTLETS

Hot on the skates of Philadelphia defenseman Ivan Provolov becoming the target of self-important yet trivial hockey journalists for choosing to sit out a pre-game skate session with pride jerseys, now comes the next hockey target – the entire New York Rangers team!

On Friday, the franchise was staging its annual recognition of LGBT+ issues with its Pride Night – but all was not rainbows and smiles. It turned out, despite prior announcements, the team did not take the ice for warm-ups wearing pride-adorned jerseys and multi-colored stick tape, a likely reaction to the ginned-up controversy involving Provolov. This, as we have come to expect, has angered many in the sports press, their very likes responsible for making such decisions controversial weeks ago. Mollie Walker of the New York Post wrote, "It's ironic that the reversed decision to forgo the special warm-ups and tape was presumably made to avoid a public relations mess. Instead, that's exactly what has happened."

But it was not as if the franchise ignored gay pride this night, the seventh year the Rangers have staged a Pride Night at The Garden.

- "The Rangers' 7th annual Pride Night was celebrated throughout the game in other ways. Fans were given a pride-themed fanny pack as a giveaway. The exterior and interior lights at Madison Square Garden were illuminated in rainbow colors. The Rangers also made a charitable donation to the Ali Forney Center on Pride Night, the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ+ homeless youths in the country. Andre Thomas, co-chair of NYC Pride and Heritage of Pride, participated in the ceremonial puck drop."

Apparently, though, if there is not 100% compulsory participation involved with an inclusion campaign, you will be accused of being homophobic and intolerant.

Matching Media Memorandum – VARIOUS OUTLETS

  • The press reporting on speculation has little to say once the facts come in.

Recall the shooting in Monterey Park, California, that had many dismayed and delivered all manner of promised threats to the Asian community. We were told this was seen as a direct targeting of Asian Americans and how those from that culture were considered a target of vile racism based on little more than their heritage.

We are currently seeing a desire in the press to make the death of Tyre Nichols as a result of police brutality made into a racial issue when it is not. As an object lesson for this, we take a look over the Monterey Park coverage.

We have since learned that the shooting was conducted by an elderly Asian American and that the community at large had not been targeted. It turned out to be a crime of passion, as the shooter is believed to have been targeting – his ex-wife. 

- "The gunman behind the deadly dance hall shooting in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park may have been targeting his ex-wife on the Lunar New Year, the city's mayor said Monday. That revelation came as investigators are focused on a personal motive and have discounted hate crime or terrorism as a possible inspiration for the attack."

Now, let us take a look at the advanced speculation from the press and note the lack of breathless follow-up coverage.

  • NPR – Asian Americans across the country are feeling rattled by the mass shooting.
  • THE NEW YORKER – "We're still viewed as alien by many; unassimilable."
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES – "Hate crimes in California increased 177.5%"
  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – "F*** Trump and the right for instigating this rise in anti-Asian hate."
  • THE YOUNG TURKS – "Republicans are constantly spreading fear about immigrants"
  • THE LAYOLAN – "Many Asian-descent communities had already been feeling unsafe and unwanted due to three years of [COVID-19-linked] violence."

DNC PR Firm – NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

  • Not our fault the lone person on the right declined to meet with our list of liberal guests decrying DeSantis!

In what might be the best example of the liberal tilt of NPR and the slanted approach to state politics from the press in Florida, Jacksonville's NPR station, WJCT, held a one-hour show going over the issue of school books in Florida classrooms being targeted by the DeSantis administration.

Already we have seen skewed reports featuring classrooms with dramatically empty bookshelves, allegedly due to teachers being forced to expunge books as a result of the new classroom standards. (Teachers could actually remove choice titles if they are no longer approved, but one missing novel is not dramatic enough to deliver the narrative.) At the Jacksonville station, they were diligent to cover – one side of the story.

On the first half of the show, they featured lawyer Ben Crump representing students who will be suing the Department of Education. They moved to a panel consisting of a history professor opposed to the new law, a local reporter opposed to the new law, and state representative Shevron Jones, a Democrat opposed to the law. The second half of the show featured teachers who allegedly have to remove or cover up books due to the law and spoke with the perpetually-biased Jedd Legum on this issue. 

The station explained it had no dissenting voice on the topic because they apparently asked for one voice to come on the show. It was explained that the Florida Department of Education “di"didn'tke a spokesperson available to talk with us.”

A" far as asking any conservative professors, members of the press, or state Republicans to come on, there was no such explanation.

Demo-lition Project – CNN

Looking over things at CNN, it appears the repair work is still needed. What makes this newest dose of news notable is that the changes announced are in regard to previous fixes that had been put in place.

On the reconstituted morning program – cleverly entitled "CNN This Morning" – there is already an overhaul, as CEO Chris Licht has decided to move executive producer Eric Hall, who is being pulled and brought over to work on the Laura Coates show, playing at 11 pm. What makes this telling is that Licht made the morning program one of his first scheduling moves since his gradual takeover of the network, and this shift is taking place after just three months. 

CNNTM saw Don Lemon moved from his primetime slot, joined by Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, and it has not been a growth enterprise. Taking over from the prior show "New Day" should have been a choice opportunity given that lineup was put in place in the Spring 2021, and it experienced steadily eroding ratings. Lemon and the ladies have seen their lowest numbers since their move, with "Fo" & Friends" t"ipling their audience.

Overall, CNN has been moribund across their schedule. They just experienced a daytime average that was below 450,000, the first time they saw those figures in nine years.

Anti-Social Media – THE ATLANTIC

  • Seems it is just disturbing based on certain sports…

Religious writer Shadi Hamid had been toddling around the city of Philadelphia and became particularly bothered by the fact that a city about to see its team make a bid to appear in the Super Bowl was caught up in the sports furor. Hamid was particularly bothered to see so many fans walking arounEagles'gles' gear.

Interesting was the dichotomy when previously he was in the company of passionate soccer fans, and he likened their fervent devotion to a sports team to being on par with a religious experience.

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