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WaPo Struggles After the Pelosi Video

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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.

01.31.23

News Avoidance Syndrome – VARIOUS OUTLETS

The Wall Street Journal has some new details regarding the story of the president's classified documents that continues to deliver bad news…as much for the news outlets as it does for Jose Biden. One of the contrarian questions that has been uttered frequently has been, "When will the FBI see fit to raid Biden's think tank, or his home, in search of documents?! "This, of course, springs off of the Feds' willingness to go into Mar-a-Lago. 

Well, here is a bit of a surprising development – it turns out the FBI has already paid a visit to Biden! We learn today that the DOJ had some interest in Biden after all, it is just that somehow this did not creep its way into the news narrative. It turns out that over two months ago, the agency conducted a search of Biden's think tank in Pittsburgh; this just never seemed to measure up to being newsworthy, apparently.

- "The Federal Bureau of Investigation searched President Biden's former office at a Washington think tank for classified documents in November, people familiar with the matter said. Neither the White House nor the Justice Department mentioned the November office search even as officials offered timelines of the discoveries and Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to examine why and how the documents followed Mr. Biden. Mr. Garland said the FBI on Nov. 9 began assessing whether classified material had been mishandled in violation of federal law."

So as the initial documents were discovered a week earlier, the DOJ and FBI went in – the day after the midterms, and this little nugget has not been reported previously. Now let us compare the apathy in reporting here to last summer when we had on-the-spot coverage the day Mar-a-Lago was raided. Then there is another detail we see of interest; make that a non-detail.

- "It couldn't be determined whether investigators found any additional items in the search."

Uh-huh. Interesting that in the days immediately following Trump's raid, details of what was found had been reported, we had photographs circulated that were taken on the scene, and we were delivered regular leaked details about the documents that were obtained. Here we are months after the documents were discovered, and we are just now learning of FBI activity, and there are barely any specifics about these documents to be reported.

Artisanally-Crafted Narratives – WASHINGTON POST

Following the release of the police footage from the night of the Paul Pelosi attack, it is time for media revisionism to take place. At WaPo, Aaron Blake takes a look at the conspiracy theories that sprung up from the night of Pelosi's attack – he just does not take a look at all of them. 

It seems quite convenient to conduct a post-mortem that only focuses on the speculation seen from the right over the past few months. Of course, it could be pretty uncomfortable for Blake to impugn all of the news outlets that spent the weeks ahead of the election claiming that Pelosi had been attacked by a conservative operative who was driven to attack by right-wing media.

Pathological Media Amnesia – WASHINGTON POST

Despite his colleague showing how the Pelosi video dispelled conspiracies, Mr. Bump has to cling to his previous column entry when he suggested the last thing we wanted was this video to get out; that releasing the facts would somehow only fuel baseless conspiracies.

But what is most amusing is that in a lengthy column where he disparages conspiracies, Bump not only extends the fallacy that was pushed by the media (that DePape is a righty) but he invokes the source that so many in the press love – the long shutdown outlet, QAnon.

- "The attacker espoused right-wing rhetoric no doubt contributed to the effort to instead center questions on Pelosi. The most extreme version of this idea is the most explicit: QAnon. It holds, in most formulations, that there is a devious cabal of evil actors — Democratic leaders, Hollywood elites (a.k.a. liberal Democrats) and the media (a.k.a. liberal Democrats)."

Low Octane Gas Lighting – MSNBC

  • Trying to repurpose the most blatant lie from the past year is not clever, it is desperation.

In Florida, Ron DeSantis has really rankled the media by having the state Department of Education remove a course study of CRT black history. That has led to all manner of hysterics. As we detailed here yesterday, one local NPR affiliate in Florida underscored this removal and claimed teachers had to remove shelves of books to avoid criminal charges.

The latest is that now DeSantis is removing black history from schools. Again, this is a solitary course, being revised to meet state standards and resubmitted for approval this week. Claims that Florida is removing black history are not just incorrect, they are lies. Florida has a law where the Holocaust and black history are required in school curriculums. That is a law signed by Ron DeSantis. Of course, this does not impact the idiotic outrage from the likes of Mehdi Hasan, who is trying to get a new catchphrase to catch on. "Don't Say Black" is no less desperate than it sounded in its original form last year. 

Pulitzer Prize Nomination – NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

Seemingly, there has been a rash of parents contacting doctors with concerns after their children have inadvertently swallowed the tiny head from the characters of Lego brand toy sets.

- "Sure, you can reassure parents one-by-one that they probably don't need to come to the emergency room—or, worse yet, dig through their kid's poop—in search of the everyday object. But Andy and five other pediatricians wondered, is there a way to get this message out ... through science?"

Their solution: Instead of informing parents that the tiny plastic piece will be passed by their children safely, these pediatricians instead decided that they would swallow a plastic head – and then filter through their own leavings to recover the pieces. 

- "Researchers then measured the time it took for the gulped Lego heads to be passed. The time interval was given a Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score."

All this, because simply telling a parent not to worry was apparently too much effort.

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