Truth in Journalism


From
The New York Times:

For more than a week, a plain-spoken former federal prosecutor named Sidney Powell made the rounds on right-wing talk radio and cable news, facing little pushback as she laid out a conspiracy theory that Venezuela, Cuba and other “communist” interests had used a secret algorithm to hack into voting machines and steal millions of votes from President Trump.

She spoke mostly uninterrupted for nearly 20 minutes on Monday on the “Rush Limbaugh Show,” the No. 1 program on talk radio. Hosts like Mark Levin, who has the fourth-largest talk radio audience, and Lou Dobbs of Fox Business praised her patriotism and courage.

So it came as most unwelcome news to the president’s defenders when Tucker Carlson, host of an 8 p.m. Fox News show and a confidant of Mr. Trump, dissected Ms. Powell’s claims as unreliable and unproven.

“What Powell was describing would amount to the single greatest crime in American history,” Mr. Carlson said on Thursday night, his voice ringing with incredulity in a 10-minute monologue at the top of his show. “Millions of votes stolen in a day. Democracy destroyed. The end of our centuries-old system of government.” But, he said, when he invited Ms. Powell on his show to share her evidence, she became “angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

The response was immediate, and hostile. The president’s allies in conservative media and their legions of devoted Trump fans quickly closed ranks behind Ms. Powell and her case on behalf of the president, accusing the Fox host of betrayal.

“How quickly we turn on our own,” said Bo Snerdley, Mr. Limbaugh’s producer, in a Twitter post that was indicative of the backlash against Mr. Carlson. “Where is the ‘evidence’ the election was fair?”

How sad, how disgusting.  “We turn on our own?” Is there any attempt whatsoever to report the truth, rather than concoct garbage the supports the ends of one particular ideology?

What a lovely coincidence it is that this happens to be the birthday of 19th Century English novelist George Eliot, born Mary Anne Evans, who said, “My only desire is to know the truth, my only fear to cling to error.”

It’s a beautiful statement, but one far more suited for the times when honor and integrity had real meaning.  The 21st Century, by contrast, is a time in which what we receive as “news” is manufactured by human cockroaches like Limbaugh’s producer.