You’ve likely seen the sickening video. A mentally handicapped white teenager, having been abducted and bound, is then tortured by four black tormentors; they force him to say “F*** Trump!” and “F*** white people!” and flick cigarette ashes on a wound. They even make him drink from a toilet. Sadly, this also appears to be where one media outlet reporting on the story got its copy.
In what one commentator called “the single most despicable act of media bias I have ever encountered,” a Thursday morning CBS radio report (audio below) on the crime left listeners with the impression that the victim was a handicapped black teen — tortured by four white Trump supporters. Here’s the text of the broadcast, as rendered by Mediaite:
The viral video of a beating and knife attack in Chicago suggests the assault had racial overtones. CBS’s Dean Reynolds tells us the victim is described as a mentally-challenged teenager.
In the video he is choked and repeatedly called the n-word. His clothes are slashed and he is terrorized with a knife. His alleged captors repeatedly reference Donald Trump. Police are holding four people in connection with the attack. [Emphasis added by Mediaite.]
The broadcast was artful, in a Joseph Goebbels kind of way. As Mediaite points out, “The report is technically correct, but widely misleading. By noting the attackers used the n-word during a racially-motivated attack while 'referencing' Donald Trump, the clear implication is that the victim was black and his attackers were racist Trump fans.”
This risible reportage much reminds me of the old Cold War-era joke about a Soviet car losing in a race with an American car. The USSR report on the story went, “Soviet car comes in second in race. American car finishes next to last.”
Unfortunately, CBS’ sleight-of-hand is no laughing matter. Deceptive and disproportionate reporting on incidents involving blacks hurt or killed by whites (whether justified, as in self-defense actions, or not) have sparked anger leading to blacks attacking innocent people in retaliation. Lies kill. Does this matter at all to CBS?
It should also be emphasized what such dark reporting artistry implies. American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson explains, “Consider for a moment how difficult it must have been for CBS News employees to make themselves bulletproof (in their minds, at least) by being factual, yet create a counterfactual message in the minds of its listeners. This is the sort of lying that takes skill and practice.” It also had to have been carefully and calculatedly crafted, oriented toward a conscious goal to deceive.
One could wonder if those responsible for the report are cowards, fools, or sociopaths, but all that is currently known is that the fake news was delivered by long-time mainstream-media figure Dean Reynolds. As Lifson points out, we “have no way of knowing if Reynolds prepared the copy he [read] himself, or if it was prepared for him to read. I think that would be an important question for the head of CBS News [to] ascertain — if CBS has any integrity at all.”
Unfortunately, CBS is not alone; integrity is in short supply throughout the mainstream media. Just consider NBC’s deception vis-à-vis the 2012 shooting of black teen Trayvon Martin by community watchman George Zimmerman, where the network purposely edited the latter’s 911 call to make him appear bigoted. As National Review reported in 2014, first presenting part of the conversation between Zimmerman and the police dispatcher:
Dispatcher: Sanford Police Department.
Zimmerman: Hey we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy, uh, it’s Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy is he white, black, or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
Now compare that to what NBC reported on March 19, 2012, deleting the dispatcher’s critical question to make it sound as if Zimmerman both: (a) volunteered that Trayvon was black and, worse yet, (b) said Trayvon was up to no good because he was black. According to NBC’s report, Zimmerman stated: “He looks like he’s up to no good, he looks black.”
The dispatcher’s key question, asking for Trayvon’s race, curiously wound up on the cutting room floor.
We can’t know if NBC was driven by the quest for ratings, the desire to push a leftist narrative, or both. And an NBC producer ultimately was fired over the vile incident. Yet the damage caused by it — and biased reporting in the rest of the media — was done: A spate of attacks on innocent people ensued, sometimes resulting in murder.
As for the media’s murder of the truth, can anything be done? Lifson proposes one idea:
Does the Federal Communications Commission have any jurisdiction over the deliberate broadcast of false, inflammatory reports designed to mislead the public? I know that radio and television licenses are granted on the condition that stations operate “in the public interest.” CBS maintains a large collection of “owned and operated” affiliates in the television industry — 14 major markets — and owns and operates 117 radio stations in all of the major markets, most or all of which may have broadcast the deliberate distortion. These broadcast licenses are worth many billions of dollars, and according to Variety, the corporate parent is planning to sell off the radio group.
Deliberate distortion of the news to create an impression exactly opposite of the true facts cannot be considered operating in the public interest, can it? Particularly when the report could reasonably be expected to aggravate racial tensions.
There may be an opportunity available for a challenge to CBS’s broadcast licenses on the basis of deliberate, racially inflammatory falsehoods being broadcast. A major broadcaster at the time, RKO General, was stripped of the license to broadcast on Channel 7 in Boston for corporate misbehavior, suffering a loss valued well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Whatever remedies we pursue in a given situation, however, they are but sticking fingers in holes in a dam. Just as people get the government they deserve, they also, in a sense, get the media they deserve. As long as Americans continue imbibing mainstream-media fake news, as opposed to giving their eyes and ears to and thus empowering legitimate new-media sources, they’ll continue being faked out. To use a twist on Timothy Leary’s famous line, it’s time to turn on, tune in, and drop out — of the Mainstream Media Matrix.