Normally I wouldn't waste digital ink on something this trivial, but CNN contributor and Breitbart acolyte Dana Loesch's misguided swipe at Politico yesterday is representative, I think, of the right-wing blogosphere's twisted view of the media.
Here's what Loesch wrote, under the headline "Politico's Interesting Way of Reporting Fox Hack":
Ben Smith linked to a progressive website discussing the Fox Twitter hack but made no mention of it on their website.
Fox Twitter account falsely announces Pres. Obama's assassination.
Because they made no mention that Fox's account was hacked and not that Fox simply lied, the comments are entertaining:
It's enough to beg the question whether it was done purposefully simply so such a narrative could be set.
First, matters of simple factual accuracy: Ben Smith did not write the post, Politico reporter Byron Tau did. Also, Politico published an Associated Press article on the Fox News Twitter hack several hours before Tau posted, so to claim that this was how Politico "report[ed]" the hack is misleading.
But those are minor quibbles, and if she had simply complained that Tau didn't specifically mention the hack (even though it was made clear in the Talking Points Memo article he linked to), that wouldn't have been a big deal. What's more interesting is the conclusion Loesch draws from all this: "It's enough to beg the question whether it was done purposefully simply so such a narrative could be set."
Only someone with an unhealthily warped view of the press would arrive at such a theory.
Let's rehash this, just so we're clear. According to Loesch, it's possible that Politico's Byron Tau decided that he was going to start a counterfactual anti-Fox News "narrative" by linking to an article that accurately described the circumstances of the hack, but not spelling that out word-for-word in the actual post. What's more, Tau apparently decided to get this "narrative" going by writing only one sentence on it in a link round-up posted on July 4, when no one would see it, and not write a single word of follow-up.
That is not how media outlets set "narratives." They do it by presenting the same story, from the same point of view, relentlessly over and over.
One encounters this sort of media criticism on the right all the time. They start at the conclusion that the media is one big liberal conspiracy and work backward, cherry-picking the examples that support the predetermined outcome and disregarding everything else. From that cynical and misguided vantage point, an imprecisely constructed sentence in a single blog post is evidence enough of bias and perfidy.