Giving the author and organization the benefit of the doubt, I emailed them. I expressed my concern with their insinuations and phrasing, to explain that my role at the conference was to participate in a bipartisan panel on political violence. (I was notably attacked at a political event last year.) I even offered the author, Jared Holt, a quote for his story. I copied the editor as well. My email has yet to be answered, and the author, Jared Holt, blocked me on Twitter when I D.M.ed him about it.
To be fair, anyone regardless of race or social class can be guilty of problematic views, but to tie me to white supremacy as a means to score points off an event that conflicts with one’s worldview is to abuse one’s position a journalist and continue the trend of dishonesty in the media. RWW may not be the most respected media outlet in the country, but it ranks on Google and has been spoken highly of by respected media outlets such as The Washington Post and the New York Times.
The Right Wing Watch article that calls me, the director of Arizona’s Black Conservative Federation, a white supremacist is still up. So is the Daily Beast article and image that attempt to link Posobiec to Richard Spencer and two neo-Nazi brothers arrested in a violent plot. These are just two trespasses of many that the media will continue to get away with. Or will they?
If media elites continue to avoid facing the music for their deceit, public distrust in the media will continue to rise. This puts the onus on ethical journalists and outlets to self-regulate and purge unethical actors from their ranks. Could you imagine how much credibility the Washington Post or New York Times could gain by reporting an unpopular truth for once? So far, no one within the establishment media is willing to break from the new norm and call out activists parading around as journalists, which is somewhat surprising. In the old days, when a publication or outlet was caught lying, that would spell disaster. It would be blackballed by not only the public, but by other media entities, who would begin to look down on their competitor for being unethical. Now groupthink is proving difficult to break as the media share a certain camaraderie about their anti-conservative bias.
Proof of the establishment media’s refusal to break this cycle is the way they treated the Jim Acosta-W.H. intern tug-of-war for the microphone at President Trump’s post-midterm election press conference. Instead of taking the stance that the contact Acosta made with the intern was negligible or initiated by her, CNN took the position that Acosta never touched the intern, claiming that a video of the encounter released by the White House was doctored when it had simply been zoomed in and looped. CNN, which continues to be the most egregious violator of media ethics, has taken it upon itself to counter reality with a special kind of indifference.
Today, CNN finds itself in a legal battle over Acosta and his activism as MSNBC, ABC, and other news agencies are rushing to defend CNN as just, credible, and benevolent. But a few months ago, CNN published and retracted portions of a piece actually heralding the release of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)’s DNA ancestry test as if it were some kind of vindication for the politician. Most left-leaning outlets followed suit, leaving it up to conservative and independent media to deviate from that depiction, blasting Warren for using such low levels of American Indian ancestry to advance her career. If it were up to CNN, Elizabeth Warren would’ve been deemed the chair of the Native American Caucus, but thankfully, CNN isn’t the only media empire. It’s just the loudest and most brazen with its intention to engage in “narrative reporting” or “advocacy media.”
The percentage of Americans who trust the media is about what the percentage is of Americans who think the FDA is withholding the cure for cancer (40%). Such a predicament is contributing to real problems in the country. The media have been responsible for contributing to sensationalized rhetoric for some time now, but no time is more evident than the past three years.
The media have yet to hold themselves accountable, hyping up both sides of political protests, often sending conflicting groups into an event by riling them up with salacious headlines. The media have also circumvented blame for setting race dialogue back decades by focusing on stories of racial divisions as opposed to stories of racial unity.
There is a long list of societal problems perpetuated by media. This may be a problem created by corporatism, but it’s a problem that can be remedied by a few journalists and outlets taking an ethical stand by refusing to complicit in the trend of distorting reality to feed their anti-conservative appetite.