“Anything is better than lies and deceit!”
-Leo Tolstoy (maybe)
5 Times the Media Was Full of Sh*t
“Fake news” unfortunately isn’t just an opinion that certain political figures have grown to adopt over a tumultuous election period. Media bias and manipulation has been a long standing occurrence, which has been exasperated by the need to drive ratings in the ever evolving 24 hour news cycle.
At one point television news was run as a public service, with an hour of advertisement free informative news with zero bias or monetary consideration. It has evolved into what is more than just various degrees of Buzzfeed absurdity, with left leaning, right leaning, and the growing extinct centrist news outlets. Combine this with everyone (including us here) having the ability to weigh in on current events with the internet and social media, and the respect that journalism once carried has gone by the wayside.
Everyone has an agenda of sorts, malicious or not. This leads to some news bullsh*t. And here are 5 great examples.
Caution Tape, Caught on Tape
This one speaks for itself. Courtesy of the people at Good Morning America and ABC, they were reporting on the horrendous case of serial killer Todd Kohlhepp, in South Carolina. The bodies of numerous people were found on his large property, and he is currently attributed to as many as 7 murders over the course of more than a decade.
But the problem was his property was bit too large, and the news reporters couldn’t get that close to the crime scene itself. What better way to create some drama than to add a little bit of police tape strung up by a C-stand and a tripod?
This one is pretty innocent, but funny nevertheless. Next time, don’t let anyone get behind the scenes footage GMA.
The Satellite Feed
Everyones favorite news personality, Nancy Grace, is at the heart of this hilarious piece of bullsh*t. The effort that goes into shooting a split screen “satellite” news report, even though your anchors are literally with in a few feet of each other, is almost masterful in manipulation.
Sometimes you just need two camera feeds to seem credible.
The George Zimmerman Audio
Here is a great write up done by the Washington Post done on the specifics of the audio changes. The uproar is rightly deserved, due to the selective changes in how the audio was released seemed to imply a much larger race factor into the shooting of the innocent teen Trayvon Martin, which already had been a tense and divisive topic.
This was such a high profile case of media manipulation, that the HBO series The Newsroom had an episode dedicated to their retelling of the audio editing events.
Jimmy’s World, an article and “expose” written for the Washington Post (that can be read here), was penned by former journalist Janet Cooke in 1981 about an 8 year old heroin addict named Jimmy. The story was gripping and heartbreaking, so much so in fact, it won her a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting.
The only problem was the fact that she made the whole thing up. Her article was so convincing, then D.C. Mayor Marion Barry searched for the young “Jimmy”, and unable to find him and with mounting public pressure, ALSO lied about “Jimmy”. Barry reported he was found and in treatment, but subsequently had died days later.
Cooke had her Pulitzer revoked, later confessing that she had heard about a story of a supposed “Jimmy”, but couldn’t find any more information about him. Among the details being eventually vetted about the story, they also found out that Cooke had faked her college degrees and writing awards.
Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez is quoted as saying “…it was unfair that she won the Pulitzer prize, but also unfair that she didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
Stephen Glass, a reporter for The New Republic, had risen amongst the ranks with his exceptional journalism and captivating reports. Finally rising to Assistant Editor in 1998, he had rode his success to the top in short fashion.
In 1998 he had written a story about a young 15 year old hacker who, after infiltrating a company named “Jukt Micronics”, was hired to come on as a consultant. After the compelling and almost cinematic story had been released, a reporter for Forbes had adopted the task of verifying the claims made in the article.
After finding almost no online or physical paper trail about “Jukt Micronics”, the suspicions were nearly confirmed about Glass and his career. After being confronted by the Forbes reporter, The New Republic pursued verifying the details of the article, with Glass claiming he had been the victim of deception. Eventually they were able to speak with a man named George Sims, claiming to be an executive of Jukt, which almost provided physical evidence of such a company.
In reality they spoke with Glass’ brother playing the role of Sims, in an attempt to save face and confirm his story.
With the house of cards built by Glass crumbling, it officially put the nail in the coffin on Glass’ journalism career. After the fallout, The New Republic came out to verify that 27 out of 41 articles written by Glass contained fabricated information, with other publications also combing through the details of his written works.
With so many theatrics surrounding Glass’ career, the film Shattered Glass memorialized and properly fictionalized the events of this exposed writer.