In a silent way

Readers who get their news from the the mainstream media are remarkably ill informed. Much of what they “know” isn’t true and much of what they don’t know is important. Take the case of what Byron York calls “the NASA (non) feeding frenzy.”
You know the story. The guy whom President Obama has put in charge of NASA reports that he has been tasked by President Obama with missions having nothing to do with space exploration. Perhaps the foremost of these missions is to make the Muslim world feel good about itself.
York originally reported the comments made by NASA administrator Charles Bolden to Al Jazeera several days ago. Yesterday York ran a Nexis search to see whether the news had made it into the mainstream media. York’s search produced this (utterly predictable) result:

Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program in the New York Times: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program in the Washington Post: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on NBC Nightly News: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on ABC World News: 0.
Total words about the NASA Muslim outreach program on CBS Evening News: 0.

York draws the conclusion: “If you were to receive your news from any one of these outlets, or even all of them together, and you heard about some sort of controversy involving the Obama administration redefining the space agency’s mission to feature outreach to Muslim countries, your response would be, ‘Huh?’ Among all the news these distinguished outlets have seen fit to cover in recent days, the NASA story has not made the cut.”
Andrew Malcolm credits York with reporting the underlying story and notes its lack of ignition: “You know how Wile E. Coyote straps himself to the rocket and lights the fuse? And it burns. And burns. Silence. Nothing. He’s poised, hopefully, awaiting launch. We wait, painfully, for the bad thing certain to happen. That’s what we’ve been doing for almost a week now, anticipating the explosive public reaction to word from NASA chief Charles Bolden that President Obama has tasked his once-fabled space agency with a brand-new earthbound mission that has absolutely nothing to do with space.”
Scott Ott lives on the Internet. He has not only gotten the news, he has followed up on it. Ott reports: “NASA to put Muslim on moon using Muslim technology.” Ouch.
The silent treatment accorded York’s story is not uncommon. Much the same occurred with the widely reported story of the phantom n-word supposedly shouted at black congressmen by Obamacare protesters on Capitol Hill on March 20.
Readers who consume the news online understand that the widely reported story was a fabrication, and that responsibility for the fabrication extended into the ranks of the Democratic congressional leadership. Even only moderately well informed citizens must be jaded by the mainstream media’s constant invocation of racist themes when it suits the media’s purposes. When the story doesn’t suit the media’s purposes, it gets the silent treatment. Most recently, the matter of the New Black Panther Party and J. Christian Adams is a story with a genuine racist component (or two) that has been accorded the silent treatment.
Tom Shales is the Washington Post television columnist. On Tuesday Shales saluted Larry King and his “niceness.” Shales concluded his column with this observation:

[W]hat happens on television invariably affects — and sometimes infects — American life, manners and mores. In March, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was shocked to be jeered and vilified by anti-health-care-reform demonstrators on Capitol Hill who used the most vile of racial epithets when screaming at him.
“It surprised me,” Lewis said afterward, “that people are so mean, and we can’t engage in a civil dialogue and debate.”
If he’d watched more cable TV, Lewis might not have been quite so surprised.

Lewis of course has refused to be interviewed about the alleged incident since he participated in circulating the fabricated story on March 20. He hit and ran.
As both a writer for and reader of the Washington Post, Shales has not gotten word that the claims of Lewis et al. were fabricated. Shales holds up the congressmen as exemplary and the protesters as blameworthy, but he is a fool writing for the clueless.

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