How the Liberal Press Shapes the News

We have been writing for years about how the liberal press drives narratives that proceed from its own political preferences, and then reports on those narratives as though they were news. It has gotten to the point where what passes for news reporting is mostly spin and opinion, liberally laced with anonymous leaks. This article describes the process as it relates to reporting on Elizabeth Warren. What makes it entertaining is that it appears in Rolling Stone! Copious links are omitted:

The headline in the New York Times reads: “Sanders and Warren Meet and Agree: They Both Are Probably Running.”
The gist of the new Times piece is that the Warren and Sanders, if they do run, “will not enjoy an easy path to the nomination.” Both are described as having political vulnerabilities that will force them to face questions or “concerns.” (This is code for, “they’ll get beat up by the media.”)

It’s way too early for this nonsense.

We’re 23 months away from Election Day. … In December 2014, news that Jeb Bush would “actively explore” a run for president put “the onus on all the other GOP candidates to get their ducks in a row — in a hurry,” according to the Washington Post. Bush ended up with three delegates, beaten soundly by one of the last candidates to declare.

When Donald Trump appeared on the board for British odds makers in early 2016, he was a 339-1 bet. George Clooney, meanwhile was a 53-1 bet heading into 2015.


Media critics like Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) have pointed out that early campaign coverage is often an absurd tautology. We get stories about how so-and-so is the “presumptive frontrunner,” but early poll results are heavily influenced by name recognition. This, in turn, is a function of how much coverage a candidate gets.

Essentially, we write the most about the candidate we write the most about.

We do this with polls, but also narratives. Is Howard Dean “too liberal” to win? He is if you write 10,000 articles about it.

You’ll often see this “we think this because we think this” trick couched in delicate verbiage.

Now comes the good part:

Common phrases used to camouflage invented narratives include “whispers abound,” “questions linger” and today’s golden oldie from the Times, “concerns” (as in, the prospect of Warren and Sanders running has “stirred concerns”).

Warren recently also has been hit with bad-coverage synonyms like a “lingering cloud” (the Times), a “darkening cloud” (the Globe) and “controversy” that “reverberates” (the Washington Post).

The papers are all citing each other’s negative stories as evidence for Warren’s problems. It’s comic, once you lay it all out.

The Boston Globe earlier this week wrote: “It’s been a rough few weeks for Warren’s White House hopes. Does it matter?”

The Globe cited an earlier negative article in the Times with the headline “Elizabeth Warren Stands By Her DNA Test. But Around Her, Worries Abound.” (“Worries abound” is another tired campaign-ism.)

The Globe cited the Washington Post article as part of Warren’s darkening “cloud.” Meanwhile, the Post article mentioned, as part of Warren’s reverberating “controversy,” an earlier editorial in the Globe. The Globe then mentioned its own earlier op-ed, the same one the Post referenced (“mix that together with an unflattering editorial from her hometown paper,” the Globe wrote, about itself).

What’s funny about the Rolling Stone piece is that the author is a leftist who is annoyed that the liberal press deems Warren and Sanders losers, and is trying to block them from getting the Democratic Party nomination. It may not have occurred to him that one could write a 1,000-page treatise on how the press has tried to destroy the Trump administration by “reporting” on its own “concerns” about that administration, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.

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