The Washington Post Take-down by Shaun King about Bernie Bros Harassing Reporters: Illogical, Desperate and Factually Incorrect
So this Shaun King post alleging “corporate conspiracy” against The Washington Post has been shared 2200 times thus far. It’s a faulty argument and sidesteps sexism and online bullying. For me, this is evidence of group think and lazy hive mentality. Activist-writer Shaun King, who I’ve seen make blatantly logic-bending irrational arguments in the past for Bernie Sanders or issues of social justice, truly misses the forest through the trees. He will always claim the target of his criticism has an untoward agenda, when his readers fail to see the agenda he indulges by sensationalizing news events on the pages of the New York Daily News and multiple social media platforms. To me, the massive number of comments defending King’s claims show the real “sheep.” And highlight a real problem in American politics: a feedback loop / echo chamber of knee-jerk horror. I can say this because I used to be one of those followers. Years ago, I ate up drivel that is as intellectually polluted as Fox News.
The June 7 Washington Post article I posted on Facebook yesterday addresses sexism and vitriol by Bernie supporters, but apparently can be completely dismissed — and a bring about added charges of intentional “lies” and “disgusting” media bias by King and others — because of a single photo at the top of the story of a Trump supporter being egged by angry protesters. The headline is: “The Bernie Bros are out in full force harassing female reporters.” June 7 Tweets were reported, like one to NPR reporter Tamara Keith saying “good job lying about the primary you dumb c — ” (see above). The picture was incidental to the main points at best, and misleading at worst, because the infamous week-old food-throwing incident wasn’t directed at a reporter and there’s no direct evidence it was by Bernie Sanders for President supporters.
The “forest” King and other reactionary critics like The Young Turks — who also jumped on the bandwagon the next day — are not seeing is the ugliness out there. This virtue signaling is propagated by true believing, passionate people who cross many clear lines of human decency all because their views are more “righteous.” That’s why I posted it, asking Bernie folks (with humor) to “keep it classy.” The “tree” myopic eyes are focused on is a single image of a Trump supporter being egged that seemingly allows some on the left to deny real and verifiable moments of harassment that they conveniently ignore — until it’s directed at them. Then it’s not “clickbait” it’s newsworthy.
I’m sorry: You’re politics can be “right” (or “left” and thereby widely shared in some circles), but that doesn’t make your arguments “right” (or “honest”).
Leave no doubt: It was the wrong photo for the story, and should have never been there in the first place. But the “agenda” doesn’t rest with The Washington Post, who posted it. But rather with the critics who immediately pounce on anything they perceive as “unfair.” Then fill up our viewing tanks, which serves their interests and livelihoods as well, with faulty arguments to drive home an illogical point.
And is a photo of Election 2016 protesters in an article about Election 2016 harassment surprising in a fast and furious media environment? The Washington Post publishes an average of 1,200 stories, graphics, and videos per day.
It’s King’s reactive arguments that indicate his own bias and agenda. Mostly by over-emphasizing its impact, and blatantly “lying” himself on the simplest fact that would take two seconds to double-check. On the article, he says, “It’s been up and widely shared for days.” [Emphasis mine.]
Actually, the photo was up less than 24 hours when King posted this Wednesday, and the Post corrected it that same day.
That’s called responsible journalism. Corrections happen often. Looking simply at the date at the article’s top one can see it wasn’t “shared for days,” as King claims.
And I’m not sure how “widely” shared it was, but the Washington Post Tweet on the story didn’t even reach 200 retweets, and the bulk of the comments are Bernie supporters going full-force to mock The Washington Post. From my math based on King’s Facebook shares, Shaun King got 10 times the traction as the story itself.
It’s a fact that The Washington Post produces 500 media stories a day, as reported by The Atlantic — more than twice as many as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, or The Wall Street Journal. Editors and website managers don’t get “rewarded” for adding a mea culpa “correction” within 24 hours after they link a misleading photo — so one has to have the speculative skills of a mental gymnast to assume its corporate media malfeasance.
Enter: The NY Post’s Shaun King. I will allow King his space. And maybe you will read his words, nod your head, and agree with him. Or not. Either way, I trust you can add your comments below. King started his Wednesday, June 8, Facebook post (again, a single day after the Post article and not coincidentally about 36 hours after Clinton defeated Sanders for the nomination):
“In today’s age of social media, the photo chosen by news outlets to promote a story can sometimes make or break whether the story goes viral or falls flat on its face. At the Daily News at every major news outlet in America, we have dedicated staff members who obsess over the photos, headlines, and social media descriptions of each story. It’s just where we are right now.
That’s why what the Washington Post did this week is pretty damn disgusting.
In an article entitled “The Bernie Bros are out in full force harassing female reporters,” the photo used to promote it was both jarring and effective. A woman is surrounded by a swarm of angry men. She looks defeated and maybe even afraid. She appears to have egg dripping from her face and hair.
For the past few days reporters from the Washington Post and prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton have shared the article, anchored by this alarming photo, all over Twitter and Facebook”
I’ll add that even the Young Turks program followed suit with outrage viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube. And made similarly baldly false and sensational claims*:
“The Washington Post has given up on the whole journalism thing. Now they’re just making things up.“
“For the past few days reporters from the Washington Post and prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton have shared the article, anchored by this alarming photo,” says Shaun King the day after the article was published, thus completely manufacturing a controversy by fabricating the facts at hand. The Young Turks say The Washington Post is engaging in purposeful deception by tying a photo of Trump supporter harassment with reporter harassment, nearly carbon copying King’s under-researched claims. Again: All over one photo deleted and replaced about 24 hours after the original posting. With no one addressing — let alone debunking — the article’s content, or eliciting proof that The Washington Post was intending deception. Ironically and deceitfully, they air unverified claims themselves of how far this story was shared by those sympathetic to Clinton. I’ve already pointed out to start this article King had 2200 Facebook shares on his knee-jerk speculative response and the Post article wasn’t even retweeted 1/10th as many times. The Young Turks’ YouTube video with the perpetually indignant Cenk Uygur received at least 750 times more eyeballs and clicks than the meager 156 Twitter shares of the WaPo story.
Who has an agenda? Who’s manufacturing discontent?
There’s a reason for the reaction. It was an image widely spread in mainstream media the week before that was very inconvenient to a lot of leftists and protesters (“damn look how intolerant and violent they get”). WaPo reposting such an image in a tangentially related news story was fodder for their often brainwashed tendency to defend at all costs. I’ve heard unproven claims from radical leftists in my social circle such as “The egged woman was a racist!” (i.e. she deserves it, which even The Young Turks don’t believe). And who hasn’t heard defensive claims, “The media distorts — it’s nothing like bigots sucker punching activists at a Trump rally”?
Interestingly, The Washington Post wrote about the rise of the Young Turks as a pro-Bernie phenomenon. And make no mistake: Young Turks and others like King make a living off the discrediting mainstream media, or any “establishment” point-of-view: “Since the start of 2015, and accelerating with the campaign, TYT has more than doubled its YouTube shares (to more than 4 million), tripled its Facebook likes (to more than 1 million), and grown its subscriber base by 75 percent, including many paid subscribers.” Their voice is important. But it’s also a bias that needs to be acknowledged, as well. Being anti-establishment is popular. When there’s blood in those mainstream media waters, the feeding frenzy is relentless, as even socialist democratic partisans want a paycheck bump.
In the Post article are actual words, Tweets and examples of harassment — all of which I’m pretty sure many people skip, especially when it doesn’t line up with their worldview or “team” they support. It’s more than a single picture.
If you want to make a good argument that the article is a convenient anti-Sanders slam, simply say “It’s making a case by selective example. Any campaign or its supporters has bad apples.” That’s legit. Although, the story had numerous examples of online harassment since AP called the election on Monday if you look beyond the surface or the first picture. Even though the Washington Post removed the photo within 24 hours, and wrote, “Given the headline and context of this post, the photo could have been misconstrued as a reporter, which it was not.”
Still, it’s absolutely newsworthy if three national female reporters are sharing on Twitter that they’re getting a deluge of harassment. Amy Chozick, political reporter for The New York Times, had a Tuesday Tweet in the Post article:
“I won’t be answering calls from unknown numbers today, after third call from Bernie supporters telling me they’d hunt me down in the streets.”
That’s reporting. That’s not sensationalism.
Apologies for ALL CAPS, but I need to draw in the reader here. You see: LOGIC dictates that news sources don’t want to write apologies at the top of their posts immediately after sending them out. LACK OF LOGIC by radicals happens when they pick and choose something like that as their “Aha moment” of media chicanery and corruption. I’ve been close to this paranoia and series of double-standards for years.
The “link” may have cached the first picture, though it doesn’t now. It was indeed a mistake that’s been corrected by the Post. This isn’t proof they had bad intent, just that they would fix an inaccuracy. I, myself, have seen major newspapers post completely erroneous photos. Example: I saw one up last year in USA Today for a few days, not simply one day, showing the wrong actor of Texas Chainsaw Massacre who died, despite numerous comments saying “wrong guy!” And that may do with the business of pumping out story after story in the Internet age while simultaneously newspaper jobs are being cut — obviously editors play catch-up.
At no point does King address the actual story’s content of supposed Sanders supporters spewing sexism towards reporters, especially since Monday’s AP announcement. All this happened in 24 hours after Clinton was declared the winner of the hard-fought nomination battle. Again, from The Washington Post article:
“The latest ugly episode involves threatening phone calls to New York Times reporter Amy Chozick and at least one harassing, profanity-laced message directed at NPR’s Tamara Keith on Tuesday.”
This gives me pause. Open minded progressives should openly ruminate about the tone of this election season. Why is that avoided, other than blatant self-interest and arrogance? No one’s hands are clean in Election USA 2016.
It’s time for more intellectual honesty on the left. Without strong arguments and a tendency to wallow in conspiracy, you discredit your cause — much more than a single photo might. Intellectual and moral consistency has certainly not been there on the right. The left’s equivalents of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity do a disservice to the goals of making progressive agendas, that Bernie Sanders rightfully advocated for, front and center in the otherwise sympathetic eyes of the American electorate.
ADDENDUM 14 MONTHS LATER:
The election was eventually won by Trump, and Bernie was never going to win the nomination after being behind by 3.6 million votes and 12 percentage points, and no, the ‘rigging’ wouldn’t make up the difference. The crybaby tactics of the #NeverHillary campaign continued through most of the summer, and led to any defections to the Green Party, or not voting at all. Thus, the Shaun Kings of this world — with their virtue signaling and over-the-top political correctness — helped lead Trump to victory. Updates to this article for clarity have occasionally been made in 2016 and 2017 (August, when I wrote this section). Hopefully, Trump loses “Bigley” in 2020. But it’s hard to say with the Democratic seemingly forever divided into Clinton and Sanders camps of pro-establishment and anti-establishment.
* Also, I found an error where I say The Young Turks carbon copy King’s “For the past few days…” accusation — and King’s remarks are still “unalloyed bullshit” to borrow an old compatriot’s terminology. I published this quickly, but it was a major brain fart on my end not to notice the exact same quote used twice in a row by two different critics of The Washington Post piece. I now replace the quote with another quote from the Turks (“The Washington Post has given up on the whole journalism thing. Now they’re just making things up.”). Again, the picture was up for ONE day, and The Young Turks recognize that, but speculate the WaPo journalist and editors are knowingly throwing Bernie Sanders supporters under the bus. Ironically, The Young Turks’ lies, divisiveness, bias and speculation are far more acute than WaPo.