Saturday, February 6, 2021

"Everybody today is talking about this Time magazine story by Molly Ball, which looks an awful lot like a secret plan to rig the election, but you're not allowed to say 'rigged' or 'stolen,' because if you do, you’re an 'extremist' and potentially a terrorist..."

 At great piece, at the Other McCain, "You Can’t Say ‘Rigged’":

One of the things you learn, if you spend as many years in the news business as I have, is that the news is not random. That is to say, the question of what stories will appear on the front page of the New York Times is not merely matter of what happened the day before, because all kinds of things happen every day, and there is only so much space on the front page of a paper. Actual choices have to be made, by human beings called “editors,” to determine what’s front-page news, what gets stuck back on Page A14, and what never gets reported at all.

The process of deciding what is “news” is not random, as I say, even though some events are of such unquestioned importance that they must be at the top of the front page. If you picked up any American newspaper on Sept. 12, 2001, this was rather obvious, but such historic events are rare, and on most days the question of what goes on A1 leaves a fair amount of leeway to the editors to make their own choices. There may be one or two stories of such unquestioned importance that they must be on the front page, but when it comes to the rest — Story 3, Story 4, Story 5, etc. — the editor’s have more room to exercise discretion.

Trust me, there is often a lot internal disagreement over such things. When I was at The Washington Times, some reporters would get very angry if a story they had pitched for A1 didn’t make the cut. It was generally the policy that A1 would have at least one Metro story, and on most days also there would be something from Sports or Features on the front page, so that out of a total of seven or eight front-page stories, the National desk would only get five or six. Well, if Bill Gertz had a story about the Chinese military that he felt deserved to be on A1, he’d get rather peeved — and understandably so — if his story was bumped back to Page A3 so that we could have, say, a feature about Georgetown University basketball on the front page. It happens.

Human beings make decisions about what counts as front-page news, and there is a certain amount of selectivity involved. You know who figured this out? Matt Drudge. The story is that when he was working as the overnight clerk at a 7-Eleven in the Maryland suburbs of D.C., he would read all the newspapers to pass the time in the wee hours when there were no customers. Reading the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Times, the New York Post, USA Today, etc., back-to-back every day for weeks on end, Drudge began to notice the different choices reflected in the content of the papers. From that insight sprang his subsequent approach to aggregating news at the Drudge Report (which, alas, he seems to have turned over to a gang of liberal dimwits in the past couple of years). Thanks to the Internet, all of us now have more access to different sources than was possible for most people back when Drudge was reading all those newspapers at 7-Eleven, so there is more widespread understanding of how media bias operates.

“Why is this story national news?”

That’s the question you have to ask, whenever a crime story makes it to CNN or to the network evening news broadcasts. Because America is a very large country, with more than 325 million people, the vast majority of crime in the United States is strictly “local news.” There were more than 16,000 murders in America in 2019, which works out to about 45 murder per day. How many of those murders even get mentioned on CNN? Not many. So when something like the Trayvon Martin shooting or the death of George Floyd becomes national news — hourly updates 24/7 on CNN — this means that a decision was made by someone. These stories didn’t just coincidentally become national news. On the day that George Floyd died, about 40 other Americans were shot to death, but none of those other deaths were deemed newsworthy by CNN...

Keep reading.

And at the American Spectator, "Why Is Identity Politics Destroying America?"