Poisonous 'Resistance Journalism'
Ben Smith takes on Ronan Farrow. Everyone gets trounced by Glenn Greenwald.
“Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?” wondered New York Times media columnist Ben Smith. “He has delivered revelatory reporting on some of the defining stories of our time. But a close examination reveals the weaknesses in what may be called an era of resistance journalism.”
“Resistance journalism” is one way to put it, although we’d argue most of what Leftmedia reporters engage in these days is roughly 90% resistance and 10% journalism.
Glenn Greenwald, a leftist reporter who still generally cares about facts, picked up on that theme: “What is particularly valuable about Smith’s article is its perfect description of a media sickness borne of the Trump era that is rapidly corroding journalistic integrity and justifiably destroying trust in news outlets. Smith aptly dubs this pathology ‘resistance journalism,’ by which he means that journalists are now not only free, but encouraged and incentivized, to say or publish anything they want, no matter how reckless and fact-free, provided their target is someone sufficiently disliked in mainstream liberal media venues and/or on social media.”
How does this play out? “It is this ‘resistance journalism’ sickness that caused U.S. politics to be drowned for three years in little other than salacious and fact-free conspiracy theories about Trump and his family members and closest associates,” Greenwald says. “Mainstream media debacles — all in service of promoting the same set of conspiracy theories against Trump — are literally too numerous to count.” He concludes, “Whether it was true or supported by basic journalistic standards was completely irrelevant. Responsible reporting simply was not a metric used to assess its worth.”
Speaking of basic journalistic standards, it should be noted that Smith was previously editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, the tabloid-style outfit that originally published the full but “unverified” Christopher Steele dossier. Smith defended doing so, saying a year later that he was “proud we published” it. So Smith knows a thing or two about resistance “journalism” — otherwise known as fake news.
Even so, he appropriately takes Farrow, the New Yorker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, to task for getting key stories very wrong, or, at best, failing to prove his provocative assertions. Farrow, as Greenwald put it, is guilty of “peddling unproven conspiracy theories.” We won’t spend time on the details here, but Smith’s three prime examples of bogus Farrow stories include those on Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney; Harvey Weinsten, the Hollywood producer whose takedown initiated the MeToo movement (for which Farrow won his Pulitzer); and NBC’s Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC after similar accusations. Interestingly, Smith neglects to mention Farrow’s role in advancing the false accusations of Deborah Ramirez against Brett Kavanaugh. And, by the way, this is the same MeToo movement that abruptly ended the moment Joe Biden was accused by Tara Reade.
So where’s the accountability? NewsGuard, the ostensibly unbiased but clearly partisan arbiter of media reliability, still laughably grades The New Yorker, The New York Times, and BuzzFeed News with its highest ratings. Someone should ask NewsGuard if Smith’s report on Farrow’s fake news — or Greenwald’s more sweeping indictment against any number of other Leftmedia outlets for the whole Russia-collusion fiasco — will result in knocking the New Yorker’s grade a bit. Or, for that matter, BuzzFeed’s. Currently, NewsGuard’s “Nutrition Label” for The New Yorker notes Farrow’s Pulitzer Prize as a way of boosting its credibility, though we know how little Pulitzers are worth these days. As for BuzzFeed, NewsGuard matter-of-factly recaps its publishing of the “unverified dossier” in its section on BuzzFeed’s credibility, without mentioning that Robert Mueller’s probe proved the Hillary Clinton/DNC-funded dossier to be utter garbage.
Obviously, we won’t hold our breath for this incestuous gaggle of leftist ideologues to even feign holding each other accountable for their total lack of honesty or integrity. But the fact that the Leftmedia is composed so heavily of resistance activists is exactly the reason why it remains the true enemy of the people.