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Arnold Ahlert / Apr. 5, 2021

Overrated News Anchors

“I think it’s become clearer that fairness is overrated,” says NBC’s Lester Holt.

Sometimes, one simply has to marvel at the arrogance and condescension displayed by those who purport themselves to be purveyors of “truth.”

NBC News anchor Lester Holt is one such person. Last Tuesday, while accepting the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism at the 45th Murrow Symposium, Holt declared that reporters are not required to hear both sides of a story in order to determine the truth.

“I think it’s become clearer that fairness is overrated,” Holt asserted. “The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention. Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda. In fact, it’s just the opposite.”

Holt further insisted, “Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous.” He added that the duty of reporters is to be “fair to the truth.”

Who’s kidding whom? For Holt and others who work in what is most aptly described as the Leftmedia, unsupported arguments, far too often promulgated by “unnamed officials who wish to remain anonymous,” have been the lifeblood of what they reported as “sun sets in the west” facts.

Anyone remember three years of “Russian collusion” stories that were manifestly false? How about turning a high school kid from Covington into a certified racist, or the wholly duplicitous “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative that nonetheless attended the justified shooting of Michael Brown? How about the media’s effort to turn George Zimmerman into a “white Hispanic”? Or the coordinated effort to give credence to Julie Swetnick, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of indulging in gang-rape parties? How about an MSNBC reporter standing in front of burning building while insisting what was going on behind him was “mostly a protest” that is not “generally unruly,” or a CNN reporter standing in front of burning buildings and cars while a CNN graphic read, “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests”?

As for providing an open platform for misinformation “especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake,” who didn’t give Dr. Anthony Fauci a platform and continuing credence, even when his flip-flopping became impossible to reconcile, and even as he now claims he is “too busy” to reconcile the irreconcilable reality of a Biden administration that wants travel and mask restrictions imposed on citizens, along with the implementation of vaccine passports, while it champions the potential super-spreader event that releasing untested, unaccountable illegal aliens throughout the nation represents?

Moreover, where was the media stampede to find the truth when The Lancet medical journal retracted its findings regarding an increased risk of death due to the usage of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to fight coronavirus? In December, the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents published a new peer-reviewed study that confirmed low-dose HCQ combined with zinc and azithromycin was an effective therapeutic approach against COVID-19. In January, a study posted in the American Journal of Medicine found that early treatment of coronavirus patients with HCQ lowered the disease’s mortality rate.

Will the same Leftmedia reporters who bashed HCQ’s usage — primarily because it was touted by former President Donald Trump — issue any mea culpas for their “contrary views” that proved to be wrong, perhaps fatally, for thousands of Americans?

“Sometimes a story falls in our laps in the newsroom and it seems huge,” Holt continued. “Then we begin to tug at it and pull at it looking for holes and suddenly it falls apart.”

Really? Holt himself hosted a Joe Biden town hall event held in Miami that the NBC anchor characterized as being attended by an “audience of undecided Florida voters,” even though at least two of them previously declared their support for Biden on the network’s sister channel, MSNBC.

And that would be the same MSBNC that initially reported the latest attack at the Capitol building was perpetrated by a white male, even though the perpetrator was black and a Louis Farrakhan supporter to boot.

Remember the media refusing to “tug” at the Hunter Biden laptop story? Numerous outlets either suppressed it outright or insisted it was the product of Russian “disinformation,” only to subsequently “discover” — post-election — that he was being investigated by the FBI. Associated Press Vice President for Standards John Daniszewski recently wrote a column advocating for standardizing a lack of tugging: The increasing chaos at the border “does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis,” he insisted.

“Of all the things our nation is grappling with, in my opinion, the most worrisome is the death of truth and trust in our institutions,” Holt stated. “Please know this is something I’ve expressed worries about going back long before the previous administration. It’s been a slow erosion, but the answers and conclusions are already pre-loaded for us on social media or opinion-oriented programs. We have increasingly lost our critical thinking skills. The ability to hold things to the light and ask key questions for ourselves, unafraid that the answer may not be what we hoped.”

Did Holt or any of his colleagues express their worries about death of truth and trust in our institutions when New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg insisted that “you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer” when it comes to covering Donald Trump’s presidency? Do they really worry about pre-loaded answers and questions on the very same social media platforms in which they themselves partake? Should we eliminate “opinion-oriented” programs because they might challenge a media narrative such as the currently egregious and “lie repeated often enough” meme that Georgia’s election safeguards constitutes a return to Jim Crow?

Jim Crow laws are historically owned by Democrats, like Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Conner, who set dogs and water hoses on black protesters in 1963 in Birmingham, and Governor Ross Robert Barnett, who denied James Meredith admission to the all-white University of Mississippi in 1962. Democrats also opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act by considerable margins, and Democrat Senator Robert Byrd led a filibuster of it. And despite the fact Byrd was deeply involved with the Klan in the 1940s, The New York Times still referred to him as a “pillar of the Senate” when writing his obituary in 2010.

The same media also referred to the late Ted Kennedy as the “Lion of the Senate,” despite the fact that he left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in a car he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.

It isn’t fairness that’s overrated, Mr. Holt. It’s the cadre of self-aggrandizing progressive water-carriers who believe they are the sole arbiters of “truth,” “misinformation,” and “fairness.” Those whose dedication to a particular narrative far outweighs any commitment to objectivity.

Those for whom the term “journalistic integrity” is now, for all intents and purposes, an oxymoron.

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