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Jack DeVine / October 20, 2021

Now They Tell Us!

Our watchdog media’s bad habit of sitting on information that doesn’t fit the preferred narrative.

Progressive media obsess about shielding the public from “disinformation” — yet seem quite willing to bury truthful information that contradicts their party line.

Both words and silence have consequences. Falsely yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater is wrong because the ensuing panic would endanger the patrons; but failure to warn customers of an actual fire, just to keep them inside buying popcorn, would be criminal as well, for the same reason.

Last week, Katie Couric’s just-released memoirs let fly an interesting morsel about her 2016 interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (the legendary “RBG”) regarding the then-red-hot topic of Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. RBG hated it. But her sharpest criticism was cut from Couric’s recorded interview.

At the time, those of us who objected to Kaepernick’s stunt were met with righteous lectures about freedom of expression and our right to peacefully protest. But we’d never argued that it was illegal or unconstitutional — just that it was disgustingly offensive. And now we find that the late RBG — a towering figure in American jurisprudence, pioneer of women’s rights, and standard-bearer for progressive thinking everywhere — agreed with us.

It’s a bit late. In the intervening five years, the Kaepernick routine has blossomed into a standard fixture in professional and even some amateur sports, continuing to divide Americans.

There’s no telling how a more complete representation of RBG’s views would have altered public perceptions. But it just might have lowered the temperature on an issue that should never have been divisive in the first place. Americans of all colors, creeds, genders, ethnicity, or political alignment should be able to come together in celebrating what’s good about our nation — even though imperfect — and revering our history and our heroes and the flag and anthem that represent us all.

The media routinely hides awkward facts. As another example, in the tumultuous weeks following the January 6 riot, The New York Times doggedly held on to the fiction that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick had been bludgeoned to death, long after it was known that he’d died of natural causes a day after the riot.

Of course, the most egregious case of network news and social media burying critically important information was the stunning revelation — just weeks before the 2020 election — that a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden contained seemingly damning evidence of the Biden family’s pay-to-play influence-peddling schemes, and that Joe Biden stood to profit financially (via a 10% cut for “the big guy”) from one such arrangement with America’s #1 global adversary, the Chinese Communist Party.

The well-researched and carefully vetted report was released by the New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper. Mainstream media promptly went nuts. Several former U.S. intel officials, all regular critics of Trump, issued a letter asserting — evidently based on zero information — that the whole thing was a Russian hoax.

Most network and print media treated the report like the elephant in the room, deftly avoiding it. Facebook and other social media platforms — the news source that reaches far more Americans than any other — blocked it entirely.

Without question, the NY Post report was information that should have been available to every voter, to be weighed along with all other factors before casting his or her ballot. After the election, one national poll found that more than 80% of those polled had no knowledge of the allegation and that it would have influenced their choice.

Only now, one year later — with the Biden administration in place, the 2020 election behind us, and its “fair and transparent” characterization firmly planted — have social media and mainstream media outlets decided that it’s OK for Americans to know that the laptop in question did in fact belong to Hunter Biden, that there is no evidence of tampering by Russia or anyone else, and therefore there is a distinct possibility that our president’s role was as described.

Again, it’s a bit late.

This one was as bad as it gets. It widened the partisan divide. Democrats are aghast that anyone could fall for Trump’s “Big Lie” but seem not to recognize that Republicans’ continuing skepticism is rooted in the distrust sown by just this kind of political malpractice. Worse, it is clear and chilling evidence that Big Tech and a large swath of U.S. media, working in concert with one political party, successfully manipulated public opinion on a grand scale. George Orwell, where are you?

It’s not complicated. Americans must be able to depend on public information sources, including social media, for even-handed coverage of the events that affect our nation. Diversity of viewpoints is fine; misrepresenting or withholding of critical facts is not.

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