Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

The big news of the week was a story by The Atlantic alleging President Donald Trump disparaged veterans and Vietnam veterans specifically as “total losers.” And everyone from Fox News to former Vice President and current Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden has run with it like they stole it. Whether you believe it or not depends on something we haven’t really had a chance to discuss in detail for a while.

Unnamed sources.

As it turns out, The Atlantic‘s story relied heavily on unnamed sources, which can be a positive and a negative in journalistic circles. And, thanks to your humble correspondent, you will see why.

unnamed sources

What the Left thinks it means – valuable sources of information that get to the heart of most stories

What it really means – questionable sources of information at best

As a former journalism student, I can tell you unnamed sources can be a mixed bag because their credibility is completely reliant upon how much the reporter believes them. In the past, journalists could sense when there was the ring of truth to what a source said and when it was bullshit. Today, most journalists have a bullshit meter more broken than Matt Hardy. (If you get that reference, that would be DELIGHTFUL, yaaaaaaaaaas.)

Now, imagine a journalist who is predisposed to believe anything negative about President Trump, no matter how absurd it is. Guess what, kids? He/she is going to believe the negative stuff without so much as a first thought (because expecting them to have a second thought would be way above his/her pay grade).

This is where things get sticky. Under normal circumstances, anyone in the media who gets tricked by false information would get called out and discredited to the point not even the local Super Shopper would hire them. In the current media environment, though, that only happens if you’re not in league with the bulk of the media, which might as well be stenographers for the DNC. Even when getting caught time and time again falling for bad information, Leftists don’t lose any credibility. Compare the Left’s treatment of James O’Keefe and Rachel Maddow if you question this.

What does this have to do with unnamed sources? Regardless of the veracity of said sources, the Left has nothing to lose by believing them and reporting what they say. Meanwhile, the Right could get God to certify their statements and the Left wouldn’t believe it.

You know what beats unnamed sources, though? Named sources. With The Atlantic story, they have four unnamed sources. The number of named source? Zero, the same number of delegates Kamala Harris got. On the other side, the Trump Administration noted zero unnamed source, but ten named sources (including people who were there when the President allegedly made the statements attributed to him). Now, I’m no math major, but I’m pretty sure 10 is larger than 0, and that’s not even counting the fact the 10 are named sources.

That’s the double-edged Sword of Damocles when dealing with unnamed sources. Their truthfulness can’t be measured because we don’t know who they are, but the journalists do. That’s one level away from the source, which opens the journalist to scrutiny and questions of bias. And by questions, I mean certitudes. By protecting their sources by keeping them anonymous, they take on the criticism, often willingly, but even though the Left overlooks it, they lose the Credibility Olympics against named sources who come forward because there is no degree of separation from the original source with the latter.

Plus, there’s another thing to consider. There is a known and generally accepted practice of making up sources and/or quotes as needed. When you work a beat, you won’t always get the information you want or need for a story. If you’re being honest, you either find a way to get the information or try to write around it. If you’re a journalist today, you make it up. You know who uses similar practices? The National Enquirer.

Actually, I take that back. The Enquirer has standards.

To be honest, I don’t know who to believe when it comes to The Atlantic‘s piece, but I do know you can’t discount the fact a piece reliant solely on unnamed sources has fewer legs to stand on than Captain Ahab after his prosthetic leg was stolen.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Although COVID-19 put the kibosh on a lot of festivities this year, we still had the Pulitzer Prizes awarded. Aren’t we lucky? Among the wieners…I mean winners were reporters who wrote about global climate change being bad, Vladimir Putin being bad, and President Donald Trump being bad. You know, the same topics the media report on during any day ending with a Y.

And speaking of Y, why are these reporters winning an award for journalistic excellence when there is very little deviation in the subject matter? That, dear readers, is a fine topic of discussion.

the Pulitzer Prize

What the Left thinks it means – a prestigious award given to the very best in the journalism field

What it really means – an award as worthless as the reporters who win them these days

I wouldn’t want to be a journalist or a reporter today. The pay sucks, the hours are as erratic as Joe Biden going off script, and more often than not the only time you get recognized is when you screw up or get nominated for a Pulitzer. And more often than not, you get known for the former because most people don’t care about the latter.

So, why should we care? The people who are getting nominated are the ones who have an incredible, albeit waning somewhat, amount of power to shape narratives. There was a recent story that spread like wildfire that President Trump had a financial interest in a company producing hydroxychloroquine, a drug he promoted as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The press reported it without highlighting the fact the interest was 1) part of a mutual fund, and 2) so financially insignificant he could have found more money under his couch cushions. Even after the facts came out, people believed the initial truncated reporting.

And we’re no longer just dealing with half-truths being heralded, either. One of this year’s Pulitzers went to Nikole Hannah-Jones for the 1619 Project, a major New York Times undertaking reviewing the history of slavery in America. And by “reviewing,” I mean “making shit up.” One of the major contentions Hannah-Jones made was the American Revolution was fought to keep slavery alive here. Yeah, nothing about taxation without representation, unfair treatment of the colonists, and, oh yeah, “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” that sparked the American Revolution (and included the death of Crispus Attucks, who just happened to be black). It was totes about slavery, yo!

Yet, in spite of the fact historians called out the multiple historical inaccuracies and Hannah-Jones promised to revise her derisive drivel before it gets published as a book, the Pulitzer Prize Board shrugged its collective shoulders and gave her the award anyway. Granted, it was for Commentary and not actual reporting, but the fact she was rewarded for making up easily refuted shit should tell you all you need to know about the Pulitzer Prize and journalism in general today.

While the New York Times can pat itself on the back for winning it, the real payoff is the credibility it gives them with fans and the general public. Joe Sixpack may not be able to name many, if any, Pulitzer winners, but they may recognize the name and extrapolate it means something good for the recipients. But we shouldn’t let the award dazzle us into thinking the Times is worth a damn. Let’s not forget the Times keeps Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman on staff to write about economics, and he’s an idiot on the subject. Then again, it would explain how Hannah-Jones got her job…

In preparation for this week’s Lexicon, I did a little research on past Pulitzer winners, as well as the members who decide who get them. (The sacrifices I make for you…) To put it mildly, it’s mostly a Leftist circle jerk. There are the occasional exceptions to the rule, but it’s safe to say there are some real journalists getting shafted so the “right” people win and the media outlets they work for can pretend they’re actually doing something great for the journalism field.

Of course, they’re not. The profession has undergone a death by a thousand newspaper cuts, combined with a push (or in some cases a gentle nudge) to advance an agenda at the expense of the truth. Nowadays, bloggers like your humble correspondent are the ones digging through the layers of bullshit to get to the heart of a story and then tell it to the world. And we do it without killing trees or brain cells.

That’s more than I can say for the Pulitzer Prize “winners” this year.