Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Media malpractice

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 15, 2024

Have you been reading the stories in the mainstream media (MM) about the mass protests by European farmers? Have you been seeing footage of the huge caravans—the hundreds of tractors lined up in demonstrations, in one capital city after another?

You haven’t? Neither have I. The truth is that mainstream media coverage of the farmers’ protests has been hard to find.

And that’s hard to understand, at first glance, because this is a very important story. (It is a photogenic story, too. Those caravans of agricultural equipment make for very dramatic television images; network producers should be anxious to show them.) The protests, and the popular resentments they embody, threaten to bring down governments in several different European countries. The issues raised by the farmers’ demonstrations are absolutely central to the most important political and moral discussion of our time.

European political leaders are determined to cut carbon emissions, and to that end have approved draconian new policies. Farmers warn that the stiff regulations will put them out of business—and if farmers go out of business, everyone goes hungry. So which is the greater threat: climate change or food shortages?

This is a vitally important question. But if you had been following the news in the mainstream media over the past few weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was more important to know whether Taylor Swift would arrive on time for the Super Bowl.

The farmers’ arguments are fairly straightforward. If it becomes prohibitively expensive to raise crops, crops will not be raised. If crops are not raised, people will go hungry. So the aggressively “green” new government policies entail serious human costs.

The arguments for those new policies, on the other hand, are complex, resting on a series of unproven hypotheses: that human action is largely responsible for climate change; that a radical cutback in carbon emissions will curb the symptoms of climate change; that strict regulations will not lead to food shortages. The “green” policies are proposed on the basis of computer models and projections. The arguments against them can be reduced to a simple moral imperative: Feed the hungry.

Why, then, are the mainstream media reluctant to tell the story and to encourage the public debate? Could it be because the most influential forces in the world of journalism are fully committed to the drive to reduce climate change, and so the farmers’ arguments are inconvenient to their purposes? Yet the deliberate suppression of an uncongenial story would be a form of media malpractice.

Unfortunately such malpractice has become increasingly common in recent years—and not only for the mainstream media. We now know that the giant corporations of the social media, acting on the wishes of the White House, suppressed any reports skeptical of the Covid crisis or the efficacy of vaccines. In fact we are still waiting for any sign of media curiosity about the sudden spike in all-causes deaths—and particularly the rise of unexplained deaths of previously healthy young people—that has occurred since the epidemic receded.

Until recently (last week, actually) mainstream outlets paid no attention to the stumbles and hesitations and mental lapses that suggested a decline in President Biden’s mental fitness. Even now many reports view the matter as a purely partisan issue, and lean heavily toward the White House insistence that Biden is as sharp as ever. A recent CNN analysis of the Biden re-election campaign framed the story in sympathetic—yet revealing—terms:

Top aides have set the strategy that the president need not play the Washington news cycle game of constant appearances that risk embarrassing flubs…

The mention of a “Washington news-cycle game” might look like a self-deprecating reference to the voracious appetite of the media—including CNN. But the notion that a presidential candidate would “risk embarrassing flubs” whenever he faced a video camera is surely a novelty. Political candidates ordinarily crave media exposure. And a candidate who wants to inspire confidence in his ability to handle world crises should not lack the confidence necessary to handle impromptu questions from reporters. But that CNN analysis is implicitly setting the stage for a campaign strategy that shelters Biden from potentially damaging public appearances.

Because more and more frequently, that’s what the mainstream media do: Protect their preferred candidates and causes from inconvenient stories.  

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Cinciradiopriest - Feb. 17, 2024 8:47 PM ET USA

    For many of the woke establishment, the world is overpopulated. Food shortages will lower the population. More media malpractice.