Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media has totally bought into the reality-warping powers of Donald Trump and his administration. So much so, in fact, that AIM's Roger Aronoff devotes a Jan. 25 column to defending the honor of Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts":
When White House counsel Kellyanne Conway said on NBC News that the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, had presented the press with “alternative facts” about the size of Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd, the press immediately concluded that alternative facts were, in fact, lies. They’ve had a field day with it ever since.
Yet Spicer argued at a January 23 press conference that if the press publishes a correction, it is not necessarily seen as lying. So, too, the press shouldn’t assume the White House is lying if they are proven wrong. However, Spicer maintained that the inauguration viewership—including online viewers and television viewers—was the largest ever.
But alternative facts aren’t necessarily lies, or even false. Sometimes they are misleading, but other times they provide context which illuminates the original lie—often the ones perpetuated by the mainstream media.
“We believe there is an objective truth, and we will hold you to that,” states a letter to President Trump from the press corps authored by Kyle Pope of the Columbia Journalism Review. “When you or your surrogates say or tweet something that is demonstrably wrong, we will say so, repeatedly,” states the letter. “Facts are what we do, and we have no obligation to repeat false assertions…”
We have repeatedly reported about how the media have continued to distribute fake and false news in the service of President Obama, most notably the continued claim that the Iran deal is signed. It is not, and the lack of anything that would make this agreement enforceable explains continued Iranian aggression.
Aronoff then tries to spin the whole inauguration-attendance thing:
As for the inauguration turnout, it is clear that the press is playing a duplicitous game. This New York Times article contains a video that shows vast open white spaces at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. However, our screen captures of CNN’s gigapixel panorama of the event shows those areas filled. I am no expert in this area, but it appears that there were a lot more people at Trump’s inauguration who weren’t in the Times’ photo, so this is guesswork. Brit Hume of Fox News tweeted that the Times’ photo with all of the empty space was “taken early,” and that the “area was considerably fuller by time of speech.”
The problem with Aronoff citing CNN's gigapixel panorama is that it was taken from the front of the crowd and from a low angle that doesn't fully show the crowd -- not from the back and from high up, the angle that enraged Trump. Which means it's Aronoff who's being dupicitous.
Aronoff also tries out a few "alternative facts" of his own:
Accuracy in Media has reported how the media have used unemployment statistics to support the contention that Obama handed off a growing, thriving economy to Trump. The alternative fact here, however, is that millions of Americans are being left behind in our economy. The relevant data is not the rosy unemployment rate so much as our ailing labor participation rate. The only reason the unemployment rate is so low is that millions of people have quit looking for work because so few good jobs were available, and Obamacare’s mandates forced millions of people into part-time jobs. The unemployment number by itself doesn’t mean much, without additional, or alternative, facts that give it context.
But Aronoff conveniently ignores one other contextual "alternate fact" as we've documented when CNSNews.com obsesses over the labor participation rate, many of the people who aren't working are retired people or students who have no interest in finding a job; the rate is further skewed by the retirement of baby boomers. Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute agrees that the labor force participation rate is meaningless as a barometer of unemployment.
Aronoff laughably concludes: "None of this is meant to justify Trump or his appointees saying things that they can’t back up with some credible evidence or sources. Being the president is different than being a candidate or even President-elect. They have to be more careful. But the media’s disposition towards Trump is proving far more adversarial than towards previous administrations." If Aronoff wasn't trying to justify the falsehoods spun by Trump and his crew, he wouldn't have written this column.