Jeffrey McCall used a June 11 CNSNews.com column to dutifully repeat the right-wing, pro-Truymp line on a government report on protesters being cleared from Lafayette Square, followed by then-President Trump doing a photo-op there:
Public trust in the establishment media has been cratering for years and that trend is not without cause. News reporting continues to be done with kneejerk reactions, little concern for reality, and too often for partisan purposes.
More evidence of such media malfeasance came out Wednesday in the form of a report from the Interior Department’s Inspector General. The report concluded that the United States Park Police did not remove unruly demonstrators from Lafayette Park near the White House a year ago to allow then-President Donald Trump a photo op near an arson-damaged church.
The establishment media had quickly jumped to conclusion last June, too eager to create a narrative that Trump was using the U.S. Park Police for selfish promotional purposes and abusing supposedly peaceful demonstrators. The recently released Inspector General’s report explains the plans for clearing Lafayette Park were put in place well in advance of Trump’s evening stroll to the church, and that police had the authority to clear the area for security reasons.
The media failed its Logic 101 exam for that event, assuming that because one event followed another, there must necessarily be causation. News reporting at the time also failed to acknowledge that the U.S. Park Police had solid reasons to expand the security perimeter near the White House, after numerous incidents of chaos in that section of the district. Those security steps, as is known now from the Inspector General’s report, were being implemented without directions from the White House.
But the media was too compelled, as usual, to make everything about Trump. The press relied on unnamed White House sources to create the unfounded narrative that the park was being cleared of demonstrators solely for a Trump photo op.
As we documented when CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, pushed this same narrative, the report was extremely incomplete, having declined to interview most of the major players in the incident. Additionally, there was no evidence at the time that the reporting was false, and the Trump White House had such a horrible track record of lies and misinformation that there was no reason to take anything they said at face value.
McCall did at least concede missteps on the part of the Trump White House: "The Trump handlers, for their part, also blundered that evening, failing to recognize how damaging the optics could be of a presidential pseudo-event taking place after the removal of protestors from a public park. The timing of Trump’s appearance created a bizarre scene for which an upside was difficult to find." But he immediately followed that with more media-bashing: 'That doesn’t excuse the media’s distorted narrative that surely played a role during the 2020 presidential campaign."
Like the MRC, McCall has chosent to put his faith in an incomplete report for political purposes in order to advance a partisan narrative. Not a good look for a college professor and, according to his end-of-column bio, "a recognized authority on media and journalistic ethics and standards."