About That Modern-Day Yellow Journalism

A Vox story title asks a rhetorical question: “Is the media making American politics worse?”

One might also ask, “Are the media teaching incorrect English grammar?” The word media is plural. One does not use a singular verb (“is”) with a plural noun (“media”).

Anyway, are the media making American politics worse?


The American media have always – intentionally or unintentionally – influenced American politics. Once upon a time, American newspapers were often the publishing arms of political parties. One might think that is still the case.

Anyway, in that Vox story, Ezra Klein states the following:

I’m a political journalist. I’ve been a political journalist for 15 years. I believe in my profession. But right now, I’m worried we’re failing. I’m worried we’re making American politics worse, not better. . . It’s because everything around us has changed — our business models, the way people read us, the way we compete with each other, the way we’re manipulated — and we’re not keeping up. Instead, we’re getting played by the outrage merchants and con artists and trolls and polarizers who understand this new world better. President Trump is the most successful media hacker out there, but he’s not the only one. We’re being used to fracture American democracy, and I don’t think we know how to stop it.

Pardon me while I shed some crocodile tears.

Someone should ask Klein . . .

Members of the American media aren’t getting played. Instead, they are the ones doing the playing.

Here is an example of such. On 22 October 2018, Fox & Friends weekend co-host Pete Hegseth appeared on Fox & Friends and said the following about the migrant caravan heading from Central America to the USA:

You’ve got the president of Guatemala saying to a local newspaper down there just last week they caught over 100 ISIS fighters in Guatemala trying to use this caravan . . . he talked to their local newspaper. We don’t know. It hasn’t been verified. But even one poison pill is too many in a caravan like that.

In other words, “We heard a rumor that is just hearsay with no supporting evidence, but I’m going to spread the rumor anyway.”

After that claim was made on Fox News, President Trump tweeted this:

Later that day, Fox News host Shepard Smith reported, “An important note: Fox News knows of no evidence to suggest the president is accurate on that matter, and the president has offered no evidence to support what he has said.”

To make matters worse, Fox & Friends weekend co-host Pete Hegseth also said, “I think that in this particular case [the migrant caravan], it will be time to deploy the military.”

Apparently, neither Hegseth nor the other hosts of Fox & Friends have heard of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. USLegal.com states, “The Posse Comitatus Act is an act that prohibits the federal government from using the armed forces as a posse comitatus for law enforcement, except in cases and circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress.”

It is no wonder that some people refer to Hegseth’s network as Faux News.

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