by Steve Levy
This past July I published a book, Bias in the Media. It chronicled my view that there is a sharp left-leaning slant in media coverage and that not everything you read in the paper is true.
I spoke of how numerous stories about me and my administration were outright false. One inaccurately suggested that my filing of a state financial disclosure form was improper. Another falsely claimed that my administration had made a man homeless because we closed down a firetrap housing sixty men in a two bedroom home.
Yet another was the false media narrative that Suffolk police conspired to ignore complaints of Hispanics victimized by violence. The inaccurate reports gained so much momentum that it led to a Department of Justice investigation. After five years of investigation and reams of reports the analysts could not name a single instance where an officer failed to make an arrest where the evidence existed to do so.
Too late! After the scores of articles regurgitating the false narrative that the police had acted improperly, the impression was already ingrained in the public’s mind.
Those stories and the investigation that followed were premised on a falsehood.
Just this past month thousands of Americans joined in protests exclaiming “Hands up, don’t shoot!” – believing that this is what Michael Brown had said prior to his being fatally shot in Ferguson, Missouri. We now know from forensics and African-American witnesses that the narrative permeating the media was not true.
Then we see that the story accusing University of Virginia fraternity members of rape was suddenly called into question after it was discovered the agenda driven reporter had published numerous inaccuracies without seeking the perspective of the accused. The reporter wanted her Pulitzer and was known to have been shopping around for a good rape on campus story at other universities prior to hitting pay dirt in coming across Jackie, the accuser at Virginia. The reporter was accurately described as a left wing assassin with a pen .
Then there were those in the liberal media, including the political entertainment show “The Colbert Report,” who distorted a video to make it appear that a black man simply walking around with his hands in his pockets was harassed by police for “walking while black.” What they did not say (because it didn’t fit the narrative) was that the police were called by store owners who noted that the individual had been pacing back-and-forth in front of the store six to seven times while peering into the store window. Since the store had been robbed seven times of late they logically called 911 asking for a patrol car to investigate.
The media acts best when it reports the facts as they are without the filter of the reporter’s personal bias. It acts worse when the reporter morphs into the role of advocate to promote a political cause. In my book I reference a debate between an idealistic agenda driven reporter who believed that his role was promote social justice. To which the reader responded, ” …the mission of journalism is not justice. Defending justice is a political matter, not journalistic. Journalism should be about accuracy and fairness.”
Ultimately, the best way to ensure justice is through a media that is fair and accurate.