Friday, December 31, 2021

The Worst Media Misses of 2021

Daniel Becerril, Thomas Peter, Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters
Welcome to a special year-end edition of “Forgotten Fact-Checks,” a weekly column produced by National Review’s News Desk. This week, as the sun sets on 2021, we recap the year’s biggest media misses.
Media Downplay Inconvenient Waukesha-Massacre Facts
The mainstream media turned a collective blind eye to the Waukesha car-collision massacre that killed six people and left dozens wounded in November, willfully ignoring the lengthy rap sheet of the suspected killer, Darrell Brooks.
Brooks’s alleged offenses include domestic abuse, battery, disorderly conduct, recklessly endangering safety, felony bail-jumping, and resisting or obstructing an officer. As he drove his car into a crowd attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., Brooks faced multiple pending cases in Milwaukee County involving second-degree reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Weeks before the attack, he had even punched the mother of his child in the face before trying to run her over with his car. He was immediately released on $1,000 cash bond — a figure Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm, called “inappropriately low” after he mowed down Waukesha’s “Dancin’ Grannies.”
While some outlets are guilty of ignoring or downplaying Brooks’s checkered past, CNN seemingly suggested that a fully autonomous car plowed through a crowd, writing that the city “will hold a moment of silence today, marking one week since a car drove through a city Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring scores of others.”
In a since-deleted social-media post from 2020, Brooks proclaimed his intention to “start bakk knokkin white people TF out ion wanna hear it…the old white ppl 2, KNOKK DEM TF OUT!! PERIOD..” leading many to believe that there was a political element to the lack of interest in the motive behind the gruesome attack.
The Whips That Weren’t
Vice News declared in a September tweet that Border Patrol agents “are whipping Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border in Texas.” Yet neither the story nor the Al Jazeera video it links to suggested that the agents were actually whipping the migrants.
It was later determined that the agents were wielding the reins of their horses — not whips — as they worked to contain the flow of migrants across the river. And experts familiar with the protocols for mounted Border Patrol agents came to the defense of the agents in the video, saying the reins can be used to steer the horse, but agents will also spin them on occasion to deter people from getting too close to the horse.
The media game of telephone stirred up such a frenzy that Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas vowed to open an investigation into the situation. However, DHS’ inspector general later “declined” to investigate the agents.
Fact-Checking the Washington Post’s Fact Checker
In April, fact-checker Glenn Kessler was embroiled in a pair of controversies. First, he published a deep dive into the family history of Senator Tim Scott (R., S.C.): “Tim Scott often talks about his grandfather and cotton. There’s more to that tale.” The so-called “fact check” questioned Scott’s story about how his family rose from “cotton to Congress.”
Kessler argued that Scott’s rags-to-riches story was more “complex” than the senator had portrayed because Scott’s great-great-grandfather owned 900 acres in South Carolina, including a farm where Scott’s grandfather worked.
“Scott tells a tidy story packaged for political consumption, but a close look shows how some of his family’s early and improbable success gets flattened and written out of his biography,” Kessler argued.
Meanwhile, despite Kessler’s commitment to fact-checking the humble beginnings of a Republican senator, he announced that same month that he would discontinue his database of fact-checks on President Biden after Biden’s first 100 days in office, saying he had “learned my lesson.”
“‘Learned my lesson’ means that who knows what the next four years will bring,” Kessler clarified shortly after tweeting the initial announcement. “We have fact-checked Biden rigorously and will continue to do so. Trump at 500 claims/100 days was manageable; 8,000+ was not.”
He added: “Maintaining the Trump database over four years required about 400 additional 8-hour days over four years beyond our regular jobs for three people. Biden is off to a relatively slow start but who knows what will happen. We will keep doing fact checks, just not a database.”
--->6 MORE of the Worst Media Misses HERE

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