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In 2021, Media Did More to Erode Trust Than to Repair It

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It’s obvious that the media’s hatred for Donald Trump colored nearly everything they wrote or said during his presidency. But one hoped that after he left the White House, the media might recover a little objectivity.

Sadly, a review of 2021 shows that in many cases, it simply did not happen.

The case of actor Jussie Smollett’s fake hate crime came to a conclusion this month, revealing that media outlets still are eager to pounce on a racially divisive story and cast blame, but reluctant to examine themselves when the story falls apart.

For those who didn’t pay attention, Smollett, who is black and gay and once a star of the Fox drama “Empire,” alleged in January 2019 that two white men recognized him, physically attacked him, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and tied a rope around his neck in a symbolic lynching before he managed to fight them off.

Smollett claimed that the two men wore red “Make America Great Again” hats, trademarks of the Trump campaign, and screamed, “This is MAGA country!”

He said this all occurred at 2 a.m. in deep blue, frigid Chicago, an early clue that something was amiss.

Nevertheless, the media credulously reported Smollett’s story, often relaying the details as fact without describing them as mere allegations.

PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, now a contributor at NBC and MSNBC, took the story at face value. She blamed the nation at large, tweeting: “We have to do better as a country. This is disgusting.”

Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah zeroed in on who the real culprit was, in her view, tweeting that “yet another reminder that Trump’s ascendance and the resulting climate of hate has meant that lives have been increasingly at stake since 2015.”

These weren’t isolated takes on the Smollett episode–this was the genuine consensus of the media.

Earlier this month, Smollett was convicted of five of six counts of disorderly conduct, all stemming from his lies to Chicago police about the “hate crime” he staged with the help of others.

And how did the media react to this outcome? Not well, and in some cases, not at all.

ABC News, which had featured Smollett and allowed the actor to elaborate on the hoax in 2019, failed to tell viewers that his trial was underway.

When Smollett’s guilty verdicts were announced, the entire prime-time lineup on MSNBC completely ignored the news, despite the fact that the network was one of the principal promoters of Smollett’s original claims.

An incredible headline on CNN muttered: “Jussie Smollett guilty on some charges,” blatantly downplaying the multiple verdicts. It would have been more accurate to say “most charges,” or even better, the precisely accurate “five of six.”

And finally, some wondered why we were talking about the Smollett verdicts at all. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow tweeted that he hated that “people care enough to ‘hate’ any part of it.”

But in some circles, the lessons of the Smollett saga were completely disregarded.

ESPN, nominally a sports network, this month aired a documentary focused on the supposed discovery of a noose hanging in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who is black, in 2019.

Producers at ESPN must not watch ESPN much, because the network was among the many which reported in June 2020 that the noose was not a noose, but was in fact a door pull that had been there for months, according to the FBI.

The lengths to which the media will go to fan racial tensions was also evident in disparate treatment of the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide case in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the vehicular attack last month at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse was tried and convicted in the media, painted as a white supremacist, and accused of crimes he did not commit, before he was exonerated last month by a jury.

In the Waukesha case, career criminal Darrell Brooks drove his car through a crowd along the parade route, killing six and injuring many others–purposely, police say.

And major media outlets still are not curious about a motive. In fact, many reports referred to Brooks’ SUV as the true assailant and described the incident as a “parade crash,” as though it were an accident.

In yet another tragic story, the media went into full racial hysteria mode when Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl, was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio, on the same day as the guilty verdict was announced for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. Like Floyd, Bryant was black.

Without waiting for facts to emerge, most reporters tied the two cases together as examples of deadly police brutality. Before long, police body camera video proved that Bryant was shot while wielding a knife in the process of attacking another black girl. Police almost certainly saved the second girl’s life.

Aside from culturally fraught stories, the media saw some of their favorite narratives fall apart in 2021.

In June, an investigation into the clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House concluded that they had not been dispersed to make way for President Trump to walk to a church for a photo op. The media had clung to this story for a year.

A narrative we thought we knew is not the reality,” NBC News correspondent Ken Dilanian said.

In April, the Biden White House–of all things!–finally dispelled the notion that Trump had failed to hold Russia accountable for paying bounties to militants to attack American troops in Afghanistan.

That story had been launched by The New York Times during the 2020 election, but finally was exposed as baseless.

After a year of wailing that discussion of the theoretical leak of a new coronavirus from a research lab in China was racist or xenophobic, the media finally embraced the idea as a possibility. The lab leak theory was allowed to be discussed once Trump was out of the White House.

Presidential son Hunter Biden’s laptop, once a forbidden topic of discussion that would get you branded as a conspiracy theorist and banned from social media, was found to be authentic. A book by a Politico reporter confirmed much of the information contained on Biden’s laptop, a year after most media outlets refused to cover the story by claiming it was Russian disinformation.

And maybe the granddaddy of all media comeuppances was the final, definitive debunking of the so-called Steele dossier, the Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research document at the center of the Russia collusion hoax designed to cripple or oust Trump.

Last month, Russian national Igor Danchenko, a prime source for former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the anti-Trump “dossier,” was charged with five counts of lying to the FBI.

It was the shameful end to a fake news story fed to the public for more than two years.

A recent poll shows that only about a third of Americans trust the news media, and 2021 did more to erode that confidence than it did to repair it.

As the new year approaches, one is tempted to hope that the media engage in a little self-reflection. Recent history, however, suggests that it is not likely.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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Hailey Bieber Details Terrifying ‘Life-Altering’ Mini-Stroke She Suffered And Procedure To Close Hole In Her Heart

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Hailey Bieber has spoken out in her “own words” about the “life-altering,” “scariest moment” of her life she had after suffering what she called a mini-stroke, and later underwent a procedure to close a hole in her heart.

The 25-year-old supermodel and wife of superstar singer Justin Bieber took to her YouTube channel Wednesday and opened up about the terrifying experience of being hospitalized last month after she suffered a blood clot to her brain that traveled through a hole in her heart between 12 and 13 millimeters, reported People magazine.

“I had, like, a very scary incident on March 10, basically,” Bieber shared. “I was sitting at breakfast with my husband, having a normal day … and all of the sudden, I felt this really weird sensation that kind of like traveled down my arm from my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. And it made my fingertips feel really numb and weird.”

“Justin [her husband] was like, ‘Are you okay?’” she added, as she explained that she tried to respond to him, but she “couldn’t speak.” “The right side of my face started drooping; I couldn’t get a sentence out.”

“Obviously, immediately, I thought I was having a stroke,” the supermodel continued. “He thought I was having a stroke. Right away, he asked for somebody to please call 911 and get a doctor.”

Hailey said that where they were, there happened to be a medic who started asking her lots of questions and testing her arms, calling it definitely the “scariest moment” of her life. The model talked about how the “facial drooping lasted for probably like thirty seconds.” Her speech did came back, but her “anxiety” about what was happening just made “everything worse.”

“By the time I got to the emergency room, I was pretty much back to normal – [I] could talk, [I] wasn’t having any issues with my face or my arm,” Bieber explained.

She said scans revealed she had, in fact, suffered a “small blood clot” to her brain which was labeled a “TIA” [Transient Ischemic Attack]. Hailey told her followers it was basically like having a “mini-stroke.”

Doctors still weren’t sure what caused it, but she said it was widely believed it was a combination of birth-control issues, recently having COVID-19, and having just traveled “to Paris and back in a very short amount of time,” calling it a “perfect storm.”

Further testing at the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed Bieber had a Grade 5 PFO [a small opening in the heart that usually closes after birth]. The outlet said the hold measured between 12 and 13 millimeters. She later underwent a procedure to close the hole, and said it went “very smoothly” and she’s recovering.

“The biggest thing I feel is I just feel really relieved that we were able to figure everything out, that we were able to get it closed, that I will be able to just move on from this really scary situation and just live my life,” Hailey shared.

“If there’s anybody that watches this that has gone through the same thing or something similar, I definitely really empathize with you,” she concluded. “And I understand how life-altering and scary it is.”

Bieber, who’s the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and Kennya Baldwin, married her husband Justin in 2018.

Related: Hailey Baldwin Credits Christian Faith For Marriage To Justin Bieber

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Wikipedia’s Left-Wing Bias

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I love Wikipedia. I donated thousands of dollars to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Before Wikipedia, all we had were printed encyclopedias—out of date by the time we bought them.

Then libertarian Jimmy Wales came up with a web-based, crowd-sourced encyclopedia.

Crowd-sourced? A Britannica editor called Wikipedia “a public restroom.” But Wales won the battle. Britannica’s encyclopedias are no longer printed.

Congratulations to Wales.

But recently, I learned that Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger now says Wikipedia’s political pages have turned into leftist “propaganda.”

That’s upsetting. Leftists took over the editing?

Sadly, yes. I checked it out.

All editing is done by volunteers. Wales hoped there would be enough diverse political persuasions that biases would be countered by others.

But that’s not what’s happening.

Leftists just like to write. Conservatives build things: companies, homes, farms.

You see the pattern comparing political donations from different professions: Surgeons, oil workers, truck drivers, loggers, and pilots lean right; artists, bartenders, librarians, reporters, and teachers lean left.

Conservatives don’t have as much time to tweet or argue on the web. Leftists do. And they love doing it. This helps them take over the media, universities, and now, Wikipedia.

Jonathan Weiss is what Wikipedia calls a “Top 100” Wikipedian because he’s made almost half a million edits. He says he’s noticed new bias: “Wikipedia does a great job on things like science and sports, but you see a lot of political bias come into play when you’re talking current events.”

Weiss is no conservative. In presidential races, he voted for Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Barack Obama. Never for a Republican. “I’ve really never identified strongly with either political party,” he says.

Maybe that’s why he notices the new Wikipedia bias.

“People on the left far outweigh people on the center and the right … a lot [are] openly socialist and Marxist.” Some even post pictures of Che Guevara and Lenin on their own profiles.

These are the people who decide which news sources Wikipedia writers may cite. Wikipedia’s approved “Reliable sources” page rejects political reporting from Fox but calls CNN and MSNBC “reliable.”

Good conservative outlets like The Federalist, the Daily Caller, and The Daily Wire are all deemed “unreliable.” Same with the New York Post (That’s probably why Wikipedia called Hunter Biden’s emails a conspiracy theory even after other liberal media finally acknowledged that they were real).

While it excludes Fox, Wikipedia approves even hard left media like Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, and Jacobin, a socialist publication.

Until recently, Wikipedia’s “socialism” and “communism” pages made no mention of the millions of people killed by socialism and communism. Even now, deaths are “deep in the article,” says Weiss, “treated as an arcane academic debate. But we’re talking about mass murder!”

The communism page even adds that we cannot ignore the “lives saved by communist modernization”! This is nuts.

Look up “concentration and internment camps” and you’ll find, along with the Holocaust, “Mexico-United States border,” and under that, “Trump administration family separation policy.”

What? Former President Donald Trump’s border controls, no matter how harsh, are very different from the Nazi’s mass murder.

Wikipedia does say “anyone can edit.” So, I made a small addition for political balance, mentioning that President Barack Obama built those cages.

My edit was taken down.

I wrote Wikipedia founder Wales to say that if his creation now uses only progressive sources, I would no longer donate.

He replied, “I totally respect the decision not to give us more money. I’m such a fan and have great respect for you and your work.” But then he said it is “just 100% false … that ‘only globalist, progressive mainstream sources’ are permitted.”

He gave examples of left-wing media that Wikipedia rejects, like Raw Story and Occupy Democrats.

I’m glad he rejects them. Those sites are childishly far left.

I then wrote again to ask why “there’s not a single right-leaning media outlet Wiki labels ‘reliable’ about politics, [but] Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, CNN, MSNBC” get approval.

Wales then stopped responding to my emails.

Unless Wikipedia’s bias is fixed, I’ll be skeptical reading anything on the site.

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Public Health England to blame for sending patients to care homes without Covid tests

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, Whitehall officials alleged that Prof Duncan Selbie, the former PHE chief executive, was ultimately responsible for informing Mr Hancock of the risks.

Prof Selbie is working as a senior adviser to the DHSC. Neither he nor the department responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Mr Hancock, who was replaced by Sajid Javid last year, claimed the High Court ruling had exonerated him and the had been cleared “of any wrongdoing” because PHE “failed to tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission”.

The High Court judges concluded that care home policies in March and April 2020 were “irrational” because they failed to advise that those discharged from hospitals “should, so far as practicable, be kept apart from other residents for up to 14 days”.

“Since there is no evidence that this question was considered by the secretary of state, or that he was asked to consider it, it is not an example of a political judgment on a finely balanced issue,” they said. “Nor is it a point on which any of the expert committees had advised that no guidance was required.”

After the ruling, Boris Johnson said he wanted to “renew my apologies and sympathies” to relatives who lost loved ones, adding: “The thing we didn’t know in particular was that Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically in the way that it was.”

However, the risks of asymptomatic transmission had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser for England, who said it was “quite likely” as early as March 13 2020. Varying levels of risk had been outlined in papers from late January, the ruling said.

The judicial review was brought by Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers, Michael Gibson and Donald Harris, died after testing positive for Covid.

‘Opens the floodgates for potential claims’

Paul Conrathe, a solicitor at Sinclairslaw who was instructed by both women, said: “It’s possible that care home providers and relatives who lost loved ones in the first wave could bring compensation claims. The Government was found to have acted ‘irrationally’ – that’s a very high legal hurdle.”

Nadra Ahmed, who chairs the National Care Association, said the ruling “opens the floodgates for potential claims to be brought against government policy”.

“This will be especially pertinent where the individual was not given a choice,” she said. “There will be a lot of people assimilating to the information as they consider if the loss of their loved one was premature, and holding the Government to account is the only way forward for them.”

Helen Wildbore, the director of the Relatives and Residents Association, said that the ruling proved “the protective ring around care homes was non-existent” and that older people were “abandoned at the outset of the pandemic”.

A government spokesman said it had been a “very difficult decision” to discharge hospital patients into care homes, taken when evidence on asymptomatic transmission was “extremely uncertain”.

The spokesman added: “We acknowledge the judge’s comments on assessing the risks of asymptomatic transmission and our guidance on isolation, and will respond in more detail in due course.”


‘He was in a home and should have been safe’

They stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice, two women unknown to each other before the Covid pandemic but brought together by tragedy, writes Tom Ough.

Cathy Gardner spoke first, delivering a steely reading of a statement. Matt Hancock’s boast of a “protective ring” encircling care homes, Dr Gardner said, was “a despicable lie of which he ought to be ashamed and for which he ought to apologise”.

Fay Harris, more downcast in demeanour but no less forthright, told journalists: “I have lost precious years with my wonderful Dad.”

Both women lost their fathers in early 2020, arguing that they might still be alive were it not for hospital patients having been discharged into care homes without having been tested for Covid.

Michael Gibson, born in 1931, had been a superintendent registrar of births and deaths. “He was in a home and should have been safe,” Dr Gardner told The Independent after his death.

Mr Gibson, who had advanced dementia, had fallen ill a couple of weeks before the first lockdown. Staff at his care home were unable to procure tests for Covid, but the virus is believed to have struck him down.

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