Confronting Media Lies

If you thought the disgusting bilge being pushed in the media about Sarah Palin wasn’t awful enough, more astonishing is what Andrew Breitbart discovered when he came into possession of an email from Joe McGinniss that reveals something about the character of all those involved in writing, publishing, and marketing this trash:  They appear to be morally bankrupt people who will chase dollars over truth at the expense of anyone and anything.   In particular, Breitbart exposes how Random House published McGinniss’ book allegedly already knowing that virtually all of the salacious charges he wrote were substantially false and unproven.  It is a scathing indictment of the mindset of those who constitute much of the establishment media.

We’ve seen how media can create false narratives designed to damage and smear, but few politicians in memory have been subjected to the level of pure slander that has been aimed at Sarah Palin.   It’s not unusual for politicians to do or say things that come back to haunt them, but when people are reduced to fabricating stories and salacious details, there’s something that has gone wrong, not merely with the media, but also those who consume the news.  It’s a deeply disturbing cultural trend that one can get away with saying or writing virtually anything about others without any evidence, or any proof of one’s allegations.  To see the media do this suggests that we have a serious problem in journalistic ethics, but to see that it has begun to happen in the wider culture, particularly through the publication of Internet-based smears says something about the moral base of the country.

Much like the caricature Tina Fey created of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, the problem with so much in media is that most of it simply isn’t true, but that seems to pose no moral  obstacles to those who are intent upon a campaign of personal destruction against Palin.  From McGinniss’ own email to Jesse Griffin, who Breitbart describes as a publisher of a “low-rent and now-defunct anti-Palin blog,” as provided by Breitbard, it’s clear there’s something wrong when an author seems to have known his allegations were lies.  Let’s cover a few of them, from Breitbart’s piece, in McGinniss’ own words:

“No one has ever provided factual evidence that:

  • a) Todd had sex with a hooker, or with anyone else outside his marriage.
  • b) Sarah had an affair with Brad Hanson, or anyone else.
  • c) Track was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term. Or that he vandalized Wasilla school buses.
  • d) Willow was involved in the vandalism of the empty house in Meadow Lakes. Or that Sarah rushed back from Hawaii to put the lid on that.
  • e) Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child.
  • f) Bristol was promiscuous as a high schooler and drank and used drugs, or became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.”

Consider all of this in light of the salacious garbage that’s been floating around in media for weeks about this.  If McGinniss knew all of this, how is it that he or his publisher could go forward with the book?  What’s worse is that knowing this, there are any number of little gossip-mongers and muck-rakers still pushing this garbage all over the internet.  People speak of hate in politics, but what sort of hatred could be more virulent than the sort that permits people to run with such stories they know to be untrue?

I haven’t the capacity to describe the infamy of such thinking.  Imagine the mind of the ordinary person who propagates such complete trash?  What sort of hate must burden and consume them that to convey such information presents no apparent ethical difficulty?  One can’t help but wonder if these sorts weren’t the too-infrequently exposed note-passers who sprouted to spread rumors in the classrooms of our youth, fertilized and tended by an obsessively obnoxious culture to become blossoming toxic weeds in adulthood.

There should be no controversy in the suggestion that any who become purveyors of such vile filth are awful.  To realize there are people who do so, despite knowing it had been a falsehood, should provide us every justification on earth to cast them aside as pariahs. It makes no sense to argue with this kind of vile hatred.  There isn’t a cure.  They have no shame.  It’s up to us to recognize their handiwork and call it out.  Andrew Breitbart has done what the big media won’t: He’s exposed the lies and the liars who spread them.  In the McGinniss email, there is mentioned a “Patrick” in association with Jesse Griffin.  I think I’ve identified their new on-line hang-out and have forwarded that information to Breitbart through one of his people, although I suspect he’s already aware of their current disposition.  My small blog is neither equipped nor staffed to further research the matter, but I believe exposure of these haters is long overdue.  They propagate wild conspiracy theories of the sort described in McGinniss’ email.  They have even been to this blog to look for new fodder for defamation, but finding none, they returned to their happy little site to cast aspersions on this author.   Mr. Breitbart has a demonstrated ability and determination to handle them properly, and if he didn’t know where they landed before now, he soon will.

Let me state it clearly: They are filth.

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