Today, Bad News and Bad Journalism

Today, Bad News and Bad Journalism

© David Burton 2021

Bad News

NOTE: Emphasized text in quoted material reflects emphasis by David Burton and not by the source of the quoted text.

     It’s unfortunate, but true: Bad News Sells! We could also just as accurately have written that Fake News Sells! Today’s America has all-too-often willingly allowed its free press to become the purveyor of falsehoods and bombastic, but false or misleading headlines and stories – particularly when the fake news bolsters the liberal left’s attempts to discredit the unparalleled success of America in the hope of replacing American democracy and capitalism with their delusional dream of a first-time-ever successful Marxist managed socialist utopia.

     A prime example of this disturbing trend in modern American journalism is the murder of 8 persons in Atlanta, Georgia massage parlors in March of 2021. Six of these victims of a perverted mass-shooter were Asia Americans. The shooter denied killing them because of their ethnicity, but this fact seems to have escaped the attention of the media and a large segment of the American public. After all, it makes better headlines to scream: ”Atlanta spa shootings spark conversation about hate crimes targeting Asian Americans” (Ref. 1)

     “If you rely on The New York Times, the Democratic Party, or CNN – they are interchangeable – for your perception of reality, you now believe America is reeling from the latest expression of white supremacy: anti-Asian racism.
     “It’s a lie, the purpose of which is to:
     “a) further demonize America;
     “b) further demonize white Americans;
     “c) further divide Americans by race and ethnicity;
     “d) reinforce – or create – the belief among Asian Americans that they are widely hated (and must therefore rely on the government and especially the Democratic Party); and
     “e) engender ethnic identity among Asian Americans, most of whom have heretofore essentially considered themselves Americans who happen to be of Asian descent.
     “Is there anti-Asian racism in America? Of course. Ethnic bigotry is a tragic part of the human condition. There is no country in which members of different races live that is bereft of ethnic or racial bigotry.
     “Therefore, the only question decent, wise, or honest people ask is: How much? And the answer in America is: very, very little.
     “But the left lacks decency, wisdom, and honesty. Therefore, it offers continuous reporting about anti-Asian racism, most of which so wildly exaggerates the issue as to constitute a lie.
     “Let’s begin with {the} attack in Atlanta, in which a 21-year-old white man murdered eight people in Asian massage parlors, six of them Asian-Americans.
     “Thus far, there is not a shred of evidence that the Asian Americans were killed because they were Asian. The reason the shooter killed them, according to those who knew him before the shootings and investigators who have spoken to him since the shootings, was that he had an addiction, for which he had already been in rehab and had frequented some or all of the massage establishments he targeted, which he blamed for contributing to his addiction.
     “As of {26 March 2021}, there is also no evidence of the killer ever having expressed any anti-Asian sentiments on social media or in private conversation. Nevertheless, the lying media – a term that has become redundant – have portrayed the shootings from the moment they reported them as anti-Asian racism.
     “The Atlanta lie is part of the greater lie that there is a national epidemic of white supremacist anti-Asian racism. On March 18 {2021}, for example, The Washington Post reported: ‘Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked 150 percent since the pandemic began, according to a recent study.’
     “The study cited by The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and the other left-wing media is from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. The 150 percent increase in anti-Asian American hate crimes is contained in its ‘Fact Sheet: Anti-Asian Prejudice March 2020,’ according to which the number of anti-Asian American incidents rose from {a grand total of} 49 in 2019 to 122 in 2020.
     “So, the entire edifice of hate against Asian Americans is predicated on an alleged increase of 73 incidents.
     “Given that there are about 330 million Americans, and assuming a different American was responsible for each of the 122 anti-Asian incidents, that would mean that 1 in every 2,704,918 Americans committed an anti-Asian incident. And ‘incident’ includes perceived slights.
     “As regards violent acts against Asian Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics from September 2019, blacks have committed the greatest percentage of violent crimes against Asian Americans. But the mendacious media do not report that.
     “The New York Times, the leader in mass hysterias fomented by the left – hysteria is the oxygen of the left – printed this headline last week: ‘Attacks on Asian-Americans in New York Stoke Fear, Anxiety and Anger.’ And the subhead reads: ‘Hate crimes involving Asian-American victims soared in New York City last year.’
     “Focus on the word ‘soared’ and you will appreciate the Times’ commitment to truth.
     “If one reads past the headline – which most people do not – the article gives the actual numbers: ‘The number of hate crimes with Asian American victims reported to the New York Police Department jumped to 28 in 2020, from just three the previous year.
     “You read that right: The number of incidents ‘soared’ and ’jumped’ to 28 – in a city of 8.4 million people, including, as of 2010, over one million Asian Americans. So, about 1 in every 300,000 New Yorkers committed a hate crime against an Asian American, and about 1 in every 36,000 Asian Americans living in New York was a victim of a hate crime. To put this number into perspective, the odds of your dying in a motor vehicle accident are about 1 in 9,000.
     “Another New York Times article, under the headline ‘A Tense Lunar New Year for the Bay Area After Attacks on Asian-Americans,’ opens with this: ‘The videos are graphic and shocking. In January, a local television station showed footage of a young man sprinting toward, then violently shoving to the ground, a man identified as . . . 84, who had been out for a morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco. He later died.’
     “The Times piece never reveals the name or race of the perpetrator: . . . a 19-year-old black man. {Heaven forbid that the N.Y. Times should even hint that Blacks commit crimes!}
      - - -
     “Meanwhile, the blanketing of the country with the Atlanta lie and the anti-Asian violence continues. The cover of this week’s Time features a drawing of a young Asian woman under the headline: ‘We Are Not Silent: Confronting America’s Legacy of Anti-Asian Violence.’
     “It’s all a lie in service to the left’s hatred of America." (Ref. 2)

     Today, it’s not just bad news that sells, but so does biased journalism. All too often these days, instead of reporting the facts and the truth, our representatives of a formerly strong unbiased free press now resort to reporting what they or their bosses have decided is what the unwashed masses want to see and hear. Journalistic integrity seems to have gone out of style and been replaced with a strong left-leaning liberal bias. Where are today’s Walter Cronkites and Edward R. Murrows? Is journalistic integrity dead?

     “ Ask journalists, and they'll likely tell you they play things right down the middle. They strive to be ‘fair.’ They're ‘centrists.’ Sorry, not true. The profound leftward ideological bias of the Big Media is the main reason why America now seems saturated with ‘fake news.’ Journalists, besotted with their own ideology, are no longer able to recognize their own bias.
     “Despite journalists' denials, it's now pretty much a fact that journalism is one of the most left-wing of all professions. But until recently, that wasn't thought to be true of financial journalists — who have a reputation for being the most right-leaning and free-market-oriented among mainstream journalists.
     “If that was ever true, it sure isn't today, a new study suggests.
     “Researchers from Arizona State University and Texas A&M University questioned 462 financial journalists around the country. . . The journalists worked for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press and a number of other newspapers.
     “What they found surprised them. Even the supposedly hard-nosed financial reporters were overwhelmingly liberal. . .
      - - -
     “What about the mythic ‘conservative’ financial journalist? In fact, a mere 0.46% of financial journalists called themselves ‘very conservative,’ while just 3.94% said they were ‘somewhat conservative.’ That's a whopping 4.4% of the total that lean right-of-center.
     “{The study turned up} a ratio of 13 ‘liberals’ for every one ‘conservative.’ Whatever happened to ideological diversity? Please remember this as you watch the business news or read a financial story in the paper. You might want to take its message with a grain of salt. That's especially true if the piece seems unduly harsh on the free-market system and its many proven benefits. Or if it lauds socialism as an ‘answer’ to society's ills.
     “This is an enormous problem for the media — perhaps bigger than they realize. A Rasmussen Reports survey in late October {2018} found that 45% of all likely voters in the midterm elections believed ‘that when most reporters write about a congressional race, they are trying to help the Democratic candidate.’
      - - -
     “. . . this ‘helps explain why Democratic voters are much bigger fans of election news coverage’ than others. They see it as favorable to their own beliefs.
      - - -
     “It's time the journalistic mainstream addresses this problem. Smug denial is no longer an option. It starts with owners, publishers and editors demanding fairness in their reporting and weeding out obvious bias. While they're at it, they should elevate the idea of unbiased news coverage to a goal, even if it's not attainable.” (Ref. 3)

     A RAND Corporation study reported upon in Market Watch in 2018 took note of the shift in media reporting. The report stated that, “U.S. news has shifted to opinion-based content that appeals to emotion” and “American journalism is losing its objectivity.” RAND is a nonprofit nonpartisan think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif.
     The Rand researchers found a major shift had occurred between 1989 and 2017 as journalism expanded beyond traditional media, such as newspapers and broadcast networks, to newer media, including 24-hour cable news channels and digital outlets. The report discussed “Truth Decay” along with the declining role of facts and analysis in civil discourse and its effect on American life. “Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage.”
     Researchers analyzed content from 15 outlets representing print, television and digital journalism. They found a “gradual and subtle shift” between old and new media toward a more subjective form of journalism.
     Before 2000, broadcast news segments were more likely to include relatively complex academic and precise language, as well as complex reasoning, the researchers said. After 2000, however, broadcast news became more concerned with on-air personalities and talking heads debating the news.
     The RAND report was not the only report to find a shift toward opinion and subjectivity in news. “Tumultuous news cycles have made an impact on global opinions regarding media,” according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 countries ranking released earlier this year. Some 63% of people say that there are no longer any objective news sources they can trust, and 66% say internet news and content is dividing people rather than uniting them. What’s more, more than 50% agree that political and social issues around the world have gotten worse over the past year.
     In the U.S., former President Trump famously labeled media outlets that had reported critically on his administration as “fake news,” and described CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and the New York Times NYT, as “the enemy of the American people.”[4]

     Although the term "fake news" took center stage during Donald Trump's presidency, it actually first emerged toward the end of the 19th century—and indeed, false and distorted news has been a part of media history long before social media.
     There are tons of examples of false news throughout history. It was used in Nazi Germany to build anti-Semitic enthusiasm. In America during the 1700s and 1800s, rampant racism led to the spreading of false stories about African Americans’ supposed crimes and inferiority to whites, some of which still linger today. In the 1890s, “yellow journalism” or reporting sensational news and rumors as facts, helped lead the United States into the Spanish-American War.
     Eventually, there was criticism of the lack of journalistic integrity. As a result, fake news declined until we saw an increase in web-based false stories and misinformation.
     Many of us recall The National Enquirer at the checkout counter of grocery stores. While the tabloid was readily available and many read it, it was also well known that it contained false news stories and misinformation. We also have parody news productions, which were – and still are - common on Saturday Night Live, that are generally satire but are also incorrect depictions of real current events. Most of us don’t generally confuse SNL for real news.
     Today’s fake news is different from what we have seen in the past because of the speed at which it is spread and the way it can influence consumers.
     Unfortunately, there are plenty of hard news sources that clearly report information based on specific political agendas or other forms of bias. There are also numerous instances of hard news sources using staging, adding a particular slant, or making mistakes in their news coverage.
     Much of this fake news involves sensational headlines or stories, distorts the facts, and can be quite deceptive. The creator of the fake news story may take a piece of information that is true, such as a picture, and then create a completely different narrative.
     For instance, a few years ago there was a post being shared widely on social media that showed a border fence with the caption that the fence was in Mexico on the border with Guatemala and was intended to keep so-called "freeloaders" out of Mexico. The caption compared this to the border wall that was proposed to be built on the border of Mexico and the U.S. In this example, the picture was of an actual border fence, but the fence was not in Mexico and was not on the border with Guatemala. Instead, it was a picture of a fence that Israel built in 2013 along their border with Egypt in an attempt to keep terrorists and illegal African immigrants from entering Israel.
     Our news media should return to old-fashioned fact checking and unbiased reporting. Americans deserve to receive facts and accurate information from its news media. Better steps need to be taken to avoid perpetuating mistakes, staging events, exaggerating facts, and exhibiting bias in reporting. Consumers need tools to help them identify fake news when they see it, and fact check information with which they are presented.[5]

     Mark R. Levin paints a disheartening picture of American journalism in his book American Marxism.[6] In what follows, I have extracted some relevant observations of Levin from Chapter six, PROPAGANDA, CENSORSHIP, AND SUBVERSION of his book.

     In levin’s view, many in the media have become “propagandists for an anti-American, pro-Marxist agenda.” These so-called journalists “have abandoned the traditional role of reporter for that of social activist – driving most of the same issues and agendas as the various Marxist movements in the United States.”
     As already noted, newspapers are under strong pressure to distort in the interest of holding attention. . . . It is an inescapable fact that newspapers thrive on friction and conflict and not necessarily on facts. Journalism today has become so politicized that “social activism in support of various American Marxist movements has engulfed the former profession of journalism, and substituted slanted and biased opinion for news.”
     “The combination of propaganda, pseudo-news, and social activism in America’s newsrooms has resulted in the disastrous state of the modern press.” Consequently, “the American media have become special pleaders for the Marxist ideology, or at least advocates for those who apply it to numerous aspects of society.”
     The ’wokeness’ that now pervades American journalism “combines the sensibilities of highly educated and hyper-liberal white professionals with elements of Black nationalism and educational critical race theory.” The results and not encouraging. Throughout the media, we now see “Repression, not engagement; compliance, not speech; conformity, not independence; and subjugation, not liberty”, which are all hallmarks of American Marxism. Our free press is fast ceasing to be ‘free’.
     The effect of all this on the average American has been a loss of freedom of speech. “. . . self-censorship among Americans has soared. In the late 1950s, at the height of McCarthyism, 13.4 percent of Americans reported that they ‘felt less free to speak their minds than they used to.’ In 1987, the figure reached 20 percent. By 2019, 40 percent of Americans reported that they did not feel free to speak their minds.” [Emphasis mine]


  1. 360: Atlanta spa shootings spark conversation about hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, msn:com,
    29 March 2021.
  2. The Left’s Latest Lie: Anti-Asian Racism, Dennis Prager, The Jewish Press: Page 6, 26 March 2021.
  3. Media Bias: Pretty Much All Of Journalism Now Leans Left, Study Shows, Investor's Business Daily,
    16 November 2018.
  4. American journalism is suffering from ‘truth decay’ — the media have become more biased over the last 30 years, RAND study says, Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch, 28 May 2019.
  5. How Today's Fake News Is Different Than in the Past, Chrysalis L. Wright Ph.D., Psychology Today, 9 May 2020.
  6. American Marxism, Mark R. Levin, Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster, Inc., July 2021.


  23 December 2021 {Article 507; Whatever_81}    
Go back to the top of the page