The New York Times has made another odd claim about the President that their audience is sure to believe without question. Is the mainstream media testing what they can get away with? Are they trying to see how far they can go before their audience will question them?
In an story reported over the weekend, the NYT alleged that while the government was shutdown Trump spent most of his time watching old TV clips of himself “berating President Barack Obama for a lack of leadership during the 2013 government shutdown.”
The source of this odd claim? An anonymous White House aide who seemed “content to sit back and watch the show.”
Here’s the full passage, which is tacked on to the end of the article.
“On Saturday, the president was left alternately defiant and angry, self-pitying and frustrated. He argued to aides that he did not deserve the blame he was taking, but without a credible deal on the table, there was little for him to do. Irritated to have missed his big event in Florida, Mr. Trump spent much of his day watching old TV clips of him berating President Barack Obama for a lack of leadership during the 2013 government shutdown, a White House aide said, seeming content to sit back and watch the show.”
So the NYT would have us believe that while everyone else was working hard on capital hill to get the government back open, President Trump was having a pity party and watching old clips of himself smacking down Obama? How narcissistic, unstable, and racist of him. Someone better evoke the 25th amendment before he loses his mind and nukes the South Side of Chicago. Down with Cheeto!
Is the claim true? I don’t know. To me it sounds more like the parody story about how Trump spends 17 hours a day watching videos of gorillas fighting than it does a real story. You know, the one that went viral because so many people believed it was true. I do question the authenticity of the above quoted claim, but not just because it reads like a parody to me. The main reason I question it is because it comes from the New York Times. They’ve reported too many stories from unnamed sources that ended up not being true, and I don’t trust them. I no longer give them the benefit of doubt simply because they’re the New York Times.
But it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what their primary target audience thinks. And their audience will believe this story without question, regardless of whether it’s true or false. Their primary audience will believe anything that reinforces their negative perceptions about Trump as long as the story seems plausible. If a story meets those requirements, it will not have to withstand critical scrutiny from the majority of their readers. Why would they question something they want so badly to be true?
The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets know this and they appear to be testing just how far they can go before their audience will finally stop and question the validity of a story. I say this because not only has the use of unnamed sources become the norm, so has the reporting of seemingly crazy stories. One day it’s reported that Trump drinks a dozen Diet Coke’s a day. A few weeks later it’s reported that he said everyone from Haiti has AIDS. And not long after that the story is all about how Trump called all African countries S-holes. Those are just a small sampling of stories that originally relied on unnamed sources and were then later disputed, yet millions of Americans have never questioned their validity.
This pattern of reporting by the media has expanded the level of crazy that Americans will, without being shown any evidence, accept as true. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if in their pursuit to see how far they can go, the media just stopped citing sources all together. Maybe instead of saying “according to a source familiar with the matter,” they’ll test how their audience reacts to statements like, “Because we said so,” or “according to us.”
“”BREAKING NEWS: In A Fit of Rage, Trump Fires Baron As His Son, Sends Him To Live in Sh*Thole Haiti Alone”…..Because we said so.”
While there’s a lot of humor in the insanity that comes out of the news these days, it’s a bit unsettling when you hear protesters cite stories that’ve been proven false as their reason for resisting. This is not to say that hardcore Trump supporters don’t sometimes fall into the same trap. They do. The difference is that when Trump supporters are quick to believe a claim before the evidence is in, the claim isn’t parroted as fact by almost every major media outlet in the country.
If nothing else, it’ll at least be interesting to see how ridiculous the stories become before they have to reel it back in. I mean, how much further can they go?
The New York Times article quoted above includes more than just the one reference to an unnamed source. There are a handful of others as well. Among them are:
- “according to one presidential adviser”,
- “according to a person briefed on the exchange”(My personal favorite.),
- “One senior administration official, who asked for anonymity”, and
- “a White House aide said, seeming content to sit back and watch the show.”
It might be time to start compiling a definitive list of all the ways the mainstream media cites anonymous sources.