4 Media Disasters of the Week, from Plagiarism at BuzzFeed to Outrageous PR for Israel's Deadly Gaza Assault
Maybe it's the heat of the summer getting to the media industry, but the proliferation of disasters and outrages in the mainstream and right-wing media world seem to be piling up at a breakneck pace. This week, it was plagiarism at the journalistically challenged Buzzfeed and an endless string of PR stories for Israel as it pushes through a deadly assault.
1. Benny Buzfeed. Newsflash from Buzzfeed!
“This post has been corrected to remove phrasing that was copied from Wikipedia. BuzzFeed takes its responsibility to readers very seriously, and plagiarism is a major breach of that responsibility. Please read our apology to readers here.”
This is what happens when you dig deep into the talent base of the “journalists” toiling in the fact-free world of the right-wing blogosphere and pull out the best and the brightest for your snappy website. Buzzfeed had to sack scribe Benny Johnson after he was caught out copying and pasting from Wikipedia—but that was just the start of it. The bloggo Boy Wonder was soon caught plagiarizing from Yahoo! Answers and U.S. News & World Report, among others, 41 times since his hiring in 2013.
Johnson’s resume before Buzzfeed included jobs outside the reality-based world, including Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, conservative group Accuracy in Media, and an internship at the Christian Right mothership, the Family Research Council, which routinely advocates against gay rights and abortion. According to the Washington Post, "Johnson also made several appearances on the Canadian channel 'The Sun,' where he railed against President Barack Obama’s 'statist' policies — but rarely to report.”
Don’t weep for Benny yet, though. Being famous for being unethical has been known to bring movie deals. Mr. Johnson could still plagiarize Stephen Glass, and get rich too.
2. Gaza PR. It’s becoming a meme among neocons, Christian Zionist right-wingers and other knee-jerk Netanyahu supporters, that Gaza has a successful “PR campaign” underway. Perhaps so, if one thinks actual pictures of actual dead babies killed by actual Israeli bombs constitutes good “PR.”
But, thankfully, the effects of that PR campaign haven’t influenced the New York Times Jerusalem bureau, which is still putting quotations around the words “siege” and “blockade” in stories from Gaza.
Under a headline, “Despite Gains Hamas Sees a Fight for Its Existence and Presses Ahead,” Jerusalem embeds Rudoren and Hubbard slipped in this sentence, which can only be described as Israeli PR dressed up as journalistic skepticism: “Though weary of war, many Gazans see the so-called resistance as the only possible path to pressing Israel and Egypt to open border crossings, and to ending Israel’s ‘siege’ on imports and exports and naval ‘blockade.’”
Today, the UN uses the word “blockade,” to describe the Gaza situation without placing it in between quotation marks.
But that’s just the UN, not the IDF. It remains to be seen whether the Times is capable of following grammatical suit.
3. Rush Watch. Late Thursday night, spiteful, Obama-hatin’ Republicans continued to refuse to allow America to send ambassadors to 25 countries. The Republicans are so angry and desperate they will sabotage America’s effectiveness and standing in the world, simply to make the point that whatever Obama wants, they don’t want.
One of the nations where we still won’t have an ambassador is Guatemala, with pressing issues that include a dire out-flow of child migrants.
Nice work boys!
To get an idea of just how far off the ranch the Republicans have rambled these days, even bloated winger water-boy Rush Limbaugh thinks his representatives may have gone crazy. He spewed bluster and spit on them during his show on Thursday: “I'm talking about the conventional wisdom coming out of Washington. Nothing makes sense. It's all ass backwards. What the House Republicans are doing vis-a-vis suing Obama and impeachment, it's all wrong. It doesn't make any sense. Nothing makes any sense. And if nothing makes any sense, maybe I'm the one that's losing my marbles, except I know that's not true. … The lawsuit? It's about all the executive actions, executive order. It could well be that they may not have thought this through." A stopped clock is right twice a day, but it's something of a media disaster when Limbaugh is a patron of sanity for the Republican party.
4. Howie Kurtz and the IRS. Over at Fox, former CNN Reliable Source host Howie Kurtz, pastured to winger-land a while ago, has been beating up the MSM for failing to pursue the teapot tempest that is the Ohio IRS office scrutinizing local Tea Party finances.
He’s been banging this drum for a while now. In June, he pondered whether IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails might not be evidence of a “coverup.”
This week, the emails are out, and indeed they deliver the “smoking gun” wingers have so wanted. In them, Lerner, apparently referring to right-wing talk radio, trashed “crazies” on the right. The fact that most rational Americans would agree with this statement matters not. You can’t have that sort of opinion in a government job these days.
Howie finds the lack of MSM interest in Lerner’s emails to be suspicious, if not full-on evidence of a liberal media conspiracy.
“Now the Republicans have found three emails in which Lerner disparaged conservatives. What did the New York Times give the story? One measly paragraph, written by the AP, in a roundup column. How much airtime did the story get that night on ABC’s World News? None.”
Now, even Howie is forced to admit that there might not be any there, there, at least legally. But he is down with the conservative thought-police in this witch hunt. “The messages don’t prove that Lerner deliberately targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny, or that higher-ups knew about it. But they reveal a whole heckuva lot about her state of mind.”