By Emily Jashinsky, The Federalist
The media’s false reporting about new election legislation in Georgia whipped up a controversy that left millions of people grossly misinformed, frightened voters, mired major corporations in high-stakes public relations frenzies, distracted the political discourse, and furthered the country’s divisions. In short, it’s a perfect example of how the media is fueling our national conflict.
In this case, the media uncritically regurgitated Georgia Democrats’ partisan hyperbole, treating a narrative the party strategically crafted to defeat the legislation as fact and turning it into a long and false national news cycle. That news cycle left the public with an impression that the legislation was objectively racist.
That impression scared and motivated the public, leading employees to pressure executives into action. Worse, the false coverage led millions of people to believe that a major political party representing half the country was seeking to reinstate Jim Crow.
The coverage from our country’s major publications was so bad that after a few days, even liberals like Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and Will Saletan of Slate began pushing back. Those responsible for the bad coverage, which is the bulk of the legacy press, appear to be facing no consequences.
Sadly, the media parroted that partisan spin, legitimizing the Democratic Party’s narrative by presenting it under the banner of journalistic neutrality. For a clearer glimpse at the consequences, read this New York Times report on the internal frenzy at corporations like Delta and Coca-Cola, which spent days fumbling to respond under pressure from the media, activists, and staff.
That pressure stemmed entirely from misinformation peddled by the legacy media. Without the media’s legitimization of a partisan narrative, concerned employees wouldn’t have been reaching out, the external pressures of a PR threat would have been negligible, and the corporations could have focused on the business of taking us on spring break and making our mixers.
As a result, days of time were wasted at major corporations, bottom lines are taking a hit, the news cycle ignored stories of greater import, and millions of people were misinformed on a serious issue. On the other hand, news outlets drove web traffic and retained eyeballs, so they profited off our conflict and their failure.
Read more at The Federalist.