Sunday, May 13, 2018
Sunday morning news always provides me with a lot of ammunition when it comes to showing just how news organizations slant their stories against Trump.
So, I was not disappointed when I opened a local daily today to find one more in a series of distorted stories designed to influence Northern New Jersey voters to vote against the GOP this fall.
In New Jersey, no subject is so sensitive as The Sandy Superstorm that hit this region on Halloween in 2012.
Therefore, the subject became a symbolic tool against the Trump Administration and the GOP who are resisting Democratic efforts to pass a pork-filled Sandy aid package – and the story was ripe with anti-Trump rhetoric by an author who has a history of ranting and raving against Trump.
Like previous stories written by the same author, the story left out critical facts and engaged in what many critics see as class manipulative tools for slanting news.
By narrowing the information to the fact that the GOP does not want to pass the aid package as it, the story implies that the GOP is attempting to screw New Jersey again.
To understand how media manipulates in stories such as this, there are particular slots in which slanted information is installed. Headlines and kickers often tell readers how they should interpret the story.
This is very much the case in this story, where the headline implies that the state of New Jersey is “under attack” by the Trump administration, because the GOP won’t pass the aid package.
Selection of sources also skews stories like this, and this is no exception with six prominent Democratic leaders quoted before the story ever gets to a Republican and when it does, it picks two republicans who are sympathetic to the Democratic cause – partly because one is in a high risk area in the 2018 midterms, and the other has a quote that largely implies misinformation – which I’ll get to shortly – even if most reader aren’t likely to get to the end of the story anyway.
The first quote in the story is from the most patrician politicians in the state, Rep. Pascrell, whose press releases would qualify him for “the spin doctor of the year award,” following a script written for him from some Democratic think tank and a leader in the anti-Trump campaign of the last year and a half.
The pullout quote – which is something larger meant to call attention to a specific biased point come from a notorious Democratic south jersey political boss, selected here to be most provocative and add to the story’s credibility, when the story is only telling half the facts in order to convince voters that the GOP is essentially evil.
What is left out, of course, is the actual argument being made on the federal level, and how common it is for the winning political party to steer federal funds to those districts that supported them. Every president does this. Reagan and both Bushs did it, so did Obama and Clinton when they were in office. But it appears that when it comes to Trump, this becomes something out of the ordinary.
So, today’s GOP according to this story helps send tax dollars to “moocher states” when in the past places like New York, New Jersey and California could have borne similar titles.
This, of course, is the story’s effort to boost support for the anti-GOP movement for the mid-term election and steer its readership into believing the GOP is stealing from them somehow.
Republicans are “reprehensible,” according to the third Democrat quoted in a row for this story.
The GOP clearly does not want to use federal funds to help New Jersey and New York build a gateway project, a rail tunnel between northern New Jersey and New York City. But part of the excuse is that both rail systems involved have failed to meet safety requirements that are conditions for the funding, a fact that this story conveniently left out. The GOP has a lot of motive for wanting not to give the region this perk since New York and New Jersey massively supported Clinton in 2016.
The story, of course, piggy backs on the fact that a GOP tax rehaul, is forcing governments in New Jersey to deal with the fact that they over tax their residents. But to divert attention, local politicians are blaming Trump for denying tax write offs the wealthiest home owners while boosting the salaries for ordinary workers.
The fourth quote in the story by another Democrat suggests that if the GOP gets away with not funding Sandy aid it will continue to come after New Jersey in other ways in the future. This, too, is classic spin, making a conclusion without any real evidence to support it, a conclusion the author conveniently did not challenge or seek proof of, and certainly made no effort to get a GOP response to.
By the time we finally get to the first of two GOP legislators three quarters of the way through the story, we have been thoroughly subjected to so much negative spin that we ignore the fact that the first of the GOP legislators is under the gun because he faces a serious challenge in the mid-term election and is already known to be sympathetic to Democratic causes.
Could the author not find any legitimate representative to explain the GOP side of this story – since it is clear the only side the author wants to give us is the Democratic one?
What the author is not telling us is why the GOP is opposed to giving New Jersey Sandy aid.
In fact, the GOP is willing to fund it, but not under the conditions Democrats have set, when the Democratic pork accounts for “billions” in aid spending unrelated to Sandy, which includes funding of The Smithsonian in Washington, and Head Start facilities throughout New Jersey that had little or not damage from the storm.
The other token Republican quoted in the story is from a shore district hit hard by Sandy and so is concerned about the loss of aid. But he also was mistakenly quoted as saying he was concerned about Trump’s unwillingness to fund a child health program called CHIP.
This quote implies a significant Democratic spin, an almost blatant lie that this story and other media have bought wholesale when two Democratic legislators brought it up in Paterson late last year.
Trump in fact is absolutely willing to fund CHIP. But Democrats are holding the bill hostage in order to force Trump to support their Dreamer legislation.
Trump has even agreed to fund the Dreamer legislation but only if the Democrats support funding his border-security measures.
Since they won’t, it is the Democrats who are preventing CHIP from being funded, just as they are preventing aid for Sandy because of the pork they’ve attached to this bill.
The story in my local Sunday newspaper mentions none of this, which is how media manipulates the public by telling only one slanted side of a story.