7 Media Lies Katie Couric And The Aspen Institute Would Decry If They Really Hated Disinformation

7 Media Lies Katie Couric And The Aspen Institute Would Decry If They Really Hated Disinformation

Instead of cheering more censorship, Katie Couric and the journalists her report praises should look at some of the misinformation they've peddled over the years.
Elle Reynolds
By

Katie Couric, who has not one but multiple prominent instances of deceptive editing on her journalistic record, is leading Prince “the First Amendment is bonkers” Harry and the rest of the Aspen Institute in sniffing out what they claim is “disinformation” in America.

In an 80-page report released Monday, the Aspen Institute’s “Commission on Information Disorder” calls for “structural changes” to “our information ecosystem” and blames “leaders” and tech companies for not doing enough to combat disinformation, apparently dissatisfied with the Biden White House working in tandem to “flag” misinformation for Facebook censors.

“Disinformation is a symptom; the disease is complex structural inequities,” the report continues. The commission’s recommendations include a “comprehensive federal approach” to misinformation and tougher crackdowns on perceived violators. But instead of cheering more censorship, Couric and the self-serious journalists her report praises should take a long look at some of the misinformation they’ve peddled to the American people over the years. Here are just a few of many, many more.

1. Hunter Biden’s Laptop

When The New York Post published explosive reporting about a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter shortly before the 2020 election, news outlets worked with Big Tech companies to smother the story. CBS’s Leslie Stahl said it had been “investigated and discredited.” NPR called it “questionable,” while MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin said it “appears to contain disinformation” and Joy Reid called it a “Russian hatchet-job.”

But nearly a year after the election, when Politico confirmed the authenticity of related emails that backed up the laptop story, the corporate media largely responded with crickets.

2. Lafayette Park

After spending months describing a summer of violence and rioting as “mostly peaceful protests,” the media’s narrative-twisting was on full display in their coverage of the events at Lafayette Park.

Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op,” was NPR’s headline. “How Trump cleared the park around the White House for church photo op,” blared The Hill. “How Trump’s Idea for a Photo Op Led to Havoc in a Park,” said The New York Times.

Except, of course, it came out later that it wasn’t at all for Trump’s photo that the park was cleared; U.S. Park Police had determined to clear the area hours previously in order to put up new fencing, according to a watchdog report. Furthermore, it was D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Metropolitan Police, not Trump or his security detail, who deployed tear gas at protesters that day in response to “assaultive actions.”

3. COVID Lies

When Sen. Tom Cotton and others suggested COVID-19 might have originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, The New York Times was quick to call it a “fringe” theory that “scientists have dismissed.” The Washington Post called the theory “debunked.” In May 2020, the Post’s Glenn Kessler said “it is virtually impossible for this virus [to] jump from the lab.”

A year later, after the lab leak theory had accumulated substantial credibility, outlets stealth edited their claims.

Meanwhile, the media swooned over Dr. Anthony Fauci, who appears to have lied to Congress about his own agency funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who condemned thousands of nursing home residents to their deaths by COVID and then tried to cover it up.

4. Nick Sandmann

In January 2019, a host of corporate outlets smeared Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann for smirking at an American Indian in a video from the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Later, exonerating footage came out that showed Sandmann and his classmates were actually being harassed by members of the Black Hebrew Israelites.

Both CNN and the Washington Post settled multi-million dollar lawsuits with Sandmann after the emergence of the full story indicted the outlets’ hasty willingness to target the pro-life teen.

5. Russia Hoax

When Clinton campaign operatives worked to feed the now-discredited Steele dossier to the FBI to undermine the Trump presidential campaign, CNN led the media pack in amplifying the narrative. The New York Times jumped onto claims of Trump’s Russian collusion with a story headlined “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence,” and the story’s authors won a Pulitzer Prize.

Of course, an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned up absolutely nothing implicating the former president worked with Russia to steal the election in 2016. The latest development in the story is that the Steele dossier’s primary sub-source Igor Danchenko has been arrested by federal authorities.

6. Russian Bounties

News outlets including the Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC ran with an anonymously sourced story in June 2020 that Russia was giving bounties to the Taliban to off U.S. soldiers and that Trump had known and done nothing about it.

Later, it turned out, U.S. intelligence had “low to moderate” confidence that such a thing had ever happened.

7. Border Patrol ‘Whips’

After a viral photo of a Border Patrol agent on horseback with split reins exploded on social media, corporate journalists erupted in anger at the use of “whips” on migrants.

“I was not aware that whips — which come from the slave era, slavery era — were part of the package that we issue to any sort of law enforcement or government sanction personnel,” said MSNBC’s Joy Reid. Other journalists also pushed the narrative, either that actual whips were used or that agents were using their reins like whips, even though the photographer who took the photo admitted he hadn’t seen Border Patrol use the reins to attack anyone.

As a result, The New York Times had to retroactively scrub the “whipping” lie from its coverage, replacing its assertion that agents used “the reins of their horses to strike at running migrants” with the softer claim that agents were “waving their reins while pushing migrants back into the Rio Grande.”

Bonus: Couric’s Own Deceptive Journalism

A pro-gun control documentary by Couric was deceptively edited to make Second Amendment advocates look bad in 2016. After Couric asked “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” to the group, nine seconds of awkward silence were edited in to look like they didn’t have an answer.

Also, just last month, Couric revealed that she had secretly withheld comments from the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that were harshly critical of NFL star Colin Kaepernick, insisting that the quote was “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” The Commission on Information Disorder failed to comment on its leader’s lapse of journalistic integrity.

Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.

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