Larry Pfeifer has long believed that the media act irresponsibly and are happy to push any story that fits a narrative, regardless of the facts. So in order to test his theory, he concocted a story that Senator Harry Reid got into a fight with his drunken brother who beat up and blinded the senator. The story was made up out of whole cloth.
Pfeifer then pitched the story to conservative bloggers and talk radio hosts. Sure enough, the story was picked up by conservative blogs and ended up on Laura Ingraham’s nationally syndicated talk radio show as well as Rush Limbaugh’s. Cumulatively, the “story” reached tens of millions of eyes and ears, all without a single substantiated fact.
Finally, Pfeifer revealed his pranks and made fools out of all the media outlets involved.
The question I believe any serious person who consumes news should be asking is this: “Does the news outlet I am visiting actually check facts? Or does it simply run with any story that makes an ideological opponent look like an idiot?”
Every media outlet can make an occasional mistake that ends up trashing someone you like and respect. But the question is, do they repeatedly make mistakes unfairly trashing one side of the debate while never making any factual mistakes that are critical of the “home team?”
If all you are looking for is a perpetual and repetitive demonization of an opponent without any new facts, then you aren’t really looking for “news,” you are attending a religious or cult gathering.
From time to time, I do a media audit of what I read and view on a regular basis. I find there is nothing so helpful as the delete button on my RSS feed. Is it time you did an audit of your media reading/viewing habits?
TJ Walker is a media expert. You can find him at https://www.mediatrainingworldwide.com or by calling 212.764.4955