On Friday, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters wrote about the purported right-wing, talk-radio centered news bubble around the Ukraine-impeachment imbroglio -- from the confines of his left-wing Times news bubble -- in “Talk of Misinformation, Just Not a Lot of Facts.” The online headline: “‘Everything You’re Seeing Is Deception’: How Right-Wing Media Talks About Impeachment -- The pro-Trump media has wasted no time constructing its own version of events about Ukraine”:
Mark Levin, the talk radio host who has been one of President Trump’s most ardent defenders, tried to offer his listeners some reassurance this week as they processed the dizzying developments in Washington. “There’s a lot of disinformation and misinformation,” he warned. “I’m here to help us walk through this and defend this nation against a tyranny in our midst.”
Rush Limbaugh cast himself in a similar light -- part fact checker, part coach rallying the team at halftime. “You’re going to know everything you need to know about this latest faux scandal,” he promised, adding, “Everything you’re seeing is deception.”
But Peters skipped Limbaugh and other conservatives revealing part of the news that the supposedly non-bubble media ignored: Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who grossly mischaracterized President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine, making up quid pro quos where none actually happened (click "expand"):
With the president facing an impeachment inquiry, and a whistle-blower report made public Thursday that raised new questions about whether he tried to cover up his efforts to enlist Ukraine’s help in discrediting a political rival, allies of the White House in the pro-Trump media wasted no time constructing their own version of events.
Their narrative omits key facts, like Mr. Trump’s entreaty to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky: “I would like you to do us a favor.” It portrays the president’s political opponents and the mainstream media as contemptible and corrupt persecutors, blinded by hatred and their failure to bring him down so far. “Russia, Russia, Russia. Racism, racism. And recession. And now it’s going to be Ukraine,” Jeanine Pirro, a friend and fierce defender of Mr. Trump said on the Fox Business channel.
Well, if the shoe fits....in any case, the mainstream press, including The Times, have misled on that “I would like you to do us a favor” talking point, omitting over 500 words Trump spoke between his "favor" line and Trump asking about a possible inquiry into Biden's son, so as to implicate him in a quid pro quo to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
One would have hoped that The Times, along with the rest of the media, might have acquired some humility before convicting Trump, after their confident calls of “collusion” were reduced to nothing by the Mueller report. But Peters sounds confident that this time the right is wrong:
The potential political benefit is significant. Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Levin and Sean Hannity have a combined weekly radio audience of nearly 42 million listeners. Combined with the programming on Fox News and stories from Trump-friendly outlets like Rasmussen Reports, which publishes a daily tracking poll of the president’s approval ratings that is typically several percentage points higher than other surveys, the conservative media is wrapping Mr. Trump and his supporters in a security blanket of their own facts, data points and story lines about the Ukraine controversy.
By contrast, one will search in vain for The Times’s story devoted to the abject absence of any evidence for the anti-Trump Russian collusion conspiracies spun on a nightly basis by left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow (mentioned once by the paper):
“It’s victory at the expense of truth,” said Michael Harrison, the publisher of Talkers Magazine, which tracks the talk radio industry. The desire to win the argument and the election, he added, has resulted in media where “you don’t hear debate anymore; it’s just preaching to the choir.”
By Peters’ lights, there is only one kind of bubble, the conservative kind (click "expand"):
In the world of conservative media, Mr. Trump is a popular, unbeatable figure. In reality, his numbers in the Gallup presidential approval poll have never climbed above 46 percent....
A common defense from the right has been to flip the criticism and accuse liberals of fabricating their own reality....
Richard Nixon played to similar “us versus them” grievances during the Watergate investigations and also blamed the media, which he said “hate my guts with a passion.” That approach helped keep a sizable chunk of Americans behind him even when he resigned. Roughly a quarter of Americans said at the time that Nixon’s conduct was not serious enough to warrant resignation, polls showed.
Nixon, of course, had nothing like the pro-Trump media to defend him. Talk radio in its current format, with its heavy tilt toward conservative provocateurs, did not develop until the 1990s. In Nixon’s day, cable news was still a few years away and the most popular hosts on the radio talked about subjects like extraterrestrial activity.
The mainstream media have a "heavy tilt" toward liberal Democrats, and Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have almost the whole of the mainstream press to defend them, and even defend their defeated candidates, like Hillary Clinton.