It used to be that journalists didn’t need fire safety seminars to know they could get burned publishing stories that lacked facts or context. But when the original, deceptively edited video of Nathan Phillips and the Covington kids emerged, the press swaddled itself in oily rags, grabbed a Zippo and went full “Johnny Human Torch.”
On Wednesday evening, as the broadcast network evening newscasts reported on a shooting attack on a Kroger in the Louisville, Kentucky, area, ABC stood out in not mentioning an armed citizen who shot at the gunman and might have prevented more shootings.
There were two developments Monday in the disgraceful year-long, media-underplayed saga involving threats on Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul's life. First, federal prosecutors appealed the 30-day sentence given to Rene Boucher, who violently assaulted Paul in November. Meanwhile, as NewsBusters' Nicholas Fondacro noted in a separate Monday evening post, Capitol Police arrested a man who threatened to kill Paul and “chop up” his family with an ax. Paul has now had three serious threats against his life in just over a year. Media coverage has all too often come off as indifferent and even dismissive, especially concerning the November assault.
Tuesday at the Louisville Courier Journal, part of Gannett's USA Today network, two reporters claimed that whoever vandalized a prominent billboard in that city to read "Kill the NRA" had "called out" the gun-rights group. David Harten and Darcy Costello never described the billboard as what it was while it was briefly visible: a violent threat.
In an opinion piece published by the Louisville Courier-Journal, self-described “faith leader” Rev. Lauren Jones Mayfield expressed her support for legalized abortion and argued that she is aligning herself with “the oppressed.” Mayfield, who “is on the board of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky,” said supporting legalized abortion coincides with her beliefs.
Will MAGA murder poor Kentuckians? That was the thrust of Wednesday’s column by Eduardo Porter, liberal New York Times reporter turned leftist economics columnist, “Path Forward In Kentucky (But Don’t Get Sick).” Under the harmless headline, Porter didn’t hedge his contempt for the cost-cutting, bringing in President Trump’s trademark slogan to smear fiscal conservatives as killers for favoring Medicaid reform in the states.
Many of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's neighbors are hotly disputing Louisville Courier Journal and New York Times reports which characterized the Friday assault on the Republican Senator as being the result of "petty arguments over misplaced lawn trimmings and branches" and "a landscaping dispute," respectively. Among their objections: The Courier Journal's Thomas Novelly described the attack, during which Rene Boucher allegedly blindsided Paul and, per the Senator's most recent tweet, left him with six broken ribs and a "pleural effusion" as a "fight," while the opening sentence at the Times story authored by three reporters described it as an "altercation."
A Louisville Courier Journal item currently carried at USA Today by reporter Thomas Novelly seems to imply that Rand Paul deserved to be blindsided, tackled and to have possibly life-threatening serious injuries inflicted on him Friday afternoon. After all, the headline reads: "Rand Paul is not a perfect neighbor" — according to the developer of the gated community in which Paul and Rene Boucher, the alleged perpetrator, both live.
Did you know that Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis went to jail for contempt of court in 2015, for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples? If not, the New York Times will happily remind you of the fact, over and over, in a Friday story on Davis traveling to Romania to support that country’s fight against gay marriage: “Kentucky County Clerk Campaigns Against Same-Sex Marriage in Romania.” The online headline offered up the theme of the piece: “Kim Davis, Once Jailed in America, Campaigns Against Gay Marriage in Romania.”
If you can’t say something nice....by tradition, newspaper obituaries hold back criticism in the name of respect for the deceased and their grieving admirers, with even political figures granted reverence. But often conservatives are the exception, with outlets like the New York Times granting themselves free reign to criticize. Sunday obit of Hall of Fame pitcher and conservative Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, written by Richard Goldstein, shows the differing standards by which liberal and conservative politicians are held, even in death. It started with the headline: “Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame Pitcher Turned Cantankerous Senator, Dies at 85.”
The New York Times did its part for the Hillary Clinton campaign (and President Obama’s legacy) in Thursday’s edition, offering happy talk about lost coal jobs in Kentucky, skipping over some inconvenient facts that would cloud the pro-Democratic narrative, while another story bashing Donald Trump’s tax plan passed up a golden opportunity to revive Clinton’s infamous “dead broke” comment.
Friday morning, the Louisville Courier-Journal gave the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America priceless free publicity by promoting the group's "event on gun violence Saturday at Spalding University in Louisville."
Reporter/promoter Deborah Yetter relayed the group's hype that "Due to limited space, organizers are asking people to register in advance for free tickets." As seen after the jump, the space may have been "limited," but the attendance at Saturday's event was even more limited: