Fox News’ Tucker Carlson opened his show Monday with the first of what are likely to be many segments examining how the public was misled — at least with respect to context — about what happened on Jan. 6, 2021.
The videos shared by Mr. Carlson made it clear, for example, that the Jan. 6 committee had intentionally edited video that showed Sen. Josh Hawley running toward an exit. It turns out that the Missouri Republican was a part — and the last part — of a group of members of Congress being hustled out of the Capitol by the police.
The police officer who we were told repeatedly was traumatized that day and later died at home? Seen in recordings chatting up protesters/rioters/threats to the republic.
The shaman dude? A police officer held the door to the Senate chamber open for him.
How did the legacy media address all of this? Pretty much by ignoring that it ever happened, except to publicize the unfortunately bipartisan calls for censorship. That makes perfect sense. The legacy media have, for the most part, either ignored or proactively misled their consumers about anything contrary to the prevailing narrative about Jan. 6, from the use of the term “insurrection” (still no one charged with that) all the way through to the “five dead police officers” (none of whom died that day).
As a reminder, they were also kind enough to produce noncritical coverage of the television show produced by the Jan. 6 committee.
It’s a pattern. Over the last few weeks, lots of information has emerged that indicates pretty convincingly that much of what was done with respect to COVID-19 ranged from ineffectual to damaging. Lockdowns, masks and vaccines have been shown to be of uncertain, limited or no value or were actually harmful when societal, economic and psychological effects are considered.
It doesn’t matter where you turn. The FBI targets people for their religion. American financiers and businessmen are in bed with communist China. The federal government is uninterested in the integrity of the border. Our institutions are broken. Consequently, our confidence in them is broken.
The response of the legacy media toward almost any material news that our institutions and political leaders are engaged in activities contrary to the national interest has consistently been indifference.
Accordingly, it should surprise no one that Americans no longer trust the media. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and YouGov conducted a study of media consumption worldwide in January and February 2022. One of the questions they asked 93,000 people in more than two dozen countries (including 2,000 in the United States) was whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement that “I think you can trust most news most of the time.”
Only 26% of Americans said yes, making us (and Slovakia) the most skeptical nation on the planet with respect to the media. Interestingly, when asked which journalist they paid the most attention to, American respondents in the survey selected … Tucker Carlson.
In October, Gallup reported that 72% of Americans trusted the media not very much or not at all. That’s the worst response set since Gallup started asking the question back in 1972.
These sentiments are the result of years of experience and, in the case of trusting the American media, repeated lessons in how the legacy media covers or contextualizes — or fails to cover or contextualize — news.
• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, co-hosts “The Unregulated Podcast.” He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.