Monday, June 24, 2024

Reported culpability of news media in assassination attempt is well earned

In a news story that underscores the perils of irresponsible journalism, some officials are blaming news media organizations for the assassination attempt on Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico.

In an interview with the BBC, Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister Taraba blamed “false narratives” by opposition parties in Slovakia for the shooting.

“Our prime minister several times mentioned in the past that he was afraid that this would happen,” Taraba said.

The BBC reported that Slovakia’s Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok accused the media of contributing to the climate that led to the 59-year-old’s shooting, telling a news conference: “Many of you were those who were sowing this hatred.”

We have all seen how it works. News outlets pick a political party as their favourite, and paint that party as the only logical choice for voters while demonizing the opposition.

In the United States, for example, CNN goes to incredible lengths to avoid even mentioning misdeeds by President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party colleagues. Meanwhile, the broadcasters don’t hide their excitement in providing every detail possible on any misstep by presidential candidate Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans.

As if Trump doesn’t provide enough sensational material for news broadcasters, many engage in the despicable practice of deliberately taking comments out of context to increase audience size, thereby fuelling hatred.

This article by the Daily Signal (Egregious Examples of the Media Spinning Trump’s ‘Bloodbath’ Comment as Call for Violence) provides numerous examples of how mainstream media organizations concocted stories from a single speech that were dramatically different from reality.

Of course, Fox News is almost the exact inverse, trumpeting Democratic transgressions and giving Republicans unlimited free passes.

Web cookies and algorithms make matters much worse by customizing content in a way that keeps individuals coming back for more. That means a steady diet of scandal and sensationalism portraying the consumer’s perceived opposition as nothing short of evil.

If right-leaning media and influential followers had not demonized Nancy Pelosi to such a terrible degree, would a man have broken into her home in October of 2022 and attacked her husband Paul with a hammer in a botched mission to kidnap Nancy? I don’t think so.

The vitriol and threats have reached levels that have elected officials across the globe in constant fear of assassination.

It is a disastrous situation, and the news media organizations who fan the flames of division have blood on their hands. Again.


Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll is co-founder and president of BIG Media Ltd. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is deeply committed to elevating the level of coverage of our society's most pressing matters as well as the level of respect in public discourse.

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