The left-wing media learned a lot in 2022, even if it was all stuff the rest of us already knew.
Two years after local officials closed schools, grieving family members weren’t allowed to say goodbye to their loved ones at in-person funerals, businesses were forced to temporarily close their doors — many of them for good — and Americans were generally forbidden from congregating outside of large groups, the press in recent weeks has come to an unexpected conclusion: Fighting each other over COVID is probably counter-productive.
“Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty” exhorted an October 31 headline in The Atlantic, a call whose temerity was only matched by the gall of its flipside from 2020. Back then, of course, the prevailing line from the mainstream media was that Dr. Fauci’s COVID pronouncements were to be followed to the letter and that there was no legitimate alternative path — until, that is, the doctor decides to change his mind, and woe betide the man or woman who asks to see the receipts.
It should come as no surprise that 2022, all things considered, was as chock-a-block as each year always is with examples of The Fourth Estate beclowning itself. Few if any of the year’s media fails, though, arguably came with a greater lack of self-awareness than that one from The Atlantic, calling on us all to basically hug out the COVID fights.
“Dwelling on the mistakes of history can lead to a repetitive doom loop,” the writer of the piece declared. “Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty.”
Yes, of course: The mistakes of history. Deep uncertainty, and complicated choices — like the choice to use one’s position as a public health professional to declare on CNN that the unvaccinated should not be allowed to leave their homes. The idea of pandemic amnesty sounds straightforward enough, until you stop to remind yourself that “complicated choices” are one thing — but you unilaterally declaring my livelihood and personal liberty subservient to your real-time experiment amid all that uncertainty is something else entirely.
That kind of years-late turnabout, long after the damage has already been done, was just one in what’s been a lengthy series of gaffes, errors, and outright fails that characterize 2022’s Year in Media.
We also saw that same phenomenon, by the way, manifest itself in more than just coverage of the pandemic. Like in the way the mainstream media was glaringly late to the party regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop — long after widespread coverage of the story might have made a difference in the 2020 election.
Just ahead of the 2020 election, remember, Facebook throttled any and all mention of the laptop story across its social media empire. Outlets like CNN and The Washington Post either refused to cover the news or played it down, while Twitter went even farther — taking the extraordinary step of refusing to let users share any links to news coverage about the laptop at all, even within the confines of private messages from one user to another. Twitter also temporarily locked the then-White House press secretary out of her account for trying to disseminate a news article about the laptop.
Fast-forward to 2022, with a brash and anti-woke new owner now in charge of Twitter — and Twitter’s former head of safety Yoel Roth was now (surprise!) feeling compelled to declare Twitter’s ban on the laptop story a mistake. Indeed, what CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter panned at the time as a “manufactured crisis” somehow — two years later, long after it mattered most — became “not just a right-wing media story” anymore. Outlets like CBS News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times likewise, at various times this year, also finally agreed on the legitimacy of the so-called ‘laptop from hell.’
2022, it seems, has also been the year of national legacy media deciding to declare the Hunter Biden laptop story amnesty, too.
To put it simply, this has been not only a year of the news media getting things wrong, as usual. When it comes to some of the biggest stories of our time, the profession also has an increasingly frequent habit of fighting alternatives that don’t fit the master narrative by plugging its ears, waiting an extended period of time, and then begrudgingly acknowledging the obvious after a consequence-free pivot.
Of course, there were plenty of other clear-cut and outright fails, too. Among the most egregious of 2022:
What really happened: For many experts, this has been the nightmare scenario of the Ukraine war — A provocation against a third-party nation that requires a response from allies and pulls other nations around the world into the conflict. In this case, the truth was that an errant Ukrainian missile landed in Poland, the AP’s “anonymous sources” notwithstanding. WWIII averted, and the guilty reporter fired.
What really happened: CNN’s delusion that a critical mass of subscribers would pay for its content in a standalone app a la Netflix went up in flames — and much faster than even the most negative critics anticipated. Moreover, the question in that NYT headline is premised on a fundamental misunderstanding about cable news audiences. They already are paying to get an extra fix of news and lifestyle content … from Fox, via its Fox Nation app. CNN’s troubles, meanwhile, are a formidable combination of secular decline and audiences not keen on buying what they’re selling. Go woke, and your streaming service goes broke.
What really happened: Are you kidding me? No bombshell revelations in the Twitter files? How about the then-head of Trust and Safety at Twitter meeting weekly with the FBI, DHS, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — as if Twitter was a subsidiary of the national security state? Or Twitter being paid millions of dollars by the FBI to suppress tweets and accounts at the bureau’s request? This is a company that espoused democratizing speech while policing it, that shadow-banned and suppressed conservatives — and straight-up kicked people off the service during the early days of COVID over statements that eventually become conventional wisdom. But, sure — no bombshells.
4) Headline: What’s Really Going On With the Crime Rate?
What really happened: There’s always been an obsession within the mainstream media to report on crime patterns with all the binary nuance of a sports match — the numbers are up, then they’re down. At the moment, the picture is especially dire out of cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, though the post-midterm coverage engaged in a bit of chest-thumping over it all: See? Republicans tried to make you think we’re in the midst of a crime wave, but they still lost — so they were obviously wrong!
The fact of the matter, though, is that the reality of crime has much less to do with statistics than the mainstream media would have you believe. If city leaders in Los Angeles took a victory lap over there being just one murder in the city over the course of the year, but that murder victim happened to be your grandmother, what do you care that crime is “down”?
This obsession over statistics to fit a narrative completely misses the reality that normal people live with in the country’s biggest crime-ridden cities. We all understand that crime will always be a part of life, but there is an increasing sense that leaders in a position to do something about it are exacerbating the evil that threatens lives and livelihoods.