Today ABC News informed their viewership that Paul Manafort, a former Trump aide, was convicted of a crime no one even knew he had been charged with. No one knew because it wasn’t true. But if you watched ABC’s special coverage of Trump’s announcement that he would be reversing the “zero tolerance” border policy, you may have been led to believe otherwise.
During the special coverage, the following words were displayed quite clearly beneath the live feed of Donald Trump:
“Manafort pleads guilty to 5 charges of manslaughter.”
Here is the full moment pic.twitter.com/79eNGznvJB
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) June 20, 2018
While the former chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign does face an array of charges including tax fraud and obstruction of justice, Manafort hasn’t killed anybody. At least that we’re aware of.
“We regret and apologize for the false lower third graphic that aired during our special report. We are investigating how incorrect information was in our system and how and why it was allowed to air,” ABC News said in a statement. “We apologize to our viewers and to Mr. Manafort. There simply is no excuse for this sort of mistake.”
Well that sounds good, right? They apologized. No harm, no foul.
Maybe. Yes, mistakes do happen. But how does a mistake like this even happen? Corporate media is well-funded… do they not employ more than one person to make decisions such as this? Is there not another set of eyes that needs to sign off on things that will be seen by millions of more eyes?
Independent media on the other hand is hardly funded at all. The independent news industry is struggling and many of us aren’t even being paid. But we’re working toward something we truly believe in: the truth.
So when we see ABC make an error like the one noted above and everyone everywhere just shrugs it off as a mistake that happens once in a blue moon while the network suffers no consequences at all… we get a little perturbed.
This isn’t something new.
You may recall when CNN reported that a US soldier had been killed in Syria only to later reveal their sister network, CNN Turk, fell for a prank. As it turns out, the US soldier didn’t even exist in the first place and the photos used by the network were actually of “American Sniper” actor Bradley Cooper. That’s a big oops.
What about the time CNN based an entire “bombshell” story on the idea that an email was sent on September 4th, when it was actually sent on September 14th. That story was edited and reviewed before being published, we can assume. But no one caught the error that would render the entire story basically useless. Oops. Thankfully the Washington Post was there to offer their fact checking skills by um, actually reading a copy of the email.
Or the time NBC News didn’t see much of a difference between logging and listening to calls via wiretap.
We can’t forget the time the Washington Post released an alarming report that Russian hackers penetrated our power system via an electrical grid in Vermont. That sounds scary. The article was convincing and the corporate media ran with it. Thankfully, it was completely false. Does the Washington Post not employ enough competent humans to check a fact or two before reporting?
Then there’s the unsettling fact that the corporate media’s fake news had a major hand in justifying the Iraq War. Remember those weapons of mass destruction and how they turned out to not actually be a thing? Um. Oops. How many people died as a result of that editorial oversight?
What about that one time ABC “caused chaos in financial markets”? When was the last time the independent media did that?
Do you know what independent media can do and what independent media wants to do? Expose the ruling psychopaths for who they are. Oh, and stop war.
But, because the war machine doesn’t want that and the war machine is deeply embedded in every single thing, we’re fighting an uphill battle. We’re fighting against the world’s most well-funded narratives, some of which have military psychological operations behind them that are successfully tricking large swaths of the American population.
So when we write stories that the corporate world and corporate media don’t like, when we use a word in our titles that Facebook thinks is too clickbaity, when the corporate media “fact checks” us on social media and calls our actual news “fake” news… our social media reach is nearly obliterated. Our Facebook pages are literally erased, without a trace. We make no money and nobody can be employed.
We haven’t lied a country into war, and we certainly haven’t told anyone that Paul Manafort was guilty of five charges of manslaughter. We’ll leave that up to the corporate media to do, and they’ll continue to profit and grow and make the rounds on social media, unimpeded.
But nevertheless, we persisted.