Category Archives: Media

Media in COVID Feeding Frenzy

by Kerry Dougherty

Many years ago, Virginia’s most prominent political scientist, Larry Sabato, wrote a book called “Feeding Frenzy.” If memory serves — and it’s been years since I read it — the University of Virginia professor analyzed how the media mob swam from scandal to scandal, feeding on wounded politicians like a school of sharks.

We see a version of that mindless frenzied behavior now in the media’s coverage of COVID-19.

In fact, the Delta variant is serving as chum in the water for these purveyors of panic.

Take, for instance, a story in yesterday’s New York Times that was immediately picked up by news outlets all over the country.

Get a load of the headline: “31 Children Test Positive For Coronavirus At Summer Camp.” Continue reading

Rejected by Facebook

Bacon’s Rebellion has been using reader donations to promote readership of the blog and The Blunderbuss newsletter on Facebook. The ad in question did not mention COVID, stolen elections or other verboten topics. To see the ad and the reason for the rejection, keep reading… Continue reading

Youngkin Gets Romneyfied

Glenn A. Youngkin

by James A. Bacon

The Associated Press has just published a story highlighting the plight of newly retired Judy Pavlick in a mobile home park in Sunnyvale, California. When the park was acquired in 2015 by the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm, “things began to change.” Pavlick’s rent surged 7%. Additional fees followed. The higher costs forced her and her neighbors, “many on fixed incomes and unable to relocate” to “sometimes choose between food and medicine.”

Here’s the kicker:

The deal, one of hundreds Carlyle executed in recent years, could become a political liability for the company’s former co-CEO, Glenn Youngkin, who is now running as the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia and highlighting his experience “building businesses and creating jobs.”

I knew this was coming. It was inevitable. We saw this attack before — in 2012 when Mitt Romney ran for president against Barack Obama. The Obama campaign highlighted Romney’s track record as CEO of Bain Capital, which financed the acquisition and turnaround of dozens of companies, often restructuring businesses and laying off workers in the process.

Youngkin is being Romneyfied. The AP article was just the opening salvo. Continue reading

Reporting the Truth in the Post-Trump Era

by Chris Saxman

When I was a teacher of U.S. History and Government, I had only one rule for my students and it was that they think. I told them flat out:

I don’t care what you think – I care that you think. Time will take care of the rest.

Their thinking was dependent upon being able to access facts and alternative lines of thought so that they would be challenged to actually think deeply versus reacting emotionally.

Today, kids call that “adulting.”

In order for me to make 17th and 18th century U.S. History interesting for late 20th century high school students, I had to make it relevant to their lives. So, we would talk a great deal about current events and apply them back to whatever time we were discussing in our curriculum. In that way, our history would come alive for them and they would then dive deeper into their studies. Continue reading

Debunking the Big Lie in Education Funding

Image by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

by DJ Rippert

The big lie. Various intellectuals, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, have repeatedly put forth the falsehood that funding for public K-12 education in America has been decreasing. In fact, the opposite is true.  However, the number of times that false claims about defunding public education have been made, published and (eventually) retracted / corrected leaves one wondering whether these are uninformed errors or an effort to repeat a “big lie” in the hope that Americans will come to accept the lie.

Falsehood. Publication. Eventual correction. Repeat. An Op-Ed piece in the Washington Examiner penned by Corey DeAngelis documents disturbing cases of factual errors about education funding made by so-called experts and published by so-called professional news outlets. In each case, the error was eventually corrected. However, those corrections were made days after the original false statement. Continue reading

Why the Need to Slant Stonewall Jackson’s Legacy?

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s mixed legacy — slaveholder, educator of slaves, rebel against the United States, and one of the greatest military commanders in U.S. history.

by Donald Smith

If you were asked to describe Stonewall Jackson in just a few words, what would you say? Apparently the Washington Post would say — an enslaver of six people.

Ian Shapira, a member of the Washington Post’s Metro section, is the paper’s most prolific writer on the ongoing controversy at VMI over allegations of systemic racism and controversies over Confederate symbols at the school. The Post’s biography of Shapira credits his work for having “prompted,” among other things, “the removal of the campus’ 108-year-old statue of Confederate statue Gen. Stonewall Jackson.”

Shapira has mentioned Jackson frequently. But, if you relied on his reporting to give you the information that you’d use to develop your perception of Jackson and his legacy, you’d end up with a shallow, one-sided view. What’s worse — and actually more troubling — your knowledge of the general would be missing some of the most important aspects of his life and legacy. Continue reading

Mayor Stoney and His Left-Wing Critics

Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by James A. Bacon

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney published an op-ed in the New York Times a few days ago defending his actions last summer during the tumultuous protests and riots  following the George Floyd killing. I was thinking of writing a post this morning critiquing the piece from a conservative perspective. But then I read an analysis in the Richmond Times-Dispatch blasting Stoney from a left-wing perspective, and I found that more interesting.

While Stoney has adopted social-justice rhetoric the past year, by the standard of City of Richmond electoral politics, he is a centrist. During his mayoral re-election campaign last year, he had strong, credible challengers from both the right and left, and he threaded a narrow needle between backing the protesters’ social justice causes while also trying to maintain a semblance of public order. In his NY Times editorial, he focused on his role in removing 14 pieces of Confederate “iconography” from city property and working for racial justice, while apologizing for the “unintentional” release of tear gas during one of the demonstrations.

The mayor has been criticized from the right for allowing protesters to gather unmolested for months in a virtual police-free zone around the Lee Statue on Monument Avenue even as they harassed and terrified nearby residents. But that was never a consideration for RTD reporters Ali Rockett and Chris Suarez in their take-down of the Stoney column. Continue reading

Good News for Corruptocrats

by Kerry Dougherty

Listen closely.

Hear that?

That’s the sound of champagne corks popping as local corruptocrats and sleazy businessmen celebrate the continued demise of local newspapers.

I’m talking, of course, about The Virginian-Pilot. Or what’s left of it.

And The Daily Press.

Perhaps you heard. On Friday, shareholders of The Tribune Company, which owns The Pilot, The Press, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Daily News, The Orlando Sentinel and about 70 other newspapers, approved a sale of the company to Alden Global Capital — a hedge fund that Vanity Fair once described as “the grim reaper of American newspapers.”

Terrible news for Southeastern Virginia. Continue reading

Dodging Emails Versus Dodging Bullets

Erik Nielson, University of Richmond professor whose expertise is hip hop culture and African American literature. His recently published book is “Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics and Guilt in America”

by James A. Bacon

What the Richmond Times-Dispatch considers news this morning…

Headline: “Task force creating Richmond police oversight board publicly calls out Chief Smith.”

Excerpt: “At some point, the unwillingness to engage with this body does start to feel like arrogance. I don’t think we can overlook it,” task force member and University of Richmond professor Erik Nielson said during a public meeting Wednesday. “If you’re watching a task force creating a civilian review board that could potentially just co-opt your authority, and there’s nothing. It makes me feel like they don’t believe it or they’re just not going to deal with it. They think they can get out of it.”

Here’s what WTVR considers news today:

Headline: “Widow tired of dodging bullets in Richmond neighborhood.” Continue reading

Bacon Opens Mouth, Mayhem Ensues

I been blogging less and jabbering more this week. I don’t know if the world is better or worse off for it, but for those of you who subscribe to the theory that “there’s no such thing as too much bacon,” I offer the following for your listening/viewing pleasure.

Two Mikes podcast. Conversation with Michael Scheuer and Co. Mike about how Virginia has fallen into a pit of pure craziness, with a focus on the University of Virginia, the Virginia Military Institute, the Northam administration’s public education policy, and social-justice indoctrination for Alexandria Little Leaguers.

Tidewater Libertarian Party zoomcast. I join in a zoomcast presentation on Critical Race Theory. The Heritage Institute’s Hans Spakovsky provides an overview of CRT’s origins and how it is playing out nationally, while I discuss how it is being implemented in Virginia under the guise of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.


Three Card Media

by William Moore

Three Card Monte is a classic short con. The Dealer places three cards face down and the Shill, who is in on the con, attempts to pick the money card. They play boisterously, hoping to catch the attention of some poor sap, the Mark. Thinking himself quite good at following the money card, the Mark puts his money down. Using sleight of hand and misdirection, the Dealer makes sure the Mark never finds it.

A similar game is being played in the media’s coverage of the Virginia Military Institute racism investigation. Call it Three Card Media.

Like its street-hustling counterpart, Three Card Media has three actors in the con: the media (the Dealer), politicians (the Shills), and the public (the Mark). Here’s how it works: In reporting news, the media picks the facts and quotes that fit its narrative. Politicians comment upon the “news,” adding their own spin and distorting the picture even more. The politicians’ quotes become news, and the distortions are amplified. Unable to follow the sleight of hand, the public is gulled into believing a story starkly at odds with reality.

To see how the scam works in the political world, readers should read the Barnes & Thornburg interim report dated March 8, 2021, on the investigation. Then read The Washington Post’s (“WaPo”) March 9th summation of the B&T report, “Racial slurs at VMI a common occurrence for Black cadets, investigators told.Continue reading

Gas Lines and Headlines

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s tempting to mock the folks lined up at gas stations these past few days as “panic buyers.” You know, fearful, gas-addicted, greed balls.

Smug members of the media have been quick to blame them for the shortages.

The Washington Post: Panic buying strikes Southeastern United States as shuttered pipeline resumes operations

New York Times: Gas Pipeline Hack Leads to Panic Buying in the Southeast

The Boston Globe: People in the Southeast are panic-buying gas.

The Charlotte observer: Long lines growing at NC gas stations as Colonial Pipeline hack spurs ‘panic buying’

Then again, these lazy, unimaginative  headlines were written by editors who — especially since the beginning of the pandemic — do the bulk of their work from their La-Z-Boys. With their cats on their laps. Continue reading

Virginia Voters Tilt Mildly Right — Why Can’t Conservatives Win More Elections?

Question: Overall, would you say things in the UNITED STATES are heading more in the right direction or the wrong direction?

by James A. Bacon

Virginia voters describe themselves as ideologically moderate, leaning conservative, according to a new poll by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University. Asked to place themselves on a 0-10 scale (liberal to conservative) with 5.0 being middle of the road, the 1,008 voters polled rated themselves 5.83 on average. Independents, the swing vote, pegged themselves at 5.72.

An obvious question arises: Why can’t conservatives win statewide elections in Virginia?

One possibility is that voters perceive Republicans as more conservative than they see Democrats as liberal. Respondents rated the Democratic Party as 1.97 points off the middle-of-the-road 5.0 mark nor while they rated Republicans as 2.45 points off the norm.

This raises a subsidiary question: Is the perception of Republicans as more extreme based on objective fact, an artifact of the parties’ messaging, or a distortion created by media misrepresentation? Continue reading

Ball of Confusion

by James A. Bacon

Virginians are still suffering from massive confusion about what the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is proposing for its controversial Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative. The befuddlement arises from the use of various words that are seeming synonyms but have precise, different meanings when used by educators.

Two columns appearing in my inbox this morning illustrated the continued inability to get the story straight: one published by the Washington Post, which quotes James F. Lane, state superintendent for public instruction, and one by the Virginia Star, which cites VDOE spokesman Charles Pyle.

Here is the root of the problem. “Tracking” means one thing. “Accelerated pathway” means another. “Advanced courses” means another. Lane and Pyle are choosing their words very carefully. But journalists are missing the nuances. Continue reading

VPM and the ACLU Descend into Madness

Taylor Marie Maloney

by James A. Bacon

Only one Richmond news outlet, Virginia Public Media, has written about the controversy engendered by the hateful online language of Taylor Maloney, president of the Virginia Commonwealth University student government. No surprise, the angle of the VPM report was not how Taylor tweeted, “i hate white people so much its not even funny” and advocated the killing of police, but the “harassment” that Taylor, a Black non-binary transgender activist, has received from irate right-wing bloggers.

Maloney’s propensity for violent and racist rhetoric was outed, so to speak, by Andy Ngo, a conservative journalist writing in an online publication, The Post Millennial.

Maloney, who goes by the pronouns them/they, has adopted various personas on Twitter, including “fuck off honkeys” and “cancel cultural worker.” When a follower of the black nationalist Nation of Islam group rammed his car into Capitol Police, killing one of the officers on April 2, Maloney celebrated his death. “[L]ove this we need more of this,” “they” tweeted. Continue reading