While the mainstream media has definitely taken a ratings hit, it is still how millions of Americans get their daily news. Biased outlets are well aware of this fact, and sometimes use it to manipulate people.
Instead of merely presenting a strong opinion, there are outlets that have proven to spread bald-faced lies regularly. In this particular case, Sarah Palin was the target of an untrue piece from The New York Times. Palin was so distraught at the severity of the claim that she is currently contemplating bringing the issue to court (via The Washington Examiner).
According to Fox News, the piece in question was called “America’s Lethal Politics”. The article spoke at length about how political violence is mounting in the United States. As an example, the New York Times made mention of a shooting that occurred in 2011.
Jared Lee Loughner went on a shooting spree in a crowded supermarket area. U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords was shot, six people were murdered — including a nine-year-old little girl — and many others were injured due to the attack. The NYT made that claim that the shooting happened because Sarah Palin’s political committee passed around a map of “targeted electoral districts,” and that map prompted the shooting.
Palin took to her Twitter to express her outrage. She released a two-part statement that read, “Commonsense suggestion by a journalist, am talking to attorneys this AM and exploring options. BTW, wonder…[part 2 begins]…WHY someone would someone no longer be in public eye? Think constant libel & slander have anything to do with it?”
It turns out that the story released by the NYT was completely false. An investigation into the shooting revealing that Loughner planned this attack long before any political documents were put out by Palin. They, in fact, were not even sure if Loughner had seen the map in question.
On June 15th, 2017, the NYT came out and posted a formal apology. It read, in part, “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.”
Now that this is finally out in the open, it does raise additional concerns. If other hardworking Americans are relying on the mainstream media to deliver truthful and quality content, how can we ensure that is happening throughout the country?
The “fake news” trend in the mainstream media is taking the country over. It is important that we are getting correct information so that we can make the best decisions for our lives. But if the media continues to spread propaganda instead of the truth, where does that leave us?
Most importantly, if Palin did not threaten to sue, would they have still retracted their statement? It is troubling, to say the least, to think that maybe the media is telling us completely false stories on a regular basis. As we check fact-check the stories we are reading, it is important that the journalists who actually publishing the stories also check their facts and sources.
What all Americans expect is the truth — nothing more, and nothing less. And we should demand it.