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Blog of Mass Destruction

"Reporting" Dishonestly

By The Reverend Published: June 8, 2009

Virtually all sides now agree that Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation as the next Supreme Court Justice is all but a lock. All sides. Senate Republicans are not entirely self-destructive, even though at times one wonders. Senate Republicans understand the political suicide they would be carrying out by voting against the first Latino to be nominated for the Court. Hispanic Americans recently surpassed black Americans as the largest minority group in the U.S.

After turning so many Latino Americans off with their over-the-top protests of a comprehensive immigration bill a few years ago, a concerted attack of Sotomayor followed by a filibuster or a lockstep "no' vote would virtually guarantee permanent minority status for the Party of Lincoln.

Why then, given this dynamic, is corporate media still attempting to muddy the confirmation waters by purposely "reporting" falsely about Judge Soto?

Recently, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, did a Nexis search and found this....

"during the last ten days there have been more than 950 media mentions of Sotomayor and "Latina woman." Then I looked to see how many of those 950-plus news reports included the word "discrimination" as a way to put that quote in context.

Answer: Less than 20."

Let's review the context of Judge Soto's "Latina woman" comment...

"Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case."

The alleged no-no was Soto saying, "better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Of course, the very next sentence places the judge's words into context. The context is obviously, "sex and race discrimination."

Why, then, would corporate media reporting on this specific portion of one Judge Soto speech not include the discrimination context? Why would only 2 percent of 950 media stories on the phrase "Latina woman" include the context?

Boehlert nails the answer.....

"Republicans in the U.S. Senate have made it rather clear that they are not planning any sort of wholesale opposition to Sotomayor's nomination. But reporters and pundits are banking on nomination drama, so they're willing to chase, and legitimize, the "racist" storyline. To do that though, the press has to play dumb on an epic scale about the "Latina woman." To pretend it really was some kind of Battle of the Sexes proclamation.

Bottom line: Reporters and pundits must avoid providing any kind of context for the "Latina woman" quote in order for that storyline to survive even modest scrutiny.

Summer is coming. Following the "news" is often exchanged for outdoor activities and vacations. News-following audiences shrink during the summer. Newspapers nationally are already up against the wall with shrinking numbers of subscribers. Creating a controversy, even when one doesn't exist, is one way in which a corrupt and bankrupt corporate media can try to reinforce their numbers.

Capitalistic media has now reached a point where the truth about anything is not what's of prime importance, if it ever really was. Corporate media knowingly and willingly misleads it's audiences in order to manufacture a controversy. A faux-controversy, in this case, over racism....a topic audiences can take sides over. A topic the corrupt media hopes will maintain audiences' interests in the Judge's confirmation hearings, thus boosting ratings and subscriptions during the summer 'slow-season'.

Just as religion poisons too, unchecked capitalism. An industry meant to protect the American citizenry by vigilantly exposing the truth about our government...has morphed into nothing but a profit-center for stockholders, corporate officers and filthy rich celebrity news anchors.

Think about the extent of the rot. 2% of 950 media mentions of Judge Soto's use of "Latina woman" purposely left out the very obvious context of discrimination. In a democratic society, that is evidence that our national corporate media is terminally ill.



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