In the days after the riots at the Capitol on January 6, we were told by the New York Times and the rest of the Fourth Estate that Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick was killed with a fire extinguisher by a group of deranged Trump supporters, who were labeled as “violent white nationalists.”
As the Times headlined a January 8 article, “He Dreamed of Being a Police Officer, Then Was Killed by a Pro-Trump Mob.”
But in the weeks following Sicknick’s death, the Times story began to unravel. On February 12, the “paper of record,” apparently no longer confident in its sourcing, added a disclaimer to the original article citing the emergence of “New information … regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.”
But the damage was done.
Twitter deplatformed Trump the same day the Times article was published, and the Democrat House impeachment managers used the story as evidence of the former president’s culpability in Sicknick’s death.
On Monday, April 19, the story completely blew up in the Gray Lady’s face, when the Washington, D.C., chief medical examiner determined that QAnon conspiracy theorists draped in fur hats with horns sticking out of them did not in fact cause Sicknick’s death. Instead, it was revealed that Sicknick died of natural causes after suffering two strokes the day after the “insurrection.”
In other words, the entirety of the Times article was based on false information that was used to damage Trump and his supporters.
This was not an isolated incident for the Times.
This past June, the Times published an article titled “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and CNN’s Jake Tapper ran with the story and castigated Trump for calling it a “hoax.” Meanwhile, President Biden used it as a line of attack throughout his basement campaign. And both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris repeated the lie to smear Trump during last year’s debates.
But last week it was revealed that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded they did not have any evidence to suggest that Vladimir Putin was paying the Taliban to murder U.S. soldiers.
Is anyone sensing a trend here?
How often have we seen this farce play out, in which the entirety of the national media echoes the Times on an endless loop, without any regard for the facts?
It happens again and again: Trump, or some other Republican, is accused of doing something nefarious, without any credible evidence. Then when the story falls apart, the media barely utters a sound and moves on to the next hit piece.
Meanwhile, when actual evidence appears that could harm Biden’s presidency or other Democrats, the Fourth Estate simply chooses to ignore it.
We have long known that the national media is biased against Republicans, but during Trump’s presidency the Times, the Washington Post, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR, MSNBC, and PBS went well beyond bias, both in what they chose to report on and what they omitted from their stories.
These misrepresentations and untruths are intentional, with the purpose of influencing public opinion and the outcome of elections to help Democrats and harm Republicans.
It is long overdue for the GOP and the conservative movement to have a clear strategy to defend themselves and respond to these vicious attacks from the corrupt media cartels.
So what can be done?
First, Republican politicians and members of Congress should confront and call out left-wing news anchors directly, whenever they have the opportunity to do so. One of the reasons why Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is becoming increasingly popular is his ability to defend himself against baseless attacks from reporters, including the recent 60 Minutes hit job.
Second, Republican members of Congress, such as Sen. Ted Cruz or Sen. Josh Hawley, do not need to win over viewers who watch Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity. They need to win over those unfortunate enough to watch Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Rachel Maddow. To be sure, dealing with reporters who probably have more respect for Nicolás Maduro than for Republican politicians will be no easy task, but presenting facts, reason, nuance, and logic in a composed manner is a far more effective strategy than simply refusing to engage.
Third, Fox News or another network that has a broad influence should air a weekly news segment that focuses specifically on Fake News and stories that the Times and other outlets published against Republicans that turned out to be false. They can also focus on stories that the media chooses to ignore.
Fourth, the Washington Post was fond of “fact-checking” every word that Trump uttered during his presidency. It’s time for the Wall Street Journal or another neutral outlet to have a daily column that fact-checks the “fact-checkers” and holds the media overlords accountable for their slanderous statements.
The Fourth Estate’s treatment of Trump during his presidency and the 60 Minutes smear of DeSantis are battles in a larger war.
Whoever the next GOP presidential nominee is, we should expect the hit jobs to continue. It is time for the GOP to finally push back against Fake News.
David Keltz was a speechwriter for the Administrator at the U.S. General Services Administration from 2020–21 and is the author of the new book The Campaign of His Life and Media Bias in the Trump Presidency and the Extinction of the Conservative Millennial. He previously served as a White House Intern for Vice President Mike Pence. You can follow him on Twitter @david_keltz.