Liars, Deniers and Double Standards (OPINION)

Liars, Deniers and Double Standards (OPINION)
From NYT web site

The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO columnist

On the morning after the Red Wave That Wasn’t, it became clear that the media and their relieved Democrat allies have a new nemesis: election “deniers,” Republican candidates who have dared express any doubts about the 2020 election.

The media are copiously tracking down election deniers and calling them out by name, publishing their photographs, and monitoring their election efforts closely. Down to the state government level. The media see a dark threat to democracy.

Cut to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and slick co-host Willie Geist, who hails the results (“election deniers got stopped in their tracks”) and declares: “We think that we shouldn’t have people who deny our elections. We think we should have people who respect the way we’ve done things for more than 200 years.”

Columnist Mike Barnacle responds that we teach our children, “don’t be a sore loser, just accept it and go on.”

Note: They are talking only about Republicans here. Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Stacy Abrams don’t count. Nor does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tweeted in May 2017: “Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy #FollowTheFacts”

“Deniers” is a particularly pejorative term. “Holocaust deniers” argue the extermination of six million Jews never happened. “Sandy Hook deniers” believe crackpot Alex Jones’s bizarre fabrication that the school shooting was a hoax. “Climate deniers” doubt a crisis is imminent.

In fact, the phrase “climate deniers” was deemed to be so loaded with innuendo that the Associated Press banned its use in 2015. Now “election deniers” are in the media’s gunsights.

The Washington Post cites victories by “at least 143 Republican election deniers running for the U.S. House.” That searing, two-word scarlet letter is used 11 times, including in the headline: “Key election deniers concede defeat after disputing Trump’s 2020 loss.”

Republicans classified as “deniers” by the Post include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Rand Paul, and the brother of former Vice President Mike Pence. Yet the paper says the deniers ran on inflation, abortion, and crime, rather than election denial:

“Voters did not necessarily vote for or against them because of their stance on the 2020 presidential results. But the outcomes of those races could nevertheless have lasting consequences for the U.S. democracy.” Oh, please.

The New York Times, in an opinionated article masked as news “analysis,” says “more than 200 election deniers will take office at the national and state level in January.” It chastises Republicans’ “devotion to the false premise, promoting their baseless assertions relentlessly…”

A separate Times article says, “Spreading lies, misinformation and doubt about the 2020 election have (sic) proven to be a winning strategy for many Republicans.” It invites readers to “See Which 2020 Election Deniers and Skeptics Won in the Midterm Elections.”

This includes color mugshots of the 210 just-elected Republican “deniers” who “questioned” the 2020 election, and who now have won seats in the House, Senate, and state races for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general.

Online, you scroll past a flashcard that reads: “More than 30 of them have denied President Biden’s victory outright,” and, suddenly, the mugshots of the dirty thirty move to the foreground, their backdrops suddenly shaded in red. Like targets in a bullseye.

The Times notes that a “vast majority” of the winners “have not denied the 2020 results entirely, but have sown doubt in other ways.” This includes “suggesting, sometimes again and again, that there were irregularities or unresolved questions about the way the election was conducted, or by saying that further investigation was needed.”

If making unwanted suggestions “again and again” is a threat to our constitutional republic, then we are so frail and fragile that we already have lost it.

The Times also lists 31 states with Republican “deniers” elected to the House, and it breaks out what percentage of each delegation is made up of deniers: Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota lead the list at 100%. Hide the children!

The Newspaper of Record put seven reporters and 12 photo researchers on this story; at some point it starts to feel like an effort to shame and intimidate. One wonders how many staffers are investigating, say, the Mexican cartels shipping fentanyl here, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. They must be too busy to get to it.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.