Unintentional humor is the best humor.
Take, for example, when the Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe alleged with a straight face this weekend that the nation’s leading newsrooms care only about facts, and that it is right-wing media organizations who are guilty of political advocacy.
“On one side we have a very politically motivated media — Fox, Breibart, InfoWars, etc. — that are pushing a dishonest narrative,” she said in a CNN interview. “And on the other side we're trying to be like, "Well, we're not on any side, here are the details.”
Oh, come off it.
"On one side we have a very politically motivated media — Fox, Breibart, infowars, etc. — that are pushing a dishonest narrative, frankly... And on the other side we're trying to be like, "Well, we're not on any side, here are the details." — @juliaioffe. https://t.co/nShAV1SCP9— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) February 4, 2018
It’s astonishing, really, that an ostensibly in-the-know reporter can come out of the political journalism dumpster fires of 2016 and 2017 and maintain, with a straight face, that major newsrooms have no obvious political axes to grind.
It’s okay to have biases! In fact, it makes newsrooms more trustworthy when they’re upfront about it. Bias is fine so long as the reporting is fair. But let’s drop this objectivity charade. It’s tiresome and it's not fooling anyone.
Yes, newsrooms are just interested in facts. That’s why the New York Times turned op-ed space over to anti-Trump activist and professional conspiracy monger Louise Mensch. The media’s pursuit of truth is why an obscure former White House “ethics lawyer” for George W. Bush is being paraded around television as a national security expert (he’s not).
The press’ dispassionate pursuit of the real story is why this collection of botched political reports from 2017 is nearly 15,000 words long. The impartial love for the truth is why the news industry has catapulted noted fabulist Michael Wolff from mere tabloid smear merchant to the most sought-after journalist in the business.
The clear-eyed search for what is right must explain why the political press corps continues to botch its coverage of the Trump White House.
Ioffe’s claim is farcical on its face, deserving of at least a good, healthy chuckle. But it’s the context surrounding her pronouncement that makes it knee-slapping funny. For the assertion comes from someone whose resume includes the New Republic. And it comes from the same woman whose tenure at Politico ended abruptly with a since-deleted tweet that read, "Either Trump is fucking his daughter or he's shirking nepotism laws. Which is worse?"
"Here are the details" indeed.
The assertion comes from the same woman who tweeted in 2015 in response to the Republican National Committee's attempts to negotiate more favorable presidential debate terms, "For candidates who so love shouting about freedom, they're weirdly uncomfortable with the freedom of the press to ask them questions … [F]rom what I understand, though, the 2nd Amendment allows shooting journalists if you feel threatened by their questions."
Yes, yes. Just the facts, ma’am.