News by Omission

Earlier this month, my local newspaper, Newsday, pursued the story of a Black woman on Long Island who was harassed by her White neighbor.  Eventually, there was enough compelling evidence that the neighbor was arrested for racist behavior.  To my surprise, that local story appeared on ABC Nightly News.  Clearly, the story fit the national narrative of White racism, which needed to be disseminated across the nation.

That same week in North Carolina, 5-year old Cannon Hinnant, a White child, was blown away by his Black neighbor for playing on the neighbor’s lawn.  This story never made it to national news, except by FOX.  Likewise, the execution-style murder of Paul and Lidia Marino last May by a Black assailant in Delaware never made mainstream news.  Clearly, racism is a one-way street these days.

‘News by omission,’ as I call it, has become the norm on mainstream.  You can judge that term yourself by adding FOX News and the Wall Street Journal to your news intake.  It becomes quite obvious that (liberal) mainstream and conservative outlets have diverse agendas.

You may recall the photo of Nick Sandmann of Covington High School confronting a Native American in Washington, DC.  Mainstream news vilified Sandmann, characterizing his smirk and MAGA hat as proof that Trump has sown disrespect for minorities among White youth.  Actually, it was later revealed that Sandmann had been provoked by both Black protesters and this Native American.  What you probably don’t know, without watching FOX, is that Sandmann sued CNN and NBC for defamation and won settlements in the millions from both media outlets.  Such news may shock self-righteous liberals.

Or, take the recent stalemate in Congress over a new stimulus package that put unemployment insurance at risk for millions of laid off workers.  Mainstream news disparaged President Trump’s bypassing of Congress in signing an Executive Order mandating a $400 weekly unemployment bonus – $300 of which would come from the federal government and $100 from the states.  Was it legal?  The media labelled it a Trump gimmick.  Well, New York State, which pleaded poverty for their $100 contribution, quietly negotiated with Trump.   The result, New York workers will now receive the lifesaving $300 federal contribution.  Have you seen this deal on national news?  How many other states have so negotiated?  Mainstream doesn’t think their viewers should know the whole story.  News by omission.

A recently released report by the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed that the Trump campaign in 2016 had dealings with the Russians, although collusion was still debatable.  This news reached every media outlet, and incited more editorials against Trump.  What didn’t appear on national news was another story, that FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to forging a document which allowed the FBI to spy on the Trump campaign.  News by omission.

You can go down the roster of stories mainstream media does not want to broadcast.  The riots in Portland, Oregon have been going on for three months.  White bystanders have been dragged from their cars and beaten senseless, a courthouse vandalized.  So many American cities are racked with increasing crime, protests, looting, and arson that FOX can fill hours of time with videos, but mainstream news hasn’t even mentioned the chaos in passing.  Instead, NBC Nightly News features a segment called  “Inequality in America,” to keep White racism on track until the election.

Mainstream also stays clear of investigating China for the Wuhan Virus or the growing number of Chinese spies being outed in federal agencies and universities.  Vietnam has finally banned its wet markets, while China still allows these virus pools to operate. You need to find snippets buried in back pages, or other sources, to fill in the gaps left by our national media.

There is no equivalent to a non-partisan Dr. Anthony Fauci in the news media.  The few Italian Americans in the business have chosen sides. On the liberal side, Jim Sciutto (CNN), Chris Cuomo (CNN), and Frank Bruni (NYTimes) come to mind.  On the conservative side, FOX seems to have an edge with Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto, Dana Perino, and Emily Compagno.

There are no shortcuts to the truth.  You need to balance your intake or get buried in propaganda. -JLM

2 thoughts on “News by Omission”

  1. Readers will be pleased to know that the national media is, finally, recognizing Italy’s leadership role in fighting COVID. The New York Times, usually so hostile to la bell’italia, featured three hugely positive stories about it in the past three weeks: “Italy is Slowly Waking From the Nightmare”; “Why Can’t Trump’s America Be Like Italy?”; and “The Unlikely Triumph of Italian Nationhood.” And CNN also had a piece (and a short accompanying video) titled, “Europe’s Biggest Countries are Seeing COVID Surges–But Not This One” (i.e, Italy).

    At the Italic Institute, we’ve always noted the innate hostility of the American press when it comes to coverage of Italy. Perhaps the one good thing to come out of this pandemic (if such a thing is possible) it that forced our national media to confront, even tangentially, their consistently negative and/or condescending attitudes toward the country. (Note: The cited ‘organized crime’ articles are crude examples of this.) Let’s hope this continues.

  2. The concept of News by Omission applies not only to domestic news but also to international events.
    Think about the corona virus and Italy.

    At the initial stage of the epidemic, Italy was depicted by international/American media as the sick country of the world, suggesting that there was something wrong and dirty about us. When we implemented a massive lockdown (first country in the Western world), the NYT published an article suggesting Italians cannot follow the law. Many articles have also covered how organized crime was taking advantage of the situations (not sure where they got this from; nobody was really thinking about organized crime during the pandemic). Organized crime in Italy is just like organized crime in any other country! Now the omissions:

    1) Italy has been the first free country to design and implement a massive lock-down. It was done peacefully and with lenient enforcement. You must have seen the video of the Italian small-town mayors cussing and screaming on the streets or on videos (that was the only enforcement really needed). No fighting, no shooting, no police beating anybody.
    2) Italy has been honest and transparent on the numbers of cases and deaths unlike China and other European countries. This has given other countries the chance to rely on a true epidemiological data and prepare accordingly.
    3) Italy has been the first country to beat the pandemic, based on true transparent epidemiological data.
    4) We are no longer the sick country of the world. We are number 17 now.
    5) Despite losing 10% of our economy, Italians have acted with dignity. There are no people begging for food on the street like the NYT article above seems to suggest.
    6) Despite the pandemic, Italy continues to be one of the most generous and least racist country in the world. Ten thousand people have arrived from Africa in the last two months. Many of them are Covid positive.

    To conclude, when you read something about Italy on American media, do your homework first.

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