News and Analysis

6 Stories The Media Ignored This Month

One of the easiest ways to confirm media bias is this: Did you ever notice that, of all the stories in the world, the legacy media outlets cover the exact same handful of topics each night? Each one may have a few exclusive details or interviews, but the stories rarely change. Despite differing production values and journalistic personalities, the content of most newscasts is completely interchangeable.

The lockstep coverage of the legacy media leaves a huge number of important stories to be covered in greater depth. Here are six of the top stories the legacy media ignored this month.

Kamala Harris’ response to her National Space Council video

The Biden administration gouged its most recent, self-inflicted wound by releasing a video of Vice President Kamala Harris talking to schoolchildren about the National Space Council. “I love the idea of exploring the unknown,” Harris told them, raising her open palms toward the skies. “You’re going to literally see the craters on the moon with your own eyes! With your own eyes!” Her artificially awestruck voice led Fox News host Tucker Carlson to say her video leaves viewers “pining for the authentic, maternal warmth of Hillary Clinton.” Such, apparently, is the fruit of hiring two Democratic consultants, Lorraine Voles and Adam Frankel, to burnish her image.

The notion that the vice president is congenitally inauthentic was only deepened by the news that the video featured child actors who auditioned to have Harris talk down to them. “All five of them are actors,” Carlo Bernardino, the father of one of the actors, said about the cast. The segment was produced by a Canadian production company known as Sinking Ship Entertainment. A spokesman for YouTube confirmed that it selected the child actors and that the performers were compensated for their work. That set off alarms among those who had served in previous administrations. “It is not common for anybody in the government, particularly the White House, to pay people to sit in your videos,” said former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Fox News. “That’s called fake news.”

But the story the media missed is not the video; it’s the vice president’s response to the fallout, which certainly did not improve her reputation for honesty and integrity. Someone in the administration sent out a misleading comment implying that the children were not actors at all.

In a bout of damage control, an anonymous White House official rushed out a denial to The Hill, CNN, Daily Mail, and other legacy media outlets. While none quoted the official’s precise words, all reported a variant of the same sentence: “A White House official told CNN the vice president’s office did not select the kids who participated” in the video. In some cases, the sentence was reported as a stand-alone statement, which left a strongly false impression. While it is true that Kamala Harris did not personally audition the actors, they were, in fact, actors — yet, by itself, her statement strongly implies the administration did not use child actors. The great moral theologian St. Augustine of Hippo wrote that it is “a lie when a person willingly utters even a truth for the purpose of deceiving.” Kamala Harris’ remarks seem to fall into that category.

In another potential act of duplicity, Harris seemed to call into question her admiration for people who dedicated their lives to exploring new areas. As The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien reported, “[T]he day after Columbus Day, Vice President Kamala Harris took the opportunity to slam the European explorers who reached the Americas hundreds of years ago, calling it an era with a ‘shameful past’ and lecturing, ‘Those explorers ushered in a wave of devastation for tribal nations — perpetrating violence, stealing land, and spreading disease.’”

The Biden administration shifts from deporting illegal aliens who take Americans’ jobs to raising their wages

The Biden administration made a stunning change in immigration policy this week by ending the longtime practice of arresting illegal immigrants caught during workplace raids. Instead, the Biden administration will focus on improving their wages and labor conditions. While the policy change has been widely reported, its impact has been virtually ignored by the media.

The Trump administration regularly arrested hundreds of illegal workers during workplace raids. President Donald Trump considered this pivotal to protecting U.S. workers from unfair, undocumented competition. While the Obama administration usually avoided arresting illegal immigrants in the workplace, up to 1,200 illegal workers at a time lost their jobs after federal raids. But the Biden administration wants to focus its resources on employers who do not pay illegal aliens a sufficient salary.

On Tuesday,  October 12, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued Policy Statement 065-06. The memo told DHS agents to focus on “the most pernicious aspect of our country’s unauthorized employment challenge: unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers. These employers engage in illegal acts ranging from the payment of substandard wages to imposing unsafe working conditions and facilitating human trafficking and child exploitation. Their culpability compels the intense focus of our enforcement resources.”

Mayorkas also tells immigration enforcement agents to “consider ways to ensure that noncitizen victims and witnesses generally are not placed in immigration proceedings.” So, the Biden administration encourages the DHS not to deport illegal immigrants who charge their employers with unfair labor conditions. This effectively gives illegal immigrants an incentive to falsely accuse their employers of exploiting them.

The new policy not only ignores the violation of immigration law but encourages more illegal immigration by assuring that employers offer more generous work conditions (if not quite so generous as they would have to offer American citizens). “The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which then-Senator Joe Biden voted for, explicitly prohibits the employment of illegal aliens. The stated intent of the law was to cut off the magnet of jobs that draws illegal aliens to the U.S., and protect the jobs and wages of American workers,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “As president, Joe Biden’s policy is precisely the opposite: to draw as many illegal aliens as possible to the United States, no matter the cost to national security, public health, burdens to taxpayers, or the jobs and wages of American workers.”

“‘Lunch Bucket Joe’ is declaring open-season on American workers with policies that will flood the labor market with illegal workers, leading to even greater wage stagnation,” Stein said. “The latest blatantly illegal policy directive leaves no doubt that the administration’s highest ‘priority’ is ensuring unchecked illegal immigration.”

School board officials did not record alleged sexual assaults by a ‘gender-fluid’ student

The biggest story the legacy media ignored this week came from just outside the nation’s capital, in Loudoun County, Virginia, where school board officials apparently failed to record multiple alleged acts of sexual assault, including the reported forcible rape and anal sodomy of a 15-year-old girl in a restroom by a “gender-fluid” male. The superintendent of the school system said he had no record of such events. When the girls’ father became heated, school officials had the father arrested. The Daily Wire’s Luke Rosiak has reported on the story extensively here and here.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare, yet the legacy media snored at the revelations. MSNBC’s Joy Reid aired footage of the father’s arrest in a story assailing parents who complain about Critical Race Theory being taught in public schools. CNN’s Don Lemon hosted multiple segments about the alleged harassment of school board members by parents. But when it comes to the apparent complicity or coverup of sexual abuse of the young, vulnerable population in those officials’ care, the media turned a blind eye. Apparently, portraying parents as the aggressors means erasing the victims. The legacy media’s silence about this story shows the depths of their devotion to indoctrinating students, and protecting the officials who carry out the indoctrination process, even when faced with the most disturbing allegations of abuse.

The Government Is Spying On Google Searches

While the media gave saturation coverage to Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen‘s allegations and pleas for additional online censorship of “misinformation,” they ignored a far more consequential story about the internet: Court documents that were briefly, accidentally made public show that the U.S. government has issued blanket warrants to spy on everyone who searches for certain words or phrases on Google.

Forbes magazine, which is usually known for its analysis of financial news, broke the story of clandestine government “keyword warrants” on Monday — with startlingly few outlets following its lead.

The story began when a missing minor returned home, saying that she had been kidnapped and sexually trafficked. Federal investigators asked Google to turn over the accounts, IP addresses, and “CookieIDs” of anyone searching for the victim’s name, address, or her mother’s name over a 16-day period. Google complied in “mid-2020,” although the extent of the data it produced for the government remains unknown. Forbes said these warrants “threaten to implicate innocent Web users in serious crimes and are more common than previously thought.”

While it has long been known that government agencies and police officers may request users’ data from Google, these “keyword warrants,” privacy advocates say these warrants are broader and more intrusive than previous entries. Last December, the ACLU sent a letter to Google about the growth of “non-traditional” warrants like “geofence” and “keyword warrants,” saying, “These blanket warrants circumvent constitutional checks on police surveillance, creating a virtual dragnet of our religious practices, political affiliations, sexual orientation, and more.”

Only “two other ‘keyword warrants’ had been disclosed prior to the Forbes article,” according to the New York Daily News. Thomas Brewster, who broke this story, reported that in 2017, investigators asked for the “names, email addresses, social security numbers, payment information, account data and IP addresses” of anyone who searched the name of a bank fraud victim in Edina, Minnesota. A 2020 warrant had to do with an arson victim who testified against R. Kelly.

But the number of publicly known “keyword warrants” has tripled in the last week. Forbes found another keyword warrant issued in the Northern District of California last December titled “Application by the United States for a Search Warrant for Google Accounts Associated with Six Search Terms and Four Search Dates.” And since the publication of the article, the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed another three previously unknown keyword warrants, related to a 2018 bombing in Austin.

“Trawling through Google’s search history database enables police to identify people merely based on what they might have been thinking about, for whatever reason, at some point in the past. This is a virtual dragnet through the public’s interests, beliefs, opinions, values and friendships, akin to mind reading powered by the Google time machine,” the American Civil Liberties Union’s surveillance counsel, Jennifer Granick, told Forbes. “This never-before-possible technique threatens First Amendment interests and will inevitably sweep up innocent people, especially if the keyword terms are not unique and the time frame not precise. To make matters worse, police are currently doing this in secret, which insulates the practice from public debate and regulation.”

This is, again, in addition to the publicly acknowledged, narrower Google warrants. The number of those requests has skyrocketed from 90,493 in 2016 to 217,424 in 2020, according to Google’s transparency report. “Google received 8,438 such requests in the second half of [2012] and honored 88 percent of them,” The Washington Post reported in 2013. Coincidentally, 88% of all internet searches go through Google.

The Washington Post reassured its readers at the time that “your local police will never be able to spy on your searches unless you’ve done something to convince a judge that you’re up to no good.” After the most recent case, Google told the public there is no cause for alarm. “As with all law enforcement requests, we have a rigorous process that is designed to protect the privacy of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement,” the company said in a statement.

But the new revelations raise unanswered questions about the extent of government surveillance: How many more keyword warrants has the government issued? Have they extended these warrants to companies other than Google; if so, which ones? Have federal investigators tracked anyone who searched for terms related to a political view or religious conviction, such as “pro-life”? What does the government do with the data of innocent parties it uncovers? What do federal agencies do with the reams of unrelated data they sweep up about their targets’ search history and web surfing habits, especially if no charges are filed? Did any of the people who made the hundreds of errors in the relative handful of FISA applications Inspector General Michael Horowitz reviewed have anything to do with any keyword warrants?

These are the sorts of questions inquiring reporters would ask, yet as of this writing virtually no legacy media outlet has even reported on the Wisconsin keyword warrant, much less attempted to shed light on the extent of this surveillance program. The Washington Examiner, the New York Post, Business Insider, New York Daily News, and The Week have run stories on it; so have the U.S. affiliates of two U.K. publications: The U.S. Sun and the Daily Mail. Eugene Volokh at Reason magazine offered a one-paragraph, noncommittal assessment.

Thankfully, the limited coverage this story has gotten has been on the most widely viewed platform: Fox News. The top-rated host in all of cable news, Tucker Carlson, made the story a focal part of his opening monologue on Wednesday. “Has Nicolle Wallace or anyone else at MSNBC said a word about the federal government spying on people’s Google searches?” Carlson asked. “None of the national security experts on MSNBC or CNN will even mention it. Why is that? Because their job isn’t to protect you or civil liberties but to protect the party in power.” He questioned whether the warrants had not already expanded to track the Democratic Party’s political enemies:

Is it a stretch to think this could be extended to ideological crimes, which are the crimes the Biden administration really cares about? No, it’s not a stretch at all. Of course, it’s happening. And no one on television even mentions it. Because they think you deserve it. Because they don’t think you have civil liberties. Because they don’t believe in God, therefore they don’t think you got those rights from God.

While we’re grateful that the most powerful platform in news highlighted this story, massive government surveillance should be a story for which quality does not outstrip quantity of coverage.

Government Repression of Religion Hits An All-Time High

The number of governments that interfered with the free exercise of religion reached an all-time high in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, according to a new report. Last Thursday, the Pew Research Center released its annual study on global restrictions on religion, which measures the level of social hostility, violence, and government interference people face because of their faith.

“In total, governments in 180 countries harassed religious groups in some way in 2019 – for example, by detaining individuals for practicing their faith – and 163 governments interfered in worship. Both are peaks for the study,” Pew noted. “Meanwhile, the number of countries with ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of government restrictions ticked up from 56 in 2018 to 57 (29% of all countries analyzed) in 2019, matching the 2012 peak.”

The most extreme form of prejudice — violence — took place when people were:

  • killed for their religion in 47 countries;
  • physically assaulted or tortured based on their religion in 80 countries, 40% of those in the study;
  • detained or imprisoned for their religion in 70 countries (35% of the total);
  • displaced, often deported, for their religion in 37 countries; or
  • had their religious group’s property damaged in 117 of 198 countries, or 59%.

Among the world’s 25 most populous nations, “China, Egypt, Russia, Iran and Indonesia had the highest levels of government restrictions, while India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities.” You can see specific, country-by-country results here.

The good news is that Pew’s “Social Harassment Index,” has fallen, but people are being harassed over their religion in more countries than ever before: 190. “Christians and Muslims — the world’s largest and most widely dispersed religious groups — experienced harassment in more countries than other religious groups in 2019,” wrote Samirah Majumdar of Pew. “Meanwhile, Jews faced harassment in 89 countries, even though they make up a small share of the world’s population.” The decline largely came from the setbacks faced by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the report said.

It’s worth noting that these numbers came in 2019, before the increased tensions unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Western governments’ attempts to close churches and other houses of worship — so next year’s number could be even worse.

It’s hardly surprising that this study failed to receive any significant coverage from the U.S. legacy or conservative media. The media narrative has no place for a story that presents Christians as victims rather than oppressors (nor the inverse for Muslims).

Ultimately, though, the media have no time to discuss faith; it’s simply not on their radar. The executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Timothy Head, told Fox news that he would give media coverage of religion “an incomplete, at worst a failing grade because not only do they not cover it … but also most of the coverage tends to be on the negative side.” With last year’s hyper-focus on police shootings, the worldwide persecution of people who stand up for their faith should merit a modicum of media coverage.

Atlanta-Area Police: The Person Behind ‘KKK Harassment’ Was A Black Woman

Just four days before Christmas, black residents of the Atlanta suburb of Douglasville rushed to their mailboxes, but instead of holiday greetings, they found hate mail. “Residents on Manning Drive began receiving the notes last December from a person who claimed to be a white male member of the Ku Klux Klan, who threatened to burn down their homes and kill them,” according to the Douglasville Police Department. One gentleman who found one of the letters placed in his mailbox told CBS 46 he felt “alarmed” by what he read. “The letter is using the N-word, talking about the KKK, hanging people, killing kids, killing whole families, and setting houses on fire,” he said, noting that he had filed a police report.

The Douglasville PD launched a months-long investigation into the matter. All they had to go on was the fact that the perpetrator targeted the Brookmont subdivision and that the letters’ author described himself “as a six-feet-tall white male with a long, red beard who did not live in the neighborhood.” With months of hard work, they got their man—who turned out to be a black woman.

“Instead, their investigation led them to Terresha Lucas, a 30-year-old African-American female, who was charged with eight counts of making terroristic threats this month,” the police department posted on its Facebook page on September 29.

The legacy media’s coverage of this counterintuitive story has been, underwhelming. As of this writing, there appear to be no stories about the hate crimes hoax from The Associated Press, Reuters, UPI, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, or MSNBC. A link on an RSS feed of CNN takes the reader to a story, not on CNN’s website, but a local story by CBS 46.

The reason for the scant coverage is clear: The media’s need for racist events far exceeds the supply. Having reported numerous phony acts of “hatred” in the past, the media cannot afford to have viewers question whether a purported “hate crime” follows the hierarchy of oppression laid out by the intersectional narrative. If viewers began to examine the facts, the media’s remaining credibility would be shredded.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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