The 5 Biggest Media Fails of 2020
NEW YORK - MAY 2: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Chris Cuomo during Thursday's May 2, 2019 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

As this tumultuous year comes to a close, let’s take time to relive some of the media’s biggest fails of 2020. While one could easily fill a novel with examples of media ineptitude this year, we’ll stick with five of the worst. 

Falling For ‘Anonymous’ Op-Ed

In 2018, the New York Times published an editorial titled “I Am Part Of The Resistance Inside The Trump Administration.” Portraying themselves as a high-ranking official within the President’s inner circle, the anonymous author described how he and others within the administration were working to secretly undermine the President’s agenda. They even claimed that other senior members of the President’s team had even discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. 

Across America, legacy media newsrooms lit up, touting the anonymous author as an American hero. 

Elated by the opportunity to simultaneously smear President Trump and confirm their biased reporting of his administration’s inner-workings, the media never stopped to question the veracity of the piece, or its author. 

In October, the author of the piece was revealed. Surely, it must have been a cabinet member? Or perhaps a senior adviser or close personal confidant? In reality, the author was none of those things. Despite presenting himself as a major player in the Trump administration, the author, Miles Taylor, was a mid-level employee within the Department of Homeland Security who’d never worked directly with the President on any matter, according to the White House. 

Ignoring ‘Me Too’ Allegations Against Democrats 

If 2018 was the year of “Me Too,” then 2020 was the year of ignoring “Me Too” allegations made against Democrats. 

After devoting hours of breathless coverage to sexual assault and harassment allegations made against those on the Right like Brett Kavanaugh, the media fell silent when similar accusations were made against their counterparts on the Left. 

No better example of this bias exists than the media’s treatment of Tara Reade. 

Reade, a former staffer in Joe Biden’s Senate office, went public in March alleging that Biden had sexually harassed and assaulted her during her time in the Capitol. Instead of receiving the Christine Blasey Ford treatment — touted as a hero and put on magazine covers — Reade was largely ignored. 

This month, the same treatment befell Lindsey Boylan, a former staffer of Andrew Cuomo, who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

For the media in 2020, “Believe All Women” means “believe all women…as long as they’re accusing Republicans.” 

Referring To Riots As “Peaceful Protests”

In the spring and summer of 2020, as America was gripped by mass riots and looting, the media worked overtime in their role as a Public Relations arm of the radical Left, imploring the American people not to believe what they were witnessing with their own eyes. 

Violent, sometimes deadly, riots were mostly peaceful protests.” Looters were nothing other than disgruntled activists. The destruction of property was simply an airing of grievances. 

In August, while covering a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, CNN aired apocalyptic footage of burning buildings and charred cars in the middle of the street. The chyron on the bottom of the screen? “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting.”

After convincing America that the riots, which resulted in billions of dollars in property damage, were “peaceful,” many in the media went a step further, claiming that the use of the word “riot” was an act of racism. 

The Associated Press, in turn, advised against the use of “riot,” while broadening the definition of “protest” to include the word “violence.” NPR joined in the mental gymnastics, denouncing the word used for centuries as racist at its core. 

Time Magazine had their own take on the riots, with the headline “93% of Black Lives Matter protests have been peaceful,” apparently ignoring the other 7% of demonstrations. 

MSNBC host and liberal activist, Rev. Al Sharpton, lamented President Trump’s characterization of the rioters, claiming “what he deems as out-of-control protesters… we’ve not seen that.”

Incorrectly Predicting A Blue Wave

Throughout the 2020 election cycle, legacy media talking heads spoke ad nauseam about the impending “blue wave” facing Republicans in the Senate. That wave was more of a trickle, as Republicans lost just 1 Senate seat and appear likely to maintain control of the chamber after Georgia’s runoff elections on January 5.

If picking up just 1 Senate seat is a “blue wave,” then a red tsunami occurred in the House, with the GOP picking up 10 seats, trimming the Democrat majority to just 222 to 211. 

If you want an idea of just how inaccurate the media was in predicting elections in 2020, take a look at the outcomes of “toss-up” races in the House. Of the 27 races listed by Cook Political Report – a trusted ally of the legacy media — as too close to predict, Republicans won all 27. 

Not Covering The Hunter Biden Story

If the media were truly unbiased agents of truth and fact-finding, they would’ve been all over the Hunter Biden story. Allegations of unethical business dealings and unsavory relationships with corrupt officials abroad are usually enough to leave any reporter chomping at the bit. Throw in the sex and drugs (of which there was plenty) and you’ve got a story destined for the front page. 

Call it willful ignorance, call it bias, or call it a good old-fashioned cover-up. The media’s failure to cover the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop and the credible allegations regarding his shady business deals with foreign corporations should be a stark reminder of how little they actually care about reporting the truth. 

It’s one thing to report on the news in a biased manner. It’s an entirely different thing to ignore the story altogether. But that’s what the legacy media did — with the help of big tech social media giants, of course. 

In addition to Facebook and Twitter censoring any posts linking to the New York Post’s original report on Hunter Biden’s emails, legacy media outlets across the board were silent. 

According to an undercover Project Veritas report, CNN Political Director David Chalian said “Obviously, we’re not going with the New York Post story right now on Hunter Biden.” 

Based on their near universal silence on the story, it seems other legacy media outlets had the same discussions. That’s right, the same media who proclaimed that Brett Kavanaugh was a gang rapist, the Covington Catholic boys were white supremacists, and President Trump was a Russian operative suddenly refused to report anything unless they could verify all the facts themselves. 

Cabot Phillips is Managing Editor of The Daily Wire’s Readers Pass. Follow him on Twitter at @cabot_phillips

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

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