Wednesday, February 26, 2020

NYP, YELLOW JOURNALISM, AND STEVEN MOSHER

An opinion piece appeared in the New York Post that, under present circumstances, may be less than helpful, and might actually fuel anti-Chinese hysteria. Which one suspects could be welcomed by the author. Who to me seems to be a fringe-figure making a good living by being a shit-disturber and ideologue. The New York Post should have known better than to publish the piece, but they are a tabloid, and can barely be taken seriously. At least they spell-checked it.

Though they didn't run it past scientists.

The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab - By Steven W. Mosher

Steven W. Mosher is well-known as a far-right campaigner and propagandist at odds with the Chinese government, whose main drift seems to be as an angry anti-abortion agitator (per Wikipedia: "according to the Los Angeles Times, Mosher successfully lobbied the George W. Bush administration to withhold $34 to $40 million per year for seven years from the United Nations Population Fund, the largest international donor to family planning programs").

Several phrases in his short opinion piece show that this is pure speculation (examples: "Xi didn’t actually admit", "evidence emerged suggesting", "it sure sounds", "does that suggest to you", "may have", "this little-known fact") and he presents no sourced evidence other than that. Add to that the mention of rats being eaten, and given his known biases, I have to suspect that Steven W. Mosher is doing nothing more than shit-disturbing as part of a vendetta against the Chinese and on behalf of his compadres in the Christian anti-abortion agitator community.

Crucially, he provides no actual data, and his article is rife with pointed suspicion-mongering that seeks to blame the Chinese government.


I'd write off his article as opportunistic anti-Chinese and anti-Chinese government agit-prop by a religious rightwing whackjob, intent on using anything to create hysteria and racialist suspicions. A predictable development, given the rightwing's xenophobic slant.


The New York Post claims to be a newspaper, even though it's part of Rupert Murdoch's empire and caters to a low common denominator. I would have expected better. Thankfully they had the good grace to label Steven W. Mosher's essay an "opinion".



A FORCE FOR EVIL

From Wikipedia
 The Post has been criticized since the beginning of Murdoch's ownership for sensationalism, blatant advocacy, and conservative bias. In 1980, the Columbia Journalism Review stated "New York Post is no longer merely a journalistic problem. It is a social problem – a force for evil."

[CUT]

Perhaps the most serious allegation against the Post is that it is willing to contort its news coverage to suit Murdoch's business needs.

[CUT]

In The New Yorker, Ken Auletta writes that Murdoch "doesn’t hesitate to use the Post to belittle his business opponents". He goes on to say that Murdoch's support for Edward I. Koch while he was running for mayor of New York "spilled over onto the news pages of the Post, with the paper regularly publishing glowing stories about Koch and sometimes savage accounts of his four primary opponents."

[CUT]

Critics say that the Post allows its editorial positions to shape its story selection and news coverage.

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According to a survey conducted by Pace University in 2004, the Post was rated the least-credible major news outlet in New York, and the only news outlet to receive more responses calling it "not credible" than credible (44% not credible to 39% credible).


End cites


Casting blame at the current time probably suits an administration which, per Business Insider, "spent the past 2 years slashing the government agencies responsible for handling the coronavirus outbreak".

Scapegoating. We've seen that before.



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