‘Without Evidence’ … Without Shame. The Associated Press Officially Becomes Propaganda Outlet for Administration
If you look up the phrase “State-Run Media” you will now find the logo of the Associated Press.
The AP was founded back in 1846 by five New York newspapers to defray the costs of covering the Mexican-American War. (Or perhaps, given the state of the border we should call it the First Mexican-American War.) For generations after, the AP served as a venerated news wire delivering news to client newspapers and news outlets straight up.
I still remember that comforting, non-stop clatter-clat-clat-clat-clat of the AP wire pouring endless reams of stories into the Voice of America news room from the farthest stretches of the globe. Today you can scroll through hundreds of stories. Back then, you had to roll through by hand, each story printed in triplicate, as still more stories poured out. Clatter-clat-clat-clat. This was “THE NEWS,” a percussive reminder that the world’s a big and busy place. “THE NEWS” — the raw reality of events local and global, tragic and triumphant. “THE NEWS” — evoking romantic images of gruff, cigar-chomping newsmen, or craggily faced Spencer Tracy portraying a newsman, presenting the truth to the people. And the truth to power.
Today the Associated Press is power’s little pet. The clatter-clat-clat-clat replaced with the slurping and licking of the president’s loafers.
On Tuesday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the launching of a formal impeachment inquiry into the business dealings of Joe Biden and his family while Biden was Vice President. This comes after nearly three years of revelations and months and months of intense investigation. Countless shell companies uncovered, countless millions funneled from foreign (and hostile) interests into the coffers of at least nine Biden family members. Countless transactions flagged as suspicious by the nation’s biggest banks. Countless dinners that turned into paydays. Emails. Emails under aliases. Texts. Phone calls. Burner phones. Sworn statements. Public admissions. Hunter’s business arrangements coinciding near perfectly with his father’s VP portfolio. “10% for the Big Guy.” A highly trusted, highly credible confidential human source detailing a $10 million bribery scheme.
To say nothing of a video where Joe Biden openly brags about doing precisely the thing Burisma was paying the Bidens to have done.
And yet on Tuesday, the Associated Press declared without shame: “Since gaining the House majority, House Republicans have aggressively investigated Biden and his son, claiming without evidence that they engaged in an influence peddling scheme. (Emphasis mine.)”
Since gaining the House majority, House Republicans have aggressively investigated Biden and his son, claiming without evidence that they engaged in an influence peddling scheme.
Here's what comes next: https://t.co/4Qxz6C2IXY
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 12, 2023
“No evidence” is exactly the phrase used by the White House. (Used, in fact, in a letter to news organizations requesting they “intensify their scrutiny” of the House Republican effort.) And repeated like parrots by talking heads on cable news. But here is the once-respected, even revered Associated Press echoing the Oval Office wording like loyal soldiers.
Say it ain’t so.
An Image of Bias
The Associated Press having a left-wing bias is not exactly breaking news. Every couple months, the AP comes out with some new guideline for news organization that completely skewers the news world’s language toward progressive ideology. No longer referring to pregnant “women.” Crisis pregnancy centers called “anti-abortion” centers. Beware the word “grooming.” Even the word “the” is now “dehumanizing.” On and on. And it’s the language you’ll see in newspapers and websites not just in liberal newspapers, but in the most conservative hamlets in the land.
This may sound trivial, but my own trust of the Associated Press plummeted the night of the third Presidential Debate in 2016. Oh, it wasn’t what they wrote. It’s what they showed. A major part of AP’s coverage is providing media outlets photographic images of events. I was pouring through scores of debate images that AP was providing and noticed something strange. Hillary Clinton looked great or at worst neutral in every single shot of her, while Trump looked bad or at best neutral in every single shot of him. If one or the other was flattered in a two shot, it’d be Hillary. Admittedly, Hillary did look her best that night. But when you are talking dozens of shots, and a heated debate, you’re bound to have a couple pix that aren’t flattering. A scowl, a blank stare, eyes wide. Shots destined to be memes. Especially with the demonstrative Hillary Clinton.
I thought “Al, you’re exaggerating.” Then I noticed something else. AP was offering pre-debate images as well. And while Bill Clinton looked dapper and adoring — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — every single shot of Melania Trump was unflattering. Of Melania Trump. Every single one. That, friends, is a statistical impossibility in nature. As likely as a bad-looking rainbow.
I was convinced. This was deliberate manipulation. The Associated Press wanted to make sure its thousands of media clients regardless of political leaning had positive images for Hillary and only negative images of Trump to deliberately shape the visual story of the final debate in her favor. This was flat out propaganda.
An Associated Press Bulletin
Since the 2020 election, the Associated Press has dropped all pretense. For example, good luck finding a story involving Trump talking about the 2020 election without the phrase “without any evidence” or “baseless.”
But to declare with a straight face that there’s no evidence of Biden influence peddling? When Biden influence peddling’s been the subject of stories from even liberal outlets for years? When the table already holds more evidence of an impeachable offense than there was for Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump combined?
WASHINGTON SEPT 12 (AP)
The Associated Press died today of a self-inflicted wound.
Al Perrotta is the managing editor of The Stream and formerly worked in the newsroom of The Voice of America.