Gungate: Always Press “Record” When Talking to the Media

Courva

Yet another legacy media talking head has been caught up in a scandal

Katie “Courva” Couric, who was once America’s little ray of sunshine on the Today show before becoming a high paid but low rated anchor on CBS, has admitted to falsifying an interview she had with gun owners so they would look stumped by her questions. The interviews were conducted for her documentary Under the Gun, an attack on the Second Amendment that reportedly was supported by Dr. Evil/George Soros and soda and salt tax nutcase Michael Bloomberg. The film, in typical lying media fashion, poses under the guise of documentary journalism, but in reality it’s just another gun control hit piece.

Falsifying and selectively editing information is hardly without precedent in the media. A joke among insiders is never let the facts get in the way of a good story. A cursory look at a few high profile cases when major talking heads and naughty newspaper reporters disgraced themselves shows dishonesty is far from unusual.

  • Lyin’ Brian Williams: Removed from the anchor chair at NBC for “misremembering” facts related to his reporting in the Iraq War, only after soldiers called him out on his lies using the power of the internet. Somehow, he is still employed at the network which says a lot about how much the Peacock network values integrity and honesty.
  • Dan Rather: Contract with CBS was not renewed after an incident in which fabricated documents about George W. Bush’s military record became an issue, once again, exposed by the internet.
  • Katie Couric: Currently caught up in Gungate, thanks to the internet.
  • Judith Miller: Disgraced New York Times reporter whose stories selling the weapons of mass destruction narrative in Iraq were revealed to have “poor factual value.” She was fired in 2005 only after the truth about WMD’s came to light, a truth that was magnified by endless internet discussion.
  • Jack Kelley: USA Today reporter, who much like Lyin’ Brian, always seemed to find himself in the middle of amazing events. Kelley falsified interviews, plagiarized stories, and was dismissed in 2004. Crucially, this was right at the time the internet began holding big journalism accountable. Kelley had worked 20 years with the newspaper.
  • Peter Arnett: Fired CNN journalist who falsified stories about military defectors being poisoned by gas during a 1970 raid in Laos. The story was disputed by hundreds of Vietnam veterans.
  • Lara Logan: Disgraced CBS journalist caught up in false reporting, this time on the Benghazi attack. Logan was removed from her 60 Minutes position after the controversy.

While discussing the perception the media have of being dishonest with beacon of truth Rosie O’Donnell on More Snotty Nonsense By Chicks (MSNBC), Dan Rather talks about how the industry has lost its vision of what the function of journalism is supposed to be.

What’s happened to those of us in journalism, and I include myself in this criticism, is that in many ways we’ve lost our guts, we’ve lost our spine. We’ve lost the vision of what a journalist in a society such as ours should be and can be. Journalism at it’s best counts, it matters.

I’d argue that based on my decade of experience working in the industry, the psychopaths in the media never had a lofty vision or ideal beyond their own fame, glory, and fortune. They’ve only been caught up in their game by repeated exposures of their pathological lying on the internet. Rather all but admitted the journalism game is really more about “show me the money” than anything else.

Those of us in the press and media have a lot to answer for as the president outlined in his talk last night in Washington, but I’d come back to the point that news is no longer seen by the people who own the major news outlets as something in the public trust, for the public service, it’s all about money.

It goes beyond television talking heads as the bulleted list above shows, as newspapers are dishonest, too. As reported by Rense, the high-brow, legend in its own mind New York Times has also falsified information. When a middle of the coup night ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, it somehow got twisted into this account by the “paper of record.”

  • The New York Times piece stated Aristide resigned.
  • It said sending in Marines to abduct him “was the right thing to do.”
  • It claimed Marines only came after “Mr. Aristide yielded power.”
  • The paper blamed him for contributing “significantly to his own downfall [because of his] increasingly autocratic and lawless rule.”
  • It accused him of manipulating the 2000 legislative elections and not “delivering the democracy he promised.”

All these claims turned out to be exaggerated or false. Moreover, vague claims like Aristide not delivering the democracy he promised is a charge that could be leveled on any modern American political candidate, as can the charges of autocratic rule. American politicians either flat out do not listen to the people or ignore their wishes when they pass laws, but it’s doubtable the New York Times would defend a coup of the American government using the same talking points with which it defended a coup of the Haitian government.

The Academy-Award winning film Network illustrated the insanity of believing the media 40 years ago, in which the character Howard Beale delivered this damningly accurate indictment:

So, you listen to me. Listen to me! Television is not the truth. Television’s a god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business. So if you want the Truth, go to God! Go to your gurus. Go to yourselves! Because that’s the only place you’re ever gonna find any real truth. But, man, you’re never gonna get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you wanna hear. We lie like hell.

All of the above examples of the news industry lying like hell and deceiving are symptoms. Here’s the cause: Television news is an empire built on sensationalism and newspapers are scandal sheets, both fading relics of the era of centralized communication. Here’s how you can protect yourself from the dishonesty of both sides of the Big Journalism coin, caused by the talking heads’ need to feed the monster they have created.

Cameraphone

Always keep a video record of any interaction you have with a talking head

Keep a Record

Realize, when you are dealing with someone who works in the media, you are dealing with a propagandist, nothing more. The way stories will be written is often determined at news planning meetings before the journalist is sent out to twist reality. I sat in many a morning news meeting in which the News Director told reporters how he wanted the story shot, what questions to ask, what video to come back with, and who to talk to. This approach is not journalism, it is effectively a low-budget scripted movie. Any time you are on the hot seat, reporters will be looking for figurative blood instead of objectivity.

Couric first dismissed the charges of dishonesty until unedited video of the interview forced her to change her tune. Greg Gutfeld of Faux News helps explain why keeping a video record of all exchanges with a journalist is so important:

If the incident hadn’t been secretly taped, you think she would have copped to it? You’ve got to wonder how many other segments by Couric, Brian Williams, Jon Stewart or others would have been more fair if they knew someone was holding them accountable. So before any interview with the media remember to always press ‘Record.’ Not only do you protect yourself and the truth, you also keep people like Katie honest. Because someone has to.

For once, Faux News has a point. Take this advice to the bank. As I have explained in previous writings from my own experience in the media, journalists are some of the most duplicitous people you will ever meet. Do not accept any promises they make at face value, and always watch your back in dealings with them. Gloryhound reporters would sell their own mother for a scoop, so do not think for a minute integrity matters, especially if they think they can score points by throwing you under the bus.

The media care about “emotional engagement” (i.e. manufacturing rage, anger, disgust, etc.) more than concepts of honesty and integrity. They’ll say anything they think they can get away with, and sell anybody out to get eyeballs on the screen. Scroll through your Facebook news feed or turn on the TV to see this truth in action any day, every day.

Flat out refuse to do the interview if the interviewer does not want you to have a video record of the exchange. A video record forced Katie Couric to admit she had deceptively edited an interview as a way of attacking gun owners. A video record of your interview with a talking head may similarly force a confession about any potential hit piece they do about you. The legacy media no longer controls the narrative while we have free speech on the internet. Their lies can now be exposed.

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2 comments

  • Relampago, you have experience in the media field so perhaps you know. Do you have to inform someone who is interviewing you that you are recording the conversation on your phone? My thought is a controversial person could have sting operations on journalists by recording their interviews and then exposing them if the journalist edits it like in your example.

    I think our society would calm down immensely if everyone stopped watching the news so damn much. Like you said, nowadays all they do is manufacture outrage. Drop them like you would drop any other addiction and begin the healing process. I am a very mellow dude and I maintain my great mood by avoiding news outlets and Facebook garbage.

    Finally, Katie Couric in that top pic looks like she’s possessed by a demon and about to eat your flesh off. What a truly unflattering picture.

    Like

    • Relampago Furioso

      Typically, one must inform the other party for the recording to be admissible in court. However, thanks to the internet it is easier than ever to post video from sting operations online, i.e. when pushing back against big journalism. I’m not really sure about the legality of it, however I will say if the recording becomes a big enough sensation any question of legality quickly gets dismissed. If one is going up against a powerful talking head, checking with an attorney before doing anything would be advised. When I worked in the industry, corporate attorneys were frequently consulted on matters such as this.

      In the Katie Couric case above, the video was secretly recorded and she was not informed, yet it turned out to be an extremely powerful piece of evidence that forced her to admit her wrongdoing.

      I totally agree that people need to get away from the television and any sort of news more often. There are other things to do with your life than constantly getting steamed up over matters you have no power over.

      Like

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