The Corner

PC Culture

From the BuzzFeed Psychodrama to the Covington Video Melodrama

In the current polarized climate concerning the shutdown, Trump, the media, etc., it would be wise for everyone to take a deep breath and wait at least 24 hours before snap editorializing, in response to the latest sensational morality tale flashing across electronic media.

In the present climate, one video (or even three or four videos from different angles and elevations) is not necessarily worth a thousand words.

Similarly, co-authored sensational scoops might not be so sensational if the old anonymous “sources say” modus operandi has no verifiable supporting documentary evidence as alleged — and if, at the outset, the co-authors cannot substantiate their story, and especially if they also cannot substantiate it later when challenged by the special counsel. (NB: In both the Michael Cohen and Covington stories, BuzzFeed ran with stories that were not substantiated but that did reflect its own predictable agendas).

I doubt we will know exactly what happened at the Washington, D.C., march until more eye-witnesses, videos, interviews, etc. are all collated (other than the fact that different groups were shouting different things, sometimes at each other). But the result will probably be a lot more complicated than the initial narrative of “white spoiled MAGA Catholic youth approached, surrounded, and taunted noble Native American elder,” a narrative that has induced an epidemic of virtue-signaling.

Trump’s freewheeling past should not lend automatic credibility to the latest media charge against him (which, a nanosecond after hitting the media, was followed by demands for his impeachment).

So, too, that a co-author of the BuzzFeed piece, Jason Leopold, had been a confessed felon, had been fired or repudiated by various news venues for alleged unprofessional conduct, and had been an admitted prevaricator did not ipso facto mean that his latest “scoop” had to be immediately written off as false. Just a few hours of gestation would make that clear enough.

In all these cases, why not allow a little time, even if only a few hours, to be the arbitrator of veracity rather than shoot from the hip moral outrage?

Otherwise, day after day after day, we are just updating The Ox-Bow Incident for the Internet age.


NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More

Max Boot’s Dishonesty

Before yesterday, my primary criticism of the Washington Post’s Max Boot was political in nature. As I wrote in a recent book review, I found it regrettable that Boot’s opposition to the president had not prevented him from “succumbing reactively to Trump’s cult of personality, or from making Trump the ... Read More

A Brief History of Election Meddling

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the second in a series of excerpts. ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Thus spoke President Barack Obama just a couple of weeks before ... Read More

The End of Hong Kong as We Know It

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than four months now, and no matter how the current crisis concludes in the coming days or weeks, it will mark the end of Hong Kong as we know it. The protests started in response to an extradition bill that was proposed by the city’s Beijing-backed ... Read More