As a female writer I often cringe at the embarrassing collection of beaming, smooth-faced young women the Guardian fields to wrap dangerous political extremisms in lipsticky identity-politics. There’s a touch of exploitation in it, intended or not. Here’s the latest example, by Lucia Graves:
The article sets out the case that Trump does not deserve unbiased press coverage. The media would love to be fair to him, of course, because fairness is their watchword – but they just can’t do it, because they have to protect their audience from his lies. Censorship is actually a sort of duty, Lucia tells us in her elementary-school prose, because Trump is “rubbish”.
His campaign is indeed a place where journalistic objectivity meets its limits, but it’s not because we’re deliberately gunning for him. There simply is no fairness in presenting both sides of a story when one side is consistently rubbish, to put it kindly, or a dumpster fire, in this cycle’s parlance. Trump changes his mind like it’s the weather and tells a lie every five minutes, going by Politico’s best count.
If we get past the awkward syntax (how often does Lucia think Trump changes the weather?), we have to admit “a lie every five minutes” is quite a lot of lies. True the article doesn’t tell us what any of those lies actually are, but Politico does (well, actually it doesn’t do that, but it does run a list of alleged “lies” Trump told over a single week, some of which may seem a bit relevant). But just in case you’re still not feeling convinced of the need for wholesale suppression of open political debate based on the fact that (shock) politicians lie, here’s a little more of Lucia’s A-grade analysis:
CNN and MSNBC have taken to putting parentheticals in their chyrons to correct erroneous claims in real time. The New York Times has started including the sweep of history in even the most straightforward news stories to demonstrate breaks from longstanding political norms.
The fact-checkers, in particular, are working overtime.
Trump’s also been keeping Politifact busy. As of late June, 95% of the site’s 158 fact-checks of Trump were rated “false” or “pants on fire”, while the same could be said for just 16% of Hillary Clinton’s 120 rated statements.
Ok, who is going to argue with a collection of data like this? Trump is 95% liar and Clinton is only 16% liar! Politifact says so! If that’s not a done deal, cast-iron, knock down argument for total censorship of Donald Trump and all he stands for I’d like to know what is.
Wait, what? Do I hear you say you want to know how they arrive at these statistics? You want to see the actual claims being made so you can evaluate them for yourself? You have heard that Politifact is not an entirely objective or neutral outfit?
No, I’m sorry, you need to get with the program. Media-bias is no longer a thing to be ashamed of, because the media is only biased against bad people. Today’s censorship is just about helping us understand things – weeding out the lies and leaving only the lovely truth for us to enjoy in nice pre-packed, easily-digested soundbites. Lucia is here to tell us our lovely cuddly Big Brother is only “fact-checking” so we don’t need to.