Accuracy in Media

In a new piece, Vice has taken comments from a Republican candidate about one thing and pretended that they apply to another thing. Thereby making possibly true, possibly controversial, comments look absurd.

This is not something that a media outlet hoping to inform would do – it is something one aiming to misinform would.

The headline captures the thrust of the piece — they make it plain right from the start: “GOP Candidate Said Elites Drink Blood, Sell ‘Baby Body Parts’ After Abortion.”

That’s not actually what was said.

“Kristina Karamo, the Trump-backed GOP candidate for Michigan secretary of state, once expressed support in 2020 for one of QAnon’s most outlandish conspiracies: that elites drink the blood of children and ‘sell baby body parts’ after abortions,” the piece claims.

What was actually said was this:

“‘If you go to the Satanic temple website, they have an entire five-minute video explaining why abortion is a religious ritual,’ Karamo said in the 2020 interview, which also featured Rudy Giuliani associate Melissa Carone. ‘They literally say that it is a sacrifice, it is a religious ritual for them to have an abortion, it is sick. And as you mentioned, the baby body parts… they sell the organs. There’s a ton of money involved in freshly harvested organs. There’s so much evidence out there.’”

The Satanic Temple does indeed say that. That they’re somewhere between a complex joke and a fringe groupuscule doesn’t change that they do in fact say that. The body parts and abortion thing though, that’s not QAnon. That’s Project Veritas and their sting on Planned Parenthood – fetal tissue is indeed sent on and money changes hands as a result.

“This is one of QAnon’s most extreme beliefs, that members of the global elite traffic children in order to harvest a chemical from their blood that they use to live longer,” the piece continues.

QAnon may believe that but from the above we can see that that’s not what Karamo said; it’s not what she meant, and there has to be a significant amount of twisting to make it even seem that that’s the implication of it.

That is, Karamo wasn’t referring to QAnon at all. Vice has entirely made up the connection between the two.

So, why has Vice done this? We can’t see into their hearts but our assumption is because Karamo is GOP and this is election season. We can’t really think of any other reason for such an abandonment of basic journalistic practices. Even in today’s work, in today’s journalism making stuff up is still rather frowned upon – except, perhaps, over politics.

Vie ranks No. 79 in the listings of U.S. news and media outlets. It gains some 31 million visits a month from that position. It’s also rather more than that, the magazine’s distribution is some 900,000 copies, the TV channel reaches 60 million American homes on cable.

This is not reporting, it is not journalism. It is the deliberate creation of misinformation, of disinformation. Karamo isn’t referring to Qanon, rather to other and much better-documented activities. To claim that she is repeating those QAnon claims is to create, for political reasons, something that isn’t there. A lie for political reasons – which isn’t journalism now, is it? Or even, if that is modern journalism then we’ve some stables to clean.




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