The NewsMax Christmas Smear
Biased and unethical reporting isn’t only the dominion of liberal-tilting news media; conservative news media are hard at work slanting the news as well. An egregious example comes from NewsMax.com, one of Matt Drudge’s favorite sources. Right before the holidays it blared out this headline
22 Congressmen Hate Christmas
The story listed the names of the alleged Christmas-hating Congressmen, too. How did NewsMax conclude that the hallowed halls of Congress included Scrooges and Grinches? The twenty-two had voted against a grandstanding resolution put forth by a GOP representative as her contribution to the Christmas culture wars. It read:
Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and
Twenty-two Democrats voted nay to this, and NewsMax decided to publically state as fact that Christmas hatred was their reason, turning a presumption into the focus of the story. This it could not do and continue to make any claims of being a fair and ethical news reporting service. It could not possibly know that the Congressmen voted against the resolution because they “hate Christmas,” because there are many far more plausible and reasonable justifications any or all of them could have for their negative vote. For example, the twenty-two could have reasonably concluded one or more of the following:
In short, the twenty-two didn’t vote against the resolution because they “hate Christmas.” They voted against it because they hated the resolution, and unlike the large numbers of other representatives who also probably hated it, they had the guts to go on record as saying so. That is ethical conduct. Misrepresenting their motivations in a misleading and sensational headline isn’t.