How To Leave A Mistaken Impression, In One Easy Lesson

Subtitled: How To Jump To Conclusions Without Really Trying.

Screencap from Fox Nation:

CNN-NationalAnthem-FoxNation

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Screencap from Truth Revolt:

CNN-NationalAnthem-TruthRevolt

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Screencap from Weasel Zippers:

CNN-NationalAnthem-WeaselZippers

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Free Republic screen cap:

CNN-NationalAnthem-FreeRepublic

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What impression might the casual reader be left with? Why, those America-hating knuckleheads at CNN are now issuing “trigger warnings” for the National Anthem! Cue the Outrage Machine!

But not so fast.

Here’s the original Daily Caller article (at least I’m reasonably sure it is–all of these screen caps were done today, 11/15/14). There’s a bit of useful information (which I have highlighted in yellow) which is imparted starting with the seventh paragraph–which, for some reason, the aggregators above did not see fit to include:

CNN-NationalAnthem-DailyCaller

What’s that again?

In case you missed it:

The warning was the result of a mistake by an employee, a CNN spokesman told The Daily Caller. It stemmed from the employee’s unfortunate interpretation of a company policy which, respectfully, only allows “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be played in its glorious entirety.

Thus, the warning wasn’t about the substance of the national anthem. It was about the fact that the video contained only part of the song.

“The graphic was included in error and has been removed,” the CNN spokesman said. “The video remains on the site.”

One might suspect that the author, since he is apparently being sarcastic when he says “in its glorious entirety,” isn’t buying CNN’s explanation. If that’s not the purpose of the sarcasm, then that raises the question of why use sarcasm at all, in that context.

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An interesting side note:

Did somebody change the the title of this article? The URL http://www.westernjournalism.com/cnn-sends-pretty-unpatriotic-message-viewers/ suggests that the original title was “CNN Sends Pretty Unpatriotic Message [To?] Viewers.” Now the title has been changed to “CNN Sends A Bizarre “Warning” To Viewers That They Are Now Claiming Was An Accident.”

“They are now claiming was an accident”? More skepticism, apparently.

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There are a few interesting questions in all this:

Why did some aggregators see fit to excerpt the Daily Caller article without giving any indication that CNN had chalked it up to a single employee’s screw-up?

Why did the Daily Caller wait until the seventh paragraph of their article to give any indication that it was presumably an honest mistake by a single CNN employee?

Why, in the course of belatedly communicating CNN’s explanation, did the author employ sarcasm apparently designed to communicate to readers that he wasn’t buying CNN’s explanation?

Space limitations aside, why weren’t there more headlines (and/or ledes) along the lines of, “CNN employee screws up, network runs National Anthem warning”?

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And there are a few lessons for me to learn here, as well, having to do with not going off half-cocked about as it were “too damning to be false” stories that, when incompletely or lazily read, serve as confirmation bias regarding the apparently worst tendencies of those I view as politically hostile (and, in the case of some media–and not just mainstream media, at that–outright dishonest).

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