What Media Does: Examining a Narrative Construct
The ongoing attempts by the mainstream media to downplay the significance of their failure to fully vet Barack Obama in 2008 is a case study in media bias. The latest installment of Manufacturing A Narrative involves Soledad O'Brien bringing on Dorothy Brown as a guest on her show. The subject? "Explaining Critical Race Theory."
Before we dive into how the media is trying to create a narrative - in this case, "Breitbart.com Editor-in-Chief Joel Pollak was wrong about Critical Race Theory" - let's revisit a phenomenon I call "The Left's Ideological Iron Curtain."
The “mainstream” media, academia, government institutions… The Left has been entrenching itself there for decades so that when needed, they can make the most ridiculous accusations / assertions and have the backing of “the establishment."
You've seen this before. When the left wants to make one of their "facts" seem like conventional wisdom, they will bring in "experts" from academia and "progressive" think tanks - who always claim to be non-partisan - to reinforce whatever nonsense the left is trying to pull over on the American public.
This is precisely what Soledad O'Brien tried to do by bringing Dorothy Brown to her show to get the "facts" on Critical Race Theory. As you'll see, these "facts" are really just the narrative they want to promote.
Again, the narrative is "Joel Pollak was wrong." O'Brien sets it up, in a tone that can only be described as contemptuous, with a replay of the interview with Pollak. She then turns to her guest, who O'Brien states "wrote the book" on Critical Race Theory, Dorothy Brown. You see, CNN viewers, Ms. O'Brien is going to set the record straight. She's got an expert on her program! Ms. Brown would never lie to us!
I'll paraphrase the exchange:
O'Brien: "Dorothy, Joel Pollak said Critical Race Theory is about White Supremacy. How wrong is he? I mean really. He's wrong, right? Right?"
Brown: "Critical Race Theory is about examining race and the law. There's no hidden conspiracy theory in it. Har! Har! Pollak is crazy, Soledad."
O'Brien: "I know, right? We were all laughing here about it. He said it was all about white supremacy! You teach classes on this. You wrote a book about it. Is it about White supremacy?"
Brown: "No, it's nothing about white supremacy. When I hear white supremacy, I think KKK. Duh!"
And that's how the narrative is built. Media leftist makes a claim and academics back up the claim. Except there's one slight problem. Apparently, Soledad O'Brien has either never read Brown's book or just facilitated a bald-faced lie. In her book, "Fighting Racism In The Twenty-First Century," Brown says this:
Although CRT does not employ a single methodology, it seeks to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective, but designed to support White supremacy and the subordination of people of color.
Or, if you've been paying attention, pretty much exactly what Joel Pollak said CRT is about.
If O'Brien had read the book and allowed the author of the book to contradict her own book, this is a case of gross media bias. They're lying to promote a narrative. Some may choose to call it "misleading" people; I prefer to call it a "lie." If O'Brien didn't read the book, then she is clearly guilty of being grossly misinformed, and her smugness during the Pollack interview and this subsequent segment is, to put it nicely, unwarranted. You'd think that after being exposed as an unprepared interviewer last week, she would have made sure to have all the bases covered, at the very least. I'm going to give O'Brien the benefit of the doubt. I don't think she's stupid. I think she knows Brown was lying.
Now that the stage has been set, other denizens of the Democrat Media Complex will amplify the new narrative. People like Mediaite's Tommy Christopher are taking Brown's lie and using it as a springboard to play defense against the entire case Breitbart.com started by releasing the tape.
In the hilariously titled post, "Soledad O'Brien Gives Breitbart.com Readers A Lesson In Critical Race Theory," Christopher takes the role of cheerleader and declares that Breitbart.com readers have been schooled. He goes further and highlights Brown's statement that she, the person who just lied to CNN's viewers, has never seen any evidence of Bell's influence in Obama's writings or what he's done in office.
Asked if she sees any of CRT’s influence in President Obama, Prof. Brown responded, “No. I see no footprints. I see no vapors. I see none of Critical Race Theory in President Obama, either in his writings, or what he’s actually done in office. I am dumb struck by that statement.”
See how that works? Christopher has taken the "media hack makes claim, expert backs up claim" technique and used it to "discredit" all of what Breitbart.com has been doing for the last week. He might have just written, "Nothing to see here! Please disperse!" and not wasted Mediaite readers' time.
If Christopher or Brown were to read Breitbart.com, both of them would have seen "vapors" or "footprints" of Bell's theory in Obama's thoughts in the article I wrote a couple of days ago. Or they could have taken a look at the former DOJ lawyer who has been blowing the whistle about the racially-oriented decisions at the Department of Justice. The new light being shed on Obama and Bell's relationship is providing context all over the place. It's odd that neither Brown nor Christopher seem intellectually curious enough to look beyond the surface. They usually love nuance and context.
Almost makes you think there's an agenda, no?
Of course there's an agenda here. The Democrat-Media Complex is in full damage control. It is clear that the Obama/Bell relationship was downplayed in 2008, and now they're scrambling to keep the facade from crumbling down. Now, on top of protecting Obama, they are scurrying about trying to save their own credibility. They've gone back to their old tactics. But, to paraphrase Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October:
"We know their tactics. We have the advantage."
They're relying on the belief that no one will call them out on it. Oops.