A month ago, The Boston Herald scooped all local and national outlets by revealing that liberal darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a Democrat running for senate in Massachusetts, had been touted by Harvard as a “Native American” and an example of its “diversity.”
Since then, the Warren campaign has scrambled from one defense to the next. First, the Warren campaign said that she was 1/32 Cherokee. But when Breitbart News reported there was absolutely no documentation or proof of Warren’s claim, the Warren campaign retreated, as did the professional genealogical society the campaign used for cover.
When Warren then insinuated that she may not have known Harvard was claiming her as a Native American, Breitbart News again debunked this notion by reporting that Warren most likely had to “self-report” her “minority” status to Harvard in a federal EEOC filing because appearance itself is not sufficient for her to be labeled a “Native American.”
In light of this information, which other old media outlets like the Boston Globe have taken credit for two weeks after Breitbart News reported on it without proper attribution, the Warren campaign floated a few other explanations. Warren, they said, may have listed herself as a Native American to meet other Native Americans, despite there being no indication she actually went to events put on by Native American groups. Warren also explained that she knew she was Native American because her mother told her so.
What the Boston Herald’s scoop did was force old media outlets like the Boston Globe to cover Warren. In addition, it also forced new media outlets like Politico, which has the sacrosanct stodginess and feigned objectivity of the old media outlets that are on life support, to cover it as well.
And it is clear they are not too happy about it.
In a Politico article this weekend that described the competition between the two Boston dailies — the feisty and conservative Herald and the Globe, which is a part of the legacy media — the Politico authors dismiss the Herald as a “tabloid” on four separate occasions.
To be fair, the authors quoted a fair number of conservatives expressing their outrage at the liberal Globe’s lack of coverage of the Warren issue. But dismissing the Herald as just a tabloid reveals Politico’s bias — that only those who have the seal of approval from the legacy media are somehow allowed in the club of “proper” journalists, whatever that is nowadays.
To Politico, the Globe is a part of that oh-so-esteemed club even though, in the weeks after the Herald story broke, the paper falsely reported that Warren had documentation which showed she had Cherokee blood, then subsequently buried its correction in the back pages of the print edition. The Globe allowed new media outlets like Breitbart News to scoop their local reporters in revealing documents Harvard had submitted to the federal government indicating Warren was a Native American, a scoop the Globe would shamelessly claim as their own two weeks later.
The Globe’s reporting on the Warren case would be insulting even to “tabloids.”
What legacy institutions and new outlets which have the legacy mentality often try to do is dismiss the journalism done by those outside of their club in an era in which tabloids like the National Enquirer can break scoops on John Edwards and become a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Such a mentality is the reason why these institutions are losing revenue and why their readers and are on life support.
Old media institutions think they have a monopoly on good journalism and the truth. And they continue in a misguided belief that they can control what is and what is not news in the new media age. The reporting of Elizabeth Warren’s supposed Native American ancestry again proves mainstream media outlets do not have a monopoly and cannot control what passes as newsworthy.