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Peacocking In a Hurricane, Vox Baffled By Ad Spending, and Cillizza Sees No Problem With Biden’s Problems

“Riffed from the Headlines” is Townhall’s daily VIP feature with coverage on the deeply flawed aspects of journalism in the nation. We’ll look to bring accountability to the mishaps, malaprops, misdeeds, manipulations, malpractice, and manufactured narratives in mainstream media.

The arrival of storms brings us the requisite arrival of reporters who feel the need to march out into a storm to show us the effects that every single person already accepts about a hurricane. Adding to this melodrama are those in the field who feel the need to over hype the conditions, and each storm seems to deliver for us at least one example of a reporter lying about what they are enduring.

We all recall Anderson Cooper reporting in a ditch in waist-deep water, as his cameraman is feet away standing on dry ground. There have been cases of reporters in boats as people then walk into frame through a puddle only inches deep. This time CNN gives us the proven method of a reporter getting blasted by “severe winds”, only to have a resident in the background dispel the dramatics as they calmly walk to their car, unbothered. (Bonus points for the producer giving us the shaky-cam effect to add to the gripping scene.)

Stealth Story Evolution – DAILY MAIL

Another frequently exposed ruse of late has been the tendency of news outlets to sell the concept that Donald Trump rallies are becoming sparsely-populated events. We get served images of partially-filled arenas that serve to imply Trump has a waning interest, but what we are getting are shots taken before the event and the seats are only starting to be filled. Note how they do not show Trump speaking to a half empty hockey rink, for instance.

Recently the Daily Mail attempted this with Trump’s recent rally in Ohio, where he was campaigning for JD Vance and other state candidates. After implying the place was not filled the paper became undone by the other news reports that tried to imply the audience was replicating a Hitler rally. These were the pictures some news outlets ran when Trump implored the attendees to raise a single finger in the air, so they tried to lamely suggest this was in fact a “Nazi salute”. The problem was this ruse ended up displaying a filled arena.

The Daily Mail went back and completely altered its headline, erased any commentary about the crowd size, and the reporter had their name removed from the article. None of these changes are not referenced in the newly renovated piece.

Prose & Contradiction – VOX 

In a dose of amusement brought about by obliviousness, Vox seems confused about the sharp drop in advertising spending by companies this year. The outlet that is based upon explaining things to us cannot fathom why businesses are holding on to their advertising spending. 

You know this is going to be a very forced effort at avoiding the core truth just in the sub-headline: “Four theories on why ad sales are plummeting even as the economy is doing fine.”

Then, after laying out the data showing the promotional budgets being constricted, Peter Kafka lays out some of the exact reasons behind corporate purse strings becoming double-knotted.

– Yes, inflation is up, the stock market is down, and there are plenty of dire warnings about the future.

Pete also presents another reality in one of his theories; the supply chain crisis. 

– “They’re saying, ‘We can’t get enough product on the shelf, so why spend now to increase demand when we don’t have supply?’”

Yes, it is a real mystery why companies are not advertising as much these days. Confounding occurrence, this move to save money surely is.

Gilded Reframe – CNN

As we have covered here, the press does not want to cover President Biden’s blatant public malaprops and wandering nature while on camera. None other than a favorite of ours, Chris Cillizza, displays this in a typifying manner.

With a number of examples of Biden’s mental frailty on display this week Cillizza goes the ‘Republicans pounce” route, trying to pass it off as an obsessive focus by the GOP and the conservative press. Of course, when it was Donald Trump walking down a slippery ramp after giving a speech there was cause for all of us to display concern and wonder about his future.

Both Kinds Of Standards – THE DISPATCH

One of the odder cultural news items this week was performer Lizzo giving an appearance and during her show was granted the chance to play a crystal flute once owned by James Madison. Many have expressed some concern over this, so over at The Dispatch they saw the need to cover the reactions, because of course this would present the True-Cons the chance to slander other conservatives.

In addressing the response to the D.C. concert, Nick Catoggio expectantly has to find the racial component to the reactions, as he says describes populists lamenting The Desecration Of Our Heritage in the Lizzo episode. After lengthy passages of talking about himself, Catoggio gets around to what he was eager to address – using his racial brickbat.

– To a certain type of right-winger, the spectacle of a black woman treating one of James Madison’s heirlooms as a stage prop is a deliberate racial humiliation of “conquered” whites by their nonwhite “conquerors.” Lizzo getting to play a priceless instrument owned by a slaveholder was a demonstration of racial progress, a political act in a small sense. Although if you found yourself bothered enough by that to deem it an affront or “humiliation,” you should maybe take some time and think about why.

Okay, We made it a point to get those stern racism lectures laid out for this reason: The photo chosen for this piece was not of Lizzo, but of Nzinga Imanio, a different zaftig POC female performer. I guess at The Dispatch girthy flautists all look the same.


In a guest essay Jeff Shesol makes a strong case for President Joe Biden to take action. As he sees it, Shesol believes the President has been merely bystanding, and it is high time he take action to fix something.

See, the Supreme Court is broken, and for some reason the President has not stepped up in proper fashion to do something. How, you may ask, is the SCOTUS “broken”, exactly? Well, apart from delivering decisions he does not like and preventing some of Biden’s agenda items that he does like, Shesol does not exactly explain. The closest he comes is stating that the court has been posing a more profound challenge to the American system of self-government. Preventing the President from enforcing any policy agenda on a whim, and sending Roe vs. Wade back to the states, sure do sound like moves more towards self-governance, but according to Jeff Shesol these are things that are in need of repair.

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