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The Art of the Quiet Correction

Photo by Jason Mendez/Invision/AP

A lie used to get halfway around the world before the truth could get its pants on, but in the age of the internet, it can fly around the world twice, bounce off the ISS, be a topic at the watercooler by lunch.

Thing is, nowadays, the truth can be just as fast but it wouldn’t matter. The people with the largest platforms refuse to tell it…at least for a time.

Journalistic integrity is pretty much dead and has been buried in the ground for so long that it’s turning into oil, but today’s mainstream media wants you to think it’s still alive. It’s why they tell you that they don’t take sides and that they’re the most trusted name in news. In order to sell this idea, they have to do things that give off the illusion that they’re honorable people doing the honorable thing.

For instance, they have a little tactic I like to call the “delayed quiet correction.” It’s pretty simple, but let me tell you how it works.

Let’s say some photos come out of white agents from a government agency whipping people of color. Twitter blue checks on the left go absolutely bananas and it’s swiftly picked up by network talking heads who begin sounding the alarm about all the violent racism inherent in the system. Democrats appear on these shows as shake their heads at the state of this country and vow to do what’s necessary to bring the offenders to justice and change the system for the better.

As they do this, social media users are inundated with these Democrats and talking heads commenting on the matter, their short, easy to imbibe quotes paired with the most damning of pictures. Soon, it’s a trending story with Americans everyone convinced that maybe the left’s been right all along and we truly are a systematically racist country that hasn’t outgrown the old issues that used to plague it.

“Border patrol agents whip migrants of color” is now stuck in the minds of Americans everywhere and Democrats feed off this to make their promises to make things better all the more potent.

But they were all of them deceived, for this was the one story forged in the shadows. The truth was more or less exposed at the same time. The border patrol agents weren’t whipping immigrants. What the press was claiming were whips were being identified as the reins of the horses the agents were mounted on. Different angles of the events showed that the agents were doing their job to the letter, and there was no violence on their behalf with the exception of the force they were using in order to stop migrants from escaping.

The media saw these photos. They saw the tweets explaining the situation. They didn’t care.

They went full steam ahead under the knowledge that they were likely very mistaken about what they were reporting. It was very, very apparent that their commentary was probably off by a mile. They knew that but the important thing wasn’t the truth, it was the narrative. They wanted the narrative to be louder than the real story because then they can saturate the world’s mind with a first impression, and as you’ve likely heard ad nauseum, first impressions are everything.

But at some point, the media will have to walk their misreporting back. They can’t look like the bad guys by keeping an obvious lie going, not without an entire orchestrated campaign with other media outlets. So they do what journalists with integrity do and issue a retraction.

But the mea culpa isn’t announced very loudly. It won’t be announced on television that they made a mistake. They won’t play clips of their anchors explaining why they goofed so bad. What they’ll do is add their retraction or correction in italics at the top of the article which, by this time, has already begun to decrease in traffic.

Conservative sites discuss the retraction in their articles, but mainstream news sites work very hard to discredit them. In fact, they’d rather get any kind of information dissemination under some form of control, usually, by banning platforms their ideological allies can’t control. The truth is, if it wasn’t for sites like RedState, Daily Wire, and of course Fox News, then these retractions might not even be necessary. They may very well just allow the lie to persist.

In any case, we don’t have to pretend this is a hypothetical scenario. It just happened. It happened just this last weekend, in fact.

(READ: NY Times Quietly Corrects Story on CBP Agents ‘Striking’ Haitian Migrants as Narrative Falls Apart)

The corporate media doesn’t make mistakes this egregious. They do it on purpose. As it stands, the media IS the mistake.