The team that was faced with narrowing down this list of cringe worthy media moments must have had a time making the final cuts, with the abundance of material they surely had to work with this year. Grabien has compiled the most mortifying media moment from each month of the past year — everything from the Covington Catholic faux scandal, to Mueller’s enormous dud of a report — documenting a year of crazy agenda driven media fails unmatched in the modern era.
Over the last 12 months, many of the biggest stories America’s major media broadcast turned out to be … flat wrong. And unfortunately, these networks’ enthusiasm for their reporting dissipated when it came time to correct the record.
The hoaxes came in all different forms — fake hate crimes, foreign collusion, debunked dossiers — but that isn’t to say they had nothing in common. These stories all helped advance a narrative that just so happened to be shared by the news outlets themselves.
But as you’ll see from the items below, not everything was serious; many of these stories — like the collective freakout about an obscure Trump meme — were complete jokes.
This year we’re organizing things differently, going in chronological order, with a “most mortifying media moment” from each month of the year. Enjoy!
January: Media Push Hoax that Catholic Students Tormented Native American
Almost as soon as 2019 began, the media did exactly what it’s not supposed to do: Jumped on a viral story without first checking the facts. And in so doing, helped destroy the reputations of innocent teenagers who had been on a school trip to D.C. to attend the annual March for Life.
As new information came out, and it was clear the original narrative was no longer supportable, the media began walking back its original reporting. But it was too late. The anger against these students — who were being accused of harassing and taunting a Native American man — had already boiled over. Their school has since been canceled over security concerns. Worse, many reporters and commentators said that even if the Covington students didn’t actually do anything wrong, going after them is still right.
February: Media Help Jussie Smollett Amplify Fake Hate Crime
The media’s unfortunate habit of stepping on rakes shaped like fake hate crimes continued apace into February. When TMZ first reported that actor Jussie Smollett was the victim of a vicious hate crime, it sounded almost impossible to believe.
Upon leaving a Chicago Subway sandwich shop circa 2 AM one sub-zero night in late January, two masked men recognized him as the openly gay black actor starring in Fox’s ‘Empire,’ hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him to the point of breaking his ribs, doused him with bleach, tied a noose around his neck, before pronouncing “This is MAGA Country!” and fleeing.
Making such astonishing claims, the national media owed it to their viewers to give this story the circumspect coverage responsible journalism demands.