Forgotten Fact-Checks: Top Stories That The Woke Mainstream Media Botched And Censored In 2022

Left: Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks during his ceremonial public swearing-in in the White House in Washington, D.C., October 8, 2018. Right: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gives a speech during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Fla., July 22, 2022. (Jonathan Ernst, Octavio Jones/Reuters)

(National Review) Welcome to a special year-end edition of “Forgotten Fact-Checks,” a weekly column produced by National Review’s News Desk. This week, as 2022 comes to an end, we recap the year’s biggest media misses.

Media Ignore Kavanaugh Assassination Plot

In June, much of the media attempted to sweep a foiled assassination attempt against a sitting Supreme Court justice under the rug after a California man traveled to the Maryland home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh with the intent to murder the conservative justice.

Police detained 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske, wearing black clothes, in front of Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland, according to a criminal complaint. The man told authorities he called 911 because he was having suicidal thoughts. He told a dispatcher he had come “from California to kill a specific” Supreme Court justice, the affidavit said. Authorities found a Glock 17 handgun with two magazines and ammunition, a tactical knife, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, a screwdriver, and other gear in Roske’s backpack.

Yet just days later, the only Sunday talk show to mention the foiled assassination plot was Fox News Sunday, according to TVEyes. ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, and CNN’s State of the Union all failed to cover the murder plot at all.

On the day of the attack, the story was seemingly absent from the online homepages of ABC News and the New York Times, and the Times later buried the news on page A20 of the next day’s paper.

USA Today did not include a single story on the assassination attempt in its print edition on Thursday, and Politico Playbook also failed to mention the news.

Off-the-Mark Olympics Coverage

“Pay no attention to the human-rights violations behind the curtain” seemed to be the NBC approach to covering the Beijing Olympics at the start of the year.

While the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said at the time that the Olympics in Beijing would not be “business as usual” because “we know that a genocide has been committed there,” much of the mainstream media seemed to have missed the memo, instead choosing to give undue credibility to China’s denials of its human-rights abuses.

NBC broadcasters took a both-sides approach to reporting on Chinese human-rights abuses, casting the Uyghur genocide and other atrocities as the subject of “allegations” leveled by the U.S. rather than as well-established facts.

Savannah Guthrie reported at the time that the U.S. had undertaken a diplomatic boycott of the Games because of human rights, “in particular China’s treatment of the minority Uyghur population in the Xinjiang region,” which she said the U.S. “has come right out” and labeled a “genocide.”

Sports pundit J. A. Adande took the cake during an appearance on ESPN, however, when he claimed it was hypocritical for Americans to focus on China’s human-rights abuses during the Olympics in light of Republican “assaults on voting rights” and racial injustices in the U.S.

Media Miss the Point in Ukraine

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, a number of U.S. reporters jumped into action and offered excellent coverage of the unfolding conflict. However, some outlets and pundits unleashed embarrassing hot takes in the early days of the war.

The View co-host Joy Behar was widely panned for whining about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine had thwarted her vacation plans. “I’m scared of what’s going to happen in Western Europe too,” Behar said during a discussion on the show about what the invasion means for the rest of the world. “You know, you just plan a trip. You want to go there, want to go to Italy for four years, and I haven’t been able to make it because of the pandemic, and now this.”

Embracing Democratic talking points, CBS News used the bloody conflict as a chance to explain away rising gas prices, inflation, and supply-chain issues that had already plagued Americans for months: “The U.S. economy has been hit with increased gas prices, inflation, and supply-chain issues due to the Ukraine crisis,” CBS wrote in a tweet sharing an article that explored potential fallout from the invasion.

‘Don’t Say Gay’

In one of the strongest displays of DeSantis Derangement Syndrome, the mainstream media went hook, line, and sinker for the “don’t say gay” attacks on the Florida Parental Rights in Education law.

On Saturday Night Live, “Weekend Update” host Colin Jost explained that “the law actually means that you can’t acknowledge that gay exists at all.” A number of outlets seemed to take the satirical newsman’s description at face value.

Several ESPN broadcasters participated in an on-air moment of silence to protest the bill, which, despite the media brouhaha, only prohibits classroom instruction relating to sexual orientation or gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade.

ESPN’s Elle Duncan spoke out in March against the Florida bill and similar proposals in other states, claiming they are “targeting our LGBTQIA+ communities.”

Staffers at ESPN and Disney, ESPN’s parent company, held walkouts to protest the bill.

Disney’s then-CEO Bob Chapek called DeSantis at the time to “express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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