Ever since Donald Trump took office, a term has been floating around the mainstream media to describe how the President presents his arguments: “without evidence.” It seems as though whenever the President makes an assertion, the media is quick to point out how there is no actual evidence to support his claims. The most notable events that received this disclaimer were the reports surrounding the two elections involving him. In 2016, Trump issued an unsubstantiated claim that he had actually won the popular vote despite not having any factual basis for making such a statement. He then took it a step further this year when he made claims about rampant voter fraud across the nation (but of course only in the states he lost).
It is absolutely true that Donald Trump has made a lot of unsubstantiated claims over the course of his presidency and candidacy, and the media certainly has the right - and the duty - to call him out on it. However, it seems to run only one way. Only politicians on one side of the aisle are reported as having made claims “without evidence.” The most prominent of these politicians was Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) who, for the better part of two years, claimed he had direct knowledge of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Yet, if you search CNN for the terms “Adam Schiff” and “without evidence,” all you will come up with was President Trump’s claim that Schiff helped write the whistleblower complaint that led to the President’s eventual impeachment. Not once was Schiff’s assertions corroborated with a shred of evidence, but that was likewise never called out by the people who are supposed to bring us impartial news.
We went through this with Brett Kavanaugh, where a myriad of unsubstantiated claims was levied against the soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice. The media reported none of the claims brought by sitting United States Senators as “without evidence,” despite there being no actual evidence of anything ever happening. However, when it came to former staffer Tara Reade’s claims against Joe Biden, you can bet your boots that NBC and NPR reported the claims as – you guessed it – without evidence.
But that’s not all. During the coverage of several police-involved deaths and shootings this year – including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Jacob Blake – has there ever been an ounce of evidence that police carried out their actions due to racist motivations? Have any of the police officers been shown to exhibit racist behaviors? Did any of the cases surrounding the violence not warrant police intervention? Taylor was involved in a drug ring, and the police had a warrant to search the apartment. Blake was violating a restraining order against a woman he had repeatedly molested. Police were called to Floyd after he was accused of using counterfeit money. Hence, the police presence was warranted in all the cases. Did they deserve what they got? I would argue that Blake did, but not the others. However, that does not mean that police are going out of their way to search out and kill black people. That didn’t stop prominent voices such as NBA star LeBron James from making moronic statements such as, “We’re literally hunted every day.” No, black people are not literally hunted every day. They’re not even figuratively hunted every day. But claims like that, despite the fact that they have no evidence to back them up, are never reported as “without evidence.”
It seems that evidence is only required by one side of the political aisle. If a Liberal makes a claim, we need to believe it without questioning it – without waiting for evidence. If it’s against a Conservative or a Republican, it’s obviously true. However, if a claim is levied against a Liberal or a Democrat, we have to be absolutely certain that the claim has proof to back it up, otherwise we must make sure to use the term “without evidence” whenever discussing the issue.
The scary part of this is now that we will have a new president, the media will no longer care about claims made without evidence. This is the same media that continues to support the notion that the Obama presidency was scandal-free. I’ll be honest with you; during the Obama presidency, we didn’t really hear many scandals come out. I know there are Conservatives out there who will shout about the Fast and Furious scandal, the IRS targeting of conservative organizations, the Benghazi disaster, the seizing of executive power to pass DACA, and that Obama did more to silence news agencies than any president before him, but let’s just ignore those like the media has done, and agree that it was scandal-free.
So the question remains: Why do you think that is? Why do you think that there was no bomb-dropping during the Obama Era that would have risen to a national outcry? Do you think that’s because President Obama was a deeply moral man who never did anything wrong? Or is it because the press refused to do any in-depth coverage of the Obama administration lest they tarnish the reputation of their hero? I know the answer. And what’s more: I have evidence.
The answer, of course, is that the press refused to cover Obama with the same scrutiny they have with President Trump. The evidence lies in the story regarding children in cages at the border. These cages were by-and-large built by the Obama Administration, and had been used for years before Trump took office - yet we never heard about it. Either no news organization cared enough to look into it, or no news organization wanted to report on it after finding out. And I refuse to believe that this was the only incident.
But this is what we are going back to when President Trump leaves office. We can expect more stories like this to slip through the cracks, either purposefully or blindly. Of course, Conservative media is trying to fight back. Reports are coming out that many Conservative outlets are readying to fortify their investigative journalism teams. That’s good. Back in 2016, after President Trump was elected, you saw a refortification of Liberal media in how they covered the president and how they disseminated news. The press pool of the president was larger, and established media began podcasts that targeted younger generations of voters. Now we are seeing the flip side of it, where those on the right see a gap in reporting and reach, so they are trying to fill it.
However, we have already seen what happens if an investigation uncovered by a Conservative outlet comes to light. The Hunter Biden scandal was uncovered by the New York Post, and there was an immediate attempt to quash the story. Twitter wouldn’t allow it to be shared and even suspended the Post’s account for sharing information that was obtained illegally, a policy they refused to apply to the Trump tax return story. Other social media companies flagged the story as unsubstantiated. Mainstream media just ignored it completely, and this is what we can expect over the next four years of a Biden Administration when it comes to the media. No investigative stories putting the Biden Administration in a bad light will come out of established media like The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, or any other Liberal outlet. And when the stories come from FOX, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, or the Daily Wire, they will be widely ignored by everyone else. This will result in half of the country finding out about scandals and the other half remaining in the dark, and will allow voters in four years to once again believe that a Democratic president was scandal-free in office – without evidence.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.