Bob Ehrlich: After Years of Mainstream Media Misreporting, Babylon Bee Has Three Perfect Words to Sum It Up


The satirical Babylon Bee (presently a target of cancel culture) has recently posited a new rating for the fact-checking site, Snopes: “False for Now.”

According to The Bee, this will allow allegations from any right-winger to be labeled “conspiracy theories”… until they are proven accurate in the future. The new category was created to honor (really dishonor) the media’s sudden recognition of the real possibility that a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the cause of the COVID-19 outbreak.

That the Donald Trump-hating media was so willing to minimize the story for so long speaks to its relevance. Indeed, anyone who dared to step forward in support of such a possibility (and who thereby gave credence to the president’s opinion) was summarily torched by Democrats in Congress, their media sponsors and Big Tech.

All understood no tidbit of objective news would be allowed to counter the “Trump is a lying xenophobe” narrative.

But six months after the election, the lab leak storyline is back — now reluctantly granted as perhaps legit by the mainstream media in view of newly released emails (via a Freedom of Information Act request) from and to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Even The Washington Post has corrected a 15-month-old post that claimed the lab leak story had been “debunked.”

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And so all the old spitballs sent Mr. Trump’s way are now suddenly forgotten, deposited down the memory hole of narratives generated and disbursed in order to end the Trump presidency.

In other words, the media’s response after years of narrative-driven misreporting: crickets.

Other Trump-era stories that were initially represented as Trump fiction but have been proven all too real are also worth noting.

Recall the originally dismissed-as-fantasy allegation that the Obama Administration was “spying” on the Trump campaign. The charge was part of Trump’s stump speech for a long time, despite over-the-top derision from the Washington, D.C., establishment.

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Then came news of a fraudulent dossier (partially paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign) chock-full of Russian disinformation that was repeatedly used as legal precedent and justification for government surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

And the media’s response after years of narrative-driven misreporting: crickets.

And then there was the dominant narrative of the Trump years: “Russia … Russia … Russia” wherein commentators employed by America’s cable news networks spent on-air time speculating about the possibility that the president of the United States was a Russian operative. We may never know how many man-hours (Can you still say that?) went into generating the phoniest storyline since Rosie Ruiz “won” the Boston Marathon.

We can, however, quantify what the hoax cost the American taxpayer: $35 million is the reported figure. But the collateral damage is more difficult to measure. There was the reputational damage inflicted on esteemed Washington icon Robert Mueller — and the wasted time and energy of Congress directed toward nothing other than political theater — and the resulting increased cynicism within a flyover America already wary about Washington power plays.

And the media’s response after years of narrative-driven misreporting: crickets.

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Less known but equally on point were the nativist/anti-Asian allegations directed at Trump as his administration closed a major Chinese consulate in Houston. Here was yet another opportunity for the media to castigate Mr. Trump as a racist, hell-bent on blaming the Chinese for the worldwide pandemic.

But newly uncovered evidence now supports the president’s decision. Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Energy Technology recently concluded that the Houston hub was indeed the focus for Beijing’s science and technology (“S&T”) collection efforts.

During the Trump era, the Houston post in fact handled more projects than any other Chinese consulate in the world. The bottom line: The U.S. was the primary venue for projects being targeted by China’s S&T diplomats. Herein is one additional chapter in China’s long campaign to steal America’s intellectual property.

And, the media’s response after years of narrative-driven misreporting: crickets.

I had completed this column before the Interior Department’s Inspector General corrected yet another legacy media false report on our former president. It now appears Mr. Trump neither ordered the Park Police to use tear gas nor clear the area in front of St. John’s Church during a June 1, 2020 protest. Note: Then-candidate Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris had both tweeted about the tear gas “order.”

And, again, the media’s response after years of narrative-driven misreporting: crickets.

When it comes to “False for Now” stories, ultimately proven true, the mainstream media is sure good at crickets.

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former U.S. congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.