Journalism's shocking dive into the partisan Washington swamp is something that is singular to the capital and not community or local journalism, Democratic presidential nominee hopeful Tulsi Gabbard told The Rochester Voice in an exclusive interview last week.
Gabbard's scathing indictment of Washington-style news reporting, which seeks to establish a narrative rather than report the who, what, when and where, further cements my own distrust of ponderously arrogant publications like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Los Angeles Times.
My own angst has been fomenting for years, but let's just look at a couple of instances in the past week or so that helped to galvanize my outlook and my anxiety.
It began a few days ago when I read a headline in the New York Times that read, "Giuliani was in talks to be paid by Ukraine's top prosecutor as they together sought damaging information on Democrats."
Now never mind that the headline is a bloomin' 19 words, which is not a headline, it's a sentence!
But the thing that galls me most is that there's no attribution. You cannot write a headline that states such an accusation without an attribution or representing the action as alleged. I've known that since I was a sports editor at a weekly in Virginia in 1985.
But there it is in the New York Times after having been approved by a cadre of senior editors.
Now, I will give them this. There was attribution in the lead paragraph. Oh, yeah! It was attributed to - drumroll please - "people familiar with the discussions."
This kind of flimsy attribution is only part of why the Washington press corps is part and parcel of the DC swamp, said Gabbard, who believes the majority of left-leaning media inside the Beltway don't like her because she stands up to them.
"Local journalists like yourself are trying to report the news, but that's not what's happening when you look at the corporate media and this small powerful elite within the DNC (Democratic National Committee) within Washington," Gabbard said. "I think they're afraid (of me) cause they can't control me and because I am speaking the truth and I am challenging this warmongering narrative that we've seen in the foreign policy establishment in Washington as well as in the corporate media in Washington."
"If you look all the way back with Vietnam there's been lies told and as journalists they have propagated this," she added. "They have been cheerleaders for these wars that that have proven to be so costly for us and the people in the country. They don't like it that I'm calling them out."
Remember it was the DNC that made sure Hillary Clinton snuffed out Bernie Sanders in their 2016 battle for the nomination.
And remember there were numerous instances of the media helping Hillary like when the Boston Globe reporter fed her debate questions prior to its being held.
Gabbard has also felt the bitter sting of narrative-driven zealots in the DC media swamp.
She said after the most recent Democratic debate in which she and rival presidential nominee hopeful Pete Buttigieg locked horns over foreign policy, NBC rushed to put out a tweet that was totally inaccurate about the back-and-forth.
In the fiery exchange they questioned each other's judgment, Buttigieg admonishing her for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad..
"I have enough judgment that I would not have sat down with a murderous dictator like that," Buttigieg quipped.
Gabbard fired back, "Your point about judgment is absolutely correct. Our Commander in Chief does need to have good judgment. And what you have just pointed out is that you lack the courage to meet with both adversaries and friends to ensure the peace and national security of our nation."
Gabbard said they were driving to meet with supporters immediately following the debate when one of her campaign staffers noticed a tweet from NBC that attributed the "you lack the courage" quote to Buttigieg, not Gabbard.
"We're in the car, and we hear this tweet coming out from NBC news that 'Mayor Pete slams Tulsi Gabbard saying you lack the courage to meet with leaders," she said. "They attributed my quote to him. My staff called them immediately, and they said they were sorry and would correct it. But they didn't just switch out the name and say I slammed Pete, they changed their choice of words ... I see it so much."