OPINION: The Insurrection Scarlet Letter

A certain news organization in PA that receives at least $750k in state taxpayers’ money annually has decided it has a moral obligation to permanently label certain politicians who questioned the Pennsylvania November 2020 election as threats to democracy.

WITF News declared this mission in a recent article, “Countering the big lie: WITF newsroom’s coverage will connect lawmakers with their election-fraud actions.”

WITF is a part of the public news and broadcasting system. It prides itself on being a credible media source, even touting on its site that it participates in something called the Trusting News Project to “demonstrate the credibility and trustworthiness of journalism…(to) ensure…high standards of what a credible media organization should be.”

However, one should ask if they are meeting such standards when they admitted in the article that, during the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, their journalists worked in story after story asserting that the state’s election results might take days with the “goal … to prepare listeners for any disinformation or misinformation about the count and any attempts by President Donald Trump to claim victory before all the ballots were counted.”

That seems to be an odd goal for journalists. Aren’t journalists supposed to report events as they happen and report them as objectively as possible?

Journalists should not have a preconceived notion of what is and is not misinformation or disinformation that they are “preparing” their audience to accept or reject.

Political pundits and party operatives do that sort of thing, not journalists.

The article then goes on to imply there is complete proven knowledge that there were and are no legitimate claims of potential fraud in the 2020 general election, despite the fact there is little evidence legacy news organizations—least of all WITF—having much, if any, skepticism, asking many questions or doing much investigation into irregularities or claims of irregularities surrounding the election.

In fact, from what they said, they knew weeks before the election that any such claims would be disinformation or misinformation.

They then chose to define what happened at the capitol on January 6 as a “coup” because “some experts” said it was.

In addition, they claimed “court challenges were dismissed for reasons including lack of evidence,” while ignoring that the majority of court challenges were dismissed for lack of standing or other procedural reasons.

They state unequivocally that President Trump’s claims about fraud were lies, despite the lack of true hearings on much of the evidence, and they attack elected officials as knowing liars.

In truth, many of these officials supported looking into fraud claims because of evidence provided by experts.

So, using the word “experts” is something WITF can do to claim proof of something they believe, but elected officials may not.

Interesting double standard.

Finally, they apply the logical fallacy of guilt by association to the elected officials. Because crazed thugs at the capitol on January 6 believed violence was the answer to what they felt was a stolen election, anyone who publicly questioned the unconstitutional process or problems of the PA election and wanted legal relief through courts or through possible constitutional actions, is guilty of promoting violence or insurrection.

And WITF now says it’s their moral obligation to remind you of their traitorous guilt forever more any time they appear in a news story.

Welcome to the new McCarthyism.

Are you or have you ever been a skeptic of the validity of the 2020 election? WITF has decided they are the final arbiters of Truth and will be the judge and jury of holding elected officials accountable.

What’s worse, they indicate that if any of these elected officials could explain themselves and possibly self-flagellate, they might stop accusing them of being traitors.

 With these kinds of journalistic standards and news credibility, Pennsylvanians might want to consider asking for a tax refund.

Michele Jansen is news director and political pundit for NewsTalk 103.7 FM.