In 2013, the saying “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” rings truer than ever. The rise of blogging and social media has given millions of people the opportunity to have their opinions spread in ways not possible before. In and of itself, this is a good thing.
But with every privilege comes responsibility. For news sites, this responsibility is factual reporting. Unfortunately, most of us know all too well that many news sites are willing to forsake facts for the sake of promoting an agenda. Right-leaning “news” organization TruthRevolt did just that in a report today.
In a report titled “Unions Paid MSNBC's Schultz $177,000 in 2012, $75,000 in 2013,” TruthRevolt writer Elisha Krauss asserted that Schultz is directly paid thousands of dollars per year by major labor unions. The implications of the report are that unions fund Schultz in exchange for positive press. In the comments section, readers get riled about how ridiculous it is that Schultz is essentially a money-backed mouthpiece for unions. One reader said that if a conservative news anchor was directly funded by right wing organizations, the media would be outraged.
There’s only one problem with the report: the money isn’t going directly to Schultz. It’s going to his broadcasting company. And what for? Advertisements and public speaking events. Yes, the openly pro-union Schultz has been paid to speak at union events. Big deal. Leaders from all across the political spectrum are paid to speak at events run by organizations with whom they align.
Like any media organization, Schultz’s company sells advertising space both on air and on their website. Union leaders know Schultz caters to a liberal audience, and so they figure his base is a smart choice to advertise to. This is not one bit different than conservative organizations like Americans for Prosperity advertising on Fox News. Regardless of your political identity, you should be able to agree that there is nothing unusual going on here.
What’s even more discouraging about Truth Revolt’s report is that they are the epitome of an ideological mouthpiece. While the site criticizes Schultz for taking money from unions, they fail to mention that their site is created, funded, and owned by the far right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Freedom Center aims to “combat the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values.”
And their vision for TruthRevolt? “Its goal is to unmask leftists in the media for who they are, destroy their credibility with the American Public, and devastate their funding bases.” They are a political loudspeaker masquerading as a news site.
Not only is their report on Schultz demonstrably false, it’s laughably hypocritical as well. Even if Schultz were being paid off by unions to speak positively of them on air, TruthRevolt would have no room to talk. After all, that is precisely what they are paid to do by David Horowitz and his crew.
Pot, meet kettle.