Media-Generated Lies that Are Intended to Create Controversies — New York Times Reporter Jeff Zeleny Irritated Candidate Santorum with a Deliberate Untruth — then Other News Outlets Pounced on Santorum’s Perfectly Reasonable Response

© 2012 Peter Free


26 March 2012



One does not have to be a member of the political Right Wing to see that the American media lies a lot


News outlets deceitfully like to stir America’s pot of faked outrage.


Before jumping to the conclusion that I’m an extremist loon, take a lot at what the New York Times tried to do to presidential nominee candidate Rick Santorum yesterday.



Whose ethics should be questioned in this exchange?


Theocratically-oriented Republican presidential nominee candidate, Rick Santorum, might be a terrible choice for president.  But that does not mean that it is ethically acceptable for news organizations to lie about his positions or behavior.


Yesterday, New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny got himself caught on video, blatantly trying to stir the America’s bottomless pot of false outrage with a deliberate lie.


Then, to make the untruth worse, quite a few other media outlets tried to turn Santorum’s perfectly reasonable response into an unjustified attack on the former Senator’s character.



Here is the video of what candidate Santorum actually said


You will need to watch all 2:29 minutes of this video clip to gather the context in which Rick Santorum made his “worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama” comment:


Shawna Shepherd, Santorum: Romney 'worst Republican' to run against Obama, CNN Politics – Political Ticker (26 March 2012) (video)



And here is the video of reporter Zeleny’s provocatively lying question afterward


Noel Sheppard, Santorum Slams NYT Reporter: 'Stop Lying' - 'Quit Distorting Our Words' - 'It's Bulls--t!', (26 March 2012) (video)


As transcribed by Mr. Sheppard:


After Zeleny asked Santorum, “You said that Mitt Romney was the worst Republican in the country – is that true," the former Pennsylvania senator incredulously asked, “What speech did you listen to? Stop lying!"


Santorum continued, “I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of ObamaCare, and that’s what I was talking about. I have said uniquely, for every speech I give, he is uniquely disqualified to run against Barack Obama on the issue of health care.”


“Would you guys quit distorting what I’m saying?” asked Santorum.


Zeleny wasn’t listening, and responded, “Do you think he is the worst Republican?”


Santorum didn’t let him finish and instead reiterated, “To run against Barack Obama on the issue of health care, because he fashioned the blueprint. I've been saying it in every speech. Quit distorting our words. If I see it, it's bulls—t. C'mon man, what are you doing?"


Zeleny then asked, “Who’s distorting your words?”


Santorum shot back, “You did by asking me that question.”


“You sound upset about something, Senator,” Zeleny replied.


“I’m upset when the media distorts what I say,” replied Santorum. “Yeah, I am. I do get upset.”


Noel Sheppard, Santorum Slams NYT Reporter: 'Stop Lying' - 'Quit Distorting Our Words' - 'It's Bulls--t!', (26 March 2012)



Notice Zeleny’s duplicitous, needling behavior


Zeleny did not do the former senator the courtesy of actually listening to his response, and he tried to needle him further by pretending innocence.  “Who’s distorting your words?”


Then, in the manner of self-righteous wimps everywhere, “You sound upset about something.”



Now, watch “Sleaze” Zeleny and CBS News compound his sins


Zeleny, apparently not content with being a one-time manipulative liar, added “continually deceitful prick” to his list of apparently not-so-august character credentials.


Incredibly, CBS News actively assisted him in carrying out a second bit of blatant distortion of Santorum’s speech:


CBS this Morning, NYT reporter: Santorum outburst was for cameras, CBS News (26 March 2012) (scroll down to the embedded video clip at the bottom of the CBS article)


CBS News asked:


Did you lie, distort, and misrepresent Rick Santorum?


Zeleny replied:


No.  Simply asking for clarification that he said in his speech, just to a roomful of supporters, that he believes Mitt Romney is the worst Republican in the country.


Health care was not attached to that sentence in his sound-bite.


Oh, really?


What kind of a jack-donkey would come up with such a blatant distortion of the truth, after sitting through Santorum’s actual speech?


“Sleaze” Zeleny is either a contextually-challenged imbecile or someone with a lying agenda.



Nevertheless, other media outlets jumped on Misrepresentation’s Bandwagon




Luke Johnson, Rick Santorum Defends Cursing Out New York Times Reporter, Huffington Post (26 March 2012)

Catalina Carmia, Santorum defends cursing at New York reporter, USA Today (26 March 2012)


“Blasts” and “lost his temper “


Charles Spiering, VIDEO: Santorum blasts New York Times reporter, Washington Examiner (26 March 2012)


“Cusses” and “taking out his anger on the media”


David A. Graham, Video of the Day: Santorum Cusses Out New York Times Reporter, The Atlantic (26 March 2012)




Meena Hart Duerson, Rick Santorum explodes on New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny after calling Romney ‘worst Republican in the country’, New York Daily News (26 March 2012)


“Completely loses his cool”


Joe Weisenthal, WATCH: Rick Santorum Completely Loses His Cool At NYT Reporter, Business Insider (26 March 2012)




Max Twain, Santorum Suffers Meltdown With NYT Reporter, Race 4 2012 (26 March 2012)


And so on.



Did Santorum’s behavior warrant these characterizations?


The media did not fairly characterize Santorum’s reaction to Zeleny’s deliberately distorting question.  The former Senator’s reaction to Zeleny was not a blast, explosion, loss of temper, or meltdown. His expressed irritation was understandable and even respect-worthy.  Who wants a president or general who calmly tolerates lying fools?


Only a Pablum America could possibly be upset about a leader’s articulate chastisement of a malicious liar.



The moral? — The American media generally has its own agenda, and it is not about telling the truth


As I have written before — here, for example — when journalism abandons its role as the truth-telling Fourth Estate, the American republic is lost.