I just picked up this New York Times story by Jeremy Peters on how Real Clear Politics, the web site with political news stories reprinted from a range of newspapers, journals, magazines and internet stuff, has swung sharply right, i.e., right wing.
I’m trying to remember when I first got annoyed by Real Clear Politics cutesy insistence on relentlessly publishing opposite opinions, toggling between reputable news media and what I considered disreputable, i.e., propaganda media.
Could it have been as early as 2012? Or even earlier?
I’m somewhat surprised it took the Times or any good news medium this long to point out what I noticed years ago: Real Clear Politics does not offer opposing views. It offers news that is factual, drawn from respectable news organizations, and opinions based on those facts, followed by…alternative facts, i.e., crapola.
Let’s go over this one more time: there is fact, and then there is not-fact — that is, fake. There are no such things as differing facts.
As the [Trump] administration lurched from one crisis after another — impeachment, the coronavirus, a lost election the president refuses to concede — Real Clear became one of the most prominent platforms for elevating unverified and reckless stories about the president’s political opponents, through a mix of its own content and articles from across conservative media.
It now appears that Real Clear Politics has been getting its donations from dark sources. (“Dark sources” are always right wing sources, as far as I can tell.)
But less well known is how Real Clear Politics and its affiliated websites have taken a rightward, aggressively pro-Trump turn over the last four years as donations to its affiliated nonprofit have soared. Large quantities of those funds came through two entities that wealthy conservatives use to give money without revealing their identities.
And that’s the strong point: why is this wealth hiding in the closet?
“There’s a history of relying on donors — everyone from National Review to the radio shows of the 1950s and ’60s had to do so, because none of them turned a profit,” said Nicole Hemmer, the author of “Messengers of the Right,” which explores the rise of conservative media. “The question is why they feel the need to hide their sources of funding.”
I suggest we all discard Real Clear Politics. Its polls are infected with politics and so is its “news.” And maybe worse, by alternating genuine news with crapola — sort of like layering a terrine with fresh vegetables and rotten cheese — it elevates the mediocrities who populate the GOP propaganda machine to the status of genuine journalists.