Journalists Reporting Their Own Opinions


In the preceding days we have been taking a look at some of the work of on-air and press or online journalists, analyzing their words, phrases, angles, and choice of facts. We continue today.

Comes now an article from USA Today via MSN. A “journalist” named Heidi Przybyla authored “Donald Trump not a textbook bully, psychologists say” in today’s online edition. Is Ms. Przybyla another axe-grinder? To borrow a phrase from the pompous Fox News anchors, “Take a look!”

Here is the opening sentence of Przybyla’s article:

“Donald Trump says he’s not a bully and, clinically, he may be right.”

Can you guess how Przybyla feels? Let’s break it down.

First, she notes Trump’s denial of the alleged allegation, that he’s a bully. I’m not sure who is alleging that he’s a bully, but okay. Second, she indicates she sought to source the answer to professional psychologists. Okay.  Third – and this is key – she observes that he (Trump) “may” be right.

Therefore, the psychologists she sought must be saying that Trump “may” be right in saying he is not a bully. Is that what they said? Here is the entirety of her fourth paragraph in the story:

“Americans may describe the billionaire businessman’s behavior in many ways, but psychologists and experts told USA TODAY that textbook bullying shouldn’t be one of them. The greater challenge, the bullying experts say, is explaining the reasons for Trump’s popularity in a culture that is supposed to frown on naked aggression.”

Let’s break down this paragraph. First, psychologists and experts didn’t say that maybe people should not describe Trump’s behavior as bullying, they said “shouldn’t”, period.  Second, notice how Przybyla qualified the term bullying by writing “textbook bullying”. Is there a difference between “bullying” and “textbook bullying”? Did the experts use the term “textbook bullying”? Perhaps they did and she did not quote them; yet one of the quotes Przybyla offers plainly says “bullying”. Take a look!

“Patti McDougall, associate professor of psychology at the University of Saskatchewan echoed that, saying ‘bullying does not happen when you’ve got two equals in a fight.”’

What is the intent behind Przybyla’s wording? Is it sinister? Is she grinding her own axe? We must consider the other evidence in her writing. Here’s the ninth paragraph. Tak a… okay, I have to stop using that. Take a gander!

“Trump has singled out Kelly, one of the nation’s most-watched cable news hosts, ever since she pointedly questioned him during a Fox News debate. He later insinuated she was menstruating at the time and, since then, he’s hurled insults at her, including retweeting a message on Twitter that called her a ‘bimbo.'”

Przybyla’s take is funny, because apparently it’s okay to ask candidates tough questions, but they are prohibited from firing back tough comments. So, first, Trump explained that he was not referring to menstruation, and others have backed him, indicating he was using an old phrase, “bleeding from the eyes” to indicate how angry or disturbed Megyn Kelly was. Now, Przybyla does not have to believe him, but she is, last I read, a senior political reporter. She is interpreting and overlaying her own opinion rather than reporting a fact. Be aware of her bias.

Second, several sources have said or suggested that Fox News’ female anchors are bimbos. Trump is not the first. Nobody seems to have raised a fuss before, especially the liberal elements of the media. And Fox News on air personality Gretchen Carlson has said, “So I developed thick skin from the bimbo comments then.” Shouldn’t all reporters do the same?

See the full article at: Gretchen Carlson on her new book.

Here’s is further evidence of Przybyla’s grossly compromised reporting from her eleventh paragraph:

“During Tuesday’s press conference, Trump told Ramos — described as the Walter Cronkite of Spanish-language television — to ‘go back to Univision’ after the reporter, who hadn’t been called on, attempted to confront Trump about his stance on immigration.”

Ah! Przybyla’s rhetorical abuses highlight themselves! Tell us, why did you feel the need to write that some described Ramos as the “Walter Cronkite of Spanish language television”? Was that supposed to exonerate him from his incivility? From his boorish breakup of the press Q & A? Why did you write “who hadn’t been called on”? Doesn’t the conference giver select reporters to ask him questions? Isn’t that par for the course? Were you trying to hide the fact that Trump had already selected someone else and Ramos butted in out of turn? Do you know that Trump would not have called on him at some point in the Q & A? Did you ask Ramos why he didn’t wait until his turn? In fact, why was Ramos there? Shouldn’t a field reporter have been there, a correspondent assigned to the candidate? Could it be that there was design to Ramos’ presence and his intrusion?

In her defense, she could claim that she highlighted her opinions of Ramos’ and Kelly’s social stature to confirm what the psychologists were saying, that they are on equal footing with Trump and therefore cannot claim to be bullied. This remains a distinct possibility. I took it as her legitimization of what Ramos and Kelly were doing, of their standing and reputation, if you will. You decide. My conclusion follows.

For shame! Ms. Przybyla’s serpentine writing deserves an arched eyebrow and dismissal, the stamp of disapprobation for writing a piece about her own opinions and passing it off as news. Maybe she just envies the fact that Trump isn’t paying attention to her and her bombast.

What do you think? Do you think Ms. Przybyla supports or opposes Donald Trump?

For fairness’ sake, here is her full article. Take a… .

Heidi Przybyla’s opinion article.


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