Right-Wing Media Plays Loose with the Truth

I wrote an article three weeks ago for the OGB entitled “The ‘War on Conservatives’ is overblown.” In it, my main point was that The Wake Forest Review, our campus’ resident conservative publication, uses flawed arguments in order to spread the misnomer that there is some administrative conspiracy to turn our campus into a leftist hotbed.

While Digital Director for The Review Ryan Wolfe took to his newly founded vlog The Ryan Wolfe Show to discredit my article, he misquoted me and suggested that I was misrepresenting his opinions and others presented by The Review, even though I quoted him and his cohorts verbatim. The fact of the matter is that Wolfe and The Review presented the campus with a faulty narrative that they cannot adequately back up when taken to task. 

Wolfe now concedes that “while maybe there isn’t a war on conservatives, there is a serious concern that free thought at Wake Forest may be over.” This statement is still remarkably out-of-ouch with reality. However, it is nevertheless an inconsistent step back from comments he made in an article written in November of 2017. This article is entitled “How Wake Forest Turned To The Left. In it, Wolfe breaks his argument down into three different sections, entitled “The Strategic Plan,” “Turn to the Left,” and “Long Term Transformation of Wake Forest.” His thesis is that “The Strategic Plan to Foster Diversity and Inclusion and its successors ended up fundamentally changing the role of diversity and inclusion on campus and took cultural Marxist dogma from the classroom and applied to the lives of students.” He backs up this claim with zero tangible evidence to prove that the university is corrupting students with “cultural Marxist dogma” (“cultural Marxism” is a term commonly used by pseudo-intellectuals in online Alt-Right message boards but is generally laughed off by legitimate academics). Thus, the result of the article is fear-mongering drivel. To me, any piece that describes a “strategic plan” to help our university “turn to the left” in order to create “long term transformation” of our campus without providing any tangible evidence reeks of brazen and illegitimate conspiracy theorizing — a brand of journalism that is becoming all too common in right wing media.    

When The Review publishes an article like “How Wake Forest Turned to the Left,” it is simply mimicking its bigger siblings— Fox News, Breitbart, The Daily Caller and The Drudge Report to name a few. These organizations have determined that it is in their best interests to forgo prudent reporting, and instead peddle baseless claims usually couched grumblings about free speech. They have created right-wing echo chambers that are tailored to rack up page views and sell high-dollar advertisements.  Just as Wolfe theorizes about Wake Forest’s systemic plan to corrupt the minds of its students with “cultural Marxist dogma,” Sean Hannity goes on Fox News every night to scare his thirsty and vulnerable viewers into believing that there is a “deep state” that has corrupted almost every level of government and has a singular goal of skirting the constitution and dismantling our democracy.    

To be sure, there are left wing media groups that make sensationalist claims.  For example, in March of 2017, Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s flagship host, tweeted “BREAKING: We’ve Got Trump Tax Returns,” when in reality she had one page of his 2005 returns that contained little, if any, important information.  While this type of reporting is juvenile and inappropriate, to say that it is equivalently bad as the journalistic malpractice committed by the right would be outlandish.  Left wing media has not stooped to the level of its conservative counterparts, fabricating spurious reports in an attempt to boost ratings and page views.  This nefarious practice not only preys on uninformed readers and viewers, but also diminishes the value of legitimate, quality reporting. 

  • Tom Daly

    What Ryan Wolfe fails to acknowledge is that of the major democracies in the world the USA is the most conservative (no universal health care, maternity leave etc.) Of the states in the US, North Carolina is one of most conservative. WFU hardly stands out as liberal or left leaning by almost any definition. The WFR is an echo chamber of similar voices hoping that theirs is somehow the “right” way.