Consuming Journalism: Reading and thinking critically, a perfect example

I thought I was out of the Consuming Journalism biz. News organizations with a cable presence are beyond saving. Total garbage that will make you dumber. I’ve checked those sites daily for years out of muscle memory…I’ve gotten dumber with each click. It’s probably too late for most of us. We can only hope that teachers are able to help today’s kids recognize bad journalism.

But I couldn’t let this one go. It’s from Fox News, and boy is it bad.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer caught in Memorial Day lockdown controversy over husband’s reported boat request

Chum, chum in the water, come get your chum.

Sounds bad. We know politicians are caught all the time adhering to a different set of rules. Would any of us really be surprised if Whitmer’s husband tried to get the family’s boat in the water while Governor Whitmer was telling people to stay home? No, we wouldn’t.

But this article is fishy. If it turns out to be true, shame on Whitmer. But any smart consumer of journalism should be very skeptical.

“…husband’s reported boat request…” If you’re running an article front and center on your website on Memorial Day weekend, a weekend on which the United States may have hit 100,000 dead from COVID-19, you really need to be able to come with something stronger than “reported boat request”.

It’s late, I’m tired, so I’m going to paste in a few more paragraphs. The problems should be clear.

n Facebook posts no longer visible to the public, NorthShore Dock LLC and its owner, Tad Dowker, focused on what Dowker said was a request last week by Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory. The posts caught the attention of Republican state lawmakers, who said the governor’s family may not have wanted to follow the guidance she’s issued for the rest of the state.

“This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.”

He continued, “Our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?'” The docking company later noted that Mallory respectfully accepted that the accommodation would not be possible.

The lead in. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.”

Have you ever met anyone who talks like this? Is this a Michigan thing?

“I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?”

I have very little faith in politicians. I have less faith in this article. Fox is one of the richest, most powerful news organizations on the planet, and they run an article hinting at misbehavior that is based on a single source? Do the Whitmer’s actually have a boat there? Can caller ID confirm it was Whitmer’s husband? Is there a recording of the call?

Again, I have never heard a living human being say, “I am the husband/wife to the…” I have only read/heard language like that in bad Victorian-era thrillers.

If it’s true, shame on the Whitmers. If Vegas allowed betting on the True / Not True status of this claim, I’d bet money on Not True. Goodnight. Off to return a text from the husband to my sister. (That’s a lie. I probably do owe him a text, but I’m not really going to text him now.)