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2019 lessons for the media | TheHill – The Hill



The two biggest media misses of 2019 serve as perfect examples of what is plaguing the industry from a public trust and confidence perspective.

First, there is the rush to be first instead of accurate, allowing social media to dictate the narrative without anything resembling a meticulous vetting process. The Jussie Smollett fiasco is a prime example.

Remember what was presented as absolute fact after the story broke: Smollett decided to go outdoors, into a polar vortex, and walk to a Subway fast-food restaurant for a sandwich — at 2 a.m. He says he was then spotted by two men wearing MAGA baseball caps — in subfreezing temperatures, mind you — and recognized by them as an actor on a show that most Trump supporters are unlikely to watch. The two men, he said, screamed “This is MAGA country!” (remember, this is in Chicago) AND both men happened to have rope and bleach on their persons (talk about being prepared ahead of time).

Missing from much of the breathless initial reports was a very key word: Alleged. As in, “the alleged attack.”

“Celebrities, lawmakers rally behind Jussie Smollett in wake of brutal attack” — ABC News

“Analysis: The Jussie Smollett attack highlights the hate black gay Americans face” — The Washington Post

” ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett attacked in possible hate crime” — CNN

“Empire star Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago by men hurling homophobic and racial slurs” — NBC News

“Celebrities rally behind Jussie Smollett after brutal attack in Chicago” — Buzzfeed  


Without that word, “alleged,” the supposed attack — and its context — is presented to the reader or viewer as gospel. And, given the obvious questions that emerged around the actor’s tale and utter lack of evidence, the story absolutely warranted the disclaimer of “alleged” until a foundation of facts could be gathered.

Fortunately, thanks to local reporters and law enforcement in Chicago, the story fell apart. Smollett still somehow got off, but his career is in tatters — as it should be for wasting everyone’s time, particularly an already-overwhelmed department like the Chicago Police Department (more than 530 murders in the city last year). 

The Covington Catholic catastrophe also was a classic example of newsrooms allowing loud, partisan voices on social media to dictate their vetting process, or lack thereof.

To review what happened back on that cold January day, social media video of the March for Life rally in Washington appeared to show Covington, Ky., students, some of them wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, taunting a Native American man attending an Indigenous Peoples March. One young man became the focus of media attention after staring at the Native American — who approached the Covington student, not the other way around, as first described — for more than two minutes in what the student later described as an effort to calm things down. The student was widely portrayed at first as, essentially, the face of racism.  

Many media outlets initially ran with that angle of the story. After all, it contained the perfect ingredients for media outrage because it involved young white men, it involved the Catholic Church, and it involved President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against windmills: ‘I never understood wind’ Trump faces pivotal year with Russia on arms control Bolton says he doesn’t think Trump admin ‘really means it’ on stopping North Korea nukes MORE, since the kids were wearing MAGA hats. A trifecta for titillation.

“Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native Elder at Indigenous Peoples March” — The New York Times

“The Catholic Church’s Shameful History of Native American Abuses” — The Washington Post 

“The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross”  — National Review


The student subsequently sued several outlets, including the Post, for hundreds of millions of dollars. 

What we witnessed with Smollett and with the Covington Catholic kids is similar to what we saw with the Trump-Russia collusion tale that finally was dismissed after the Mueller report’s release in April, with results that shocked many in the press who had pushed an opposite narrative for two years by working from the premise that President Trump had to be guilty. It is a media that works under this premise: guilty until proven innocent, particularly on cable news, where anti-Trump stories are gobbled up like seagulls eating at the beach. Throw anything negative about this president or his supporters up in the air, and it will be swallowed whole.

United Press International used to have a saying: “Get it first. But first, get it right.”  

The Fourth Estate needs to embrace that now more than ever. 

Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill and co-host of “WOR Tonight with Joe Concha” weeknights on 710-WOR in New York. Follow him on Twitter @JoeConchaTV.  

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Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface – CityNews Toronto



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  1. Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface  CityNews Toronto
  2. Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced  CTV News Toronto
  3. Toronto politician accused of homophobic social media posts resigns from city council  blogTO
  4. Toronto’s newest councillor resigns hours after she was appointed  Global News
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Media Advisory: Ministers Stoodley and Davis to Attend Run for Women in Support of Stella's Circle – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador



On Sunday, June 26 the Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will attend the LOVE YOU’ by Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, in support of women’s mental health programs at Stella’s Circle.

The event is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Quidi Vidi Lake, 115 The Boulevard, St. John’s.

The Run for Women is held in 18 cities throughout Canada and focuses on Women’s Mental Health. Funds raised go to this year’s charity partner, Stella’s Circle, to specifically support programming at Naomi House and the Just Us Women’s Centre. The event also promotes physical movement as a means to creating better positive mental health outcomes.


Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466

2022 06 24
1:40 pm

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Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto



A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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