2021’s 10 Most Mortifying Media Moments

‘You’re either with them or you’re with us’

Be afraid. Be very afraid! Whatever you do, remain terrified — regardless of whether there's any rational basis. That's the best thing you can do for yourself, for your family, and for your country. Better still, embrace conformity, and assiduously avoid forming any unapproved thoughts. These are dangerous, uncertain times, so best leave the thinking to The Experts. 

That, at least, is the message America's national media drilled into our heads over the course of 2021, ad nauseum

In the rare moments a major figure wandered off the groupthink reservation, TV talking heads were dispatched to destroy them with extreme haste. 

But when they weren't savaging independent thinkers, they were busy attacking America's non-woke as a racist, domestic terror threat that the military should probably drone into oblivion. (But not, mind you, before handing over their kids to the state.)

Anyway, let's just get to it:

10 - Scarborough's Profanity-Laced Meltdown

Sizing up the impact of the Capitol Hill riot, the major media appeared consumed with one thought: How can we make this worse? Joe Scarborough was first out of the gate, taking to the air like a coked-up rodeo bull randomly looking for things to break. In the span of a few minutes he demanded extrajudicial imprisonment of Trump's family & campaign workers, then went on an expletive-filled rant attacking the Metropolitan Police Department. 2021 was off to an exciting start! 

9 – Media Invent Series of False 1/6 Claims

In the smoke of the Capitol Hill riot, the major media positioned themselves alongside the mayhem with some of their own industrial-grade, nationwide-reaching fog machines, amplifying the chaos with a steady stream of confusion. Rather than doing the usual journalism thing of waiting to check facts before putting news reports into circulation, reporters instead sought out the most sensationalist rumors, then laundered them as "journalism," without thinking twice (or once, actually).

Almost everything initially reported about the riot turned out to be false. The attack wasn't planned on Parler (but rather Facebook); rioters didn't come with plans to kidnap lawmakers (as per the FBI's later acknowledgement); there were in fact left-wing activists involved (the media immediately pronounced this a "conspiracy theory" and never admitted otherwise); the rioters didn't "kill five people," which was a regular refrain in the weeks after the uprising (only Trump supporters were killed that day, and the police officer who died, expired of "natural causes," as per his autopsy); the rioters also didn't "bludgeon a cop to death with a fire extinguisher" (again, no cops were killed); rioters didn't bring "zip ties" to the protest (the man photographed with zip ties had taken them from a police officer so that they couldn't be used against his fellow renegades). 

Even as just about everything the media told news consumers about the Capitol riot turned out to be false, that hasn't stopped them from continuing hyperventilating about it every day since, usually at the expense of actual, important news stories. 


8 – Media Blames Trump for Their Failure to Report Covid Origins

When 2020 brought one of the biggest news stories of our young decade, America's establishment media punched out. Rather than following in the tradition of actual journalists before them — you know, doing some real, investigative reporting into Covid's origins — the media instead seemed to reflexively defend China and smear anyone casting blame at Wuhan's bioweapons lab as racist. Actually, it was worse than that, as the media also partnered with Silicon Valley to censor and blacklist real reporters who were finding evidence linking Covid-19 to the Wuhan lab. 

When 2021 brought the the least surprising news update, possibly in history — that the Wuhan, China-based bioweapons lab researching bat-originated coronaviruses was in fact the likeliest source of the bat-originated coronavirus that began spreading from Wuhan and is now enveloping the world — reporters were quick to issue corrections and apologize blame Trump. Natch!


7 – Media Wage War on Aaron Rodgers for Ignoring Their Advice

Aaron Rodgers should have known better. Despite being a professional athlete whose career depends on taking scrupulous care of his body, he should have instead simply outsourced his wellbeing to CNN. As Aaron Rodgers had become naturally immune to Covid, he — and thousands of others like him — saw no need in getting vaccinated. For this crime against conformity, the media unleashed their attack dogs, calling him everything from an idiot to a potential mass murderer. So much for "my body, my choice"!


6 – Media Mock Joe Rogan for Claim They Invented About Horse Pills

Aaron Rodgers wasn't the only one who got himself into trouble for failing to donate his free will to the mainstream media. When Joe Rogan came down with a case of Covid, he took a course of action widely embraced in the medical community but widely mocked in the media industry. As a result, they unleashed weeks' of fury, attacking him with a claim they completely invented — that the drug he used to treat Covid was a "horse dewormer." Eventually CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appeared on Rogan's show and admitted that they were lying and it was morally wrong to do so. Even still, CNN continued attacking Rogan just the same. 


5 – To Take out Tucker, Reporters Demand Restrictions on Free Press

Surely the most dispiriting recent media trend has been so-called journalists leading the charge to rein in the freedom of the press. And nowhere was this passion for censorship more depressingly on display than when Fox News' Tucker Carlson produced a documentary about the January 6th attack. Where progressives once prided themselves for citing Voltaire — "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" — progressives are now more likely to pat themselves on the back for saying, "I disapprove of what you say, and I will do my best to outlaw you from ever saying it again." That was definitely the energy surrounding their industry-wide meltdown in response to Tucker's "Patriot Purge." 


4 – CNN's Cuomo Deceptively Defends His Gov Brother

Last year, the hard-charging Governor Cuomo was a media darling and his brother was CNN's primetime host. A year later, the former resigned in disgrace after a tsunami of scandals — including needlessly sending thousands of seniors to their death and subsequently destroying incriminating evidence, as well as sexually harassing more than a dozen women in his orbit — while the latter was fired after his own set of scandals subsumed him. After Chris created one too many fires, the final being text messages that revealed how he exploited his role in the media to help his brother escape accountability — CNN finally relented to public pressure and canned him. Knowing what we know now, the way CNN allowed Cuomo to use their network to help his brother's political career is even more mortifying. 


3 – The Press Publicizes Fake News About Border Agents 'Whipping' Haitians

Perhaps the thing more astonishing about the major media today is their complete disregard, and in many cases outright disdain, for accuracy and fact checking. In place of carefully reported news has come the convergence of "media" with political activism. Almost everything we're now consuming from the mainstream press has an origin in politics. How stories affect select people in power is the prism through which almost all editorial decisions are being made. This was clearly the case when the news media began circulating fake news about a Customs and Border Patrol agent being photographed near Haitian immigrants illegally entering America. As everyone reading this already knows, the infamous photo showed an agent using horse reins in a manner some thought depicted him "whipping" the aspiring refugees. That he was "whipping immigrants" became a story too good to fact check. Many TV talking heads and their Democratic allies went even further, somehow saying this incident was "worse than slavery."

Unsurprisingly the Biden Administration used this manufactured melee to order an investigation, as well as to end CBP's use of horseback for patrolling the border. After securing this political victory, the media moved onto their next venture without ever acknowledging the whole episode was a fabrication.     


2 – Media: Va. Voters Only Defeated McAuliffe Because They're Racist

The great thing about working in the media is that you’re automatically right about everything. And if there’s ever an instance where events go in the opposite direction these self-appointed thought leaders had hoped, it’s only because some people are stupid and racist. That’s certainly what happened in Virginia, where for some weird reason voters resoundingly rejected the state’s steadily increasing usurpation of parents’ rights to raise their own children. When the Democratic candidate made clear he didn’t think parents should have a role in their children’s education, the election became a referendum on the larger national debate taking place over schools shifting their focus from core curriculums (math, English, science, history) toward political indoctrination (Critical Race Theory & its related offshoots).

Once Republican Glenn Youngkin was declared the official victor, the same media outlets that had been mocking concerns over the politicization of public schools comforted themselves by insisting the only reason their side lost was because the voters are simply dumb hillbilly redneck racists. (Never mind that Youngkin owed his victory to winning larger shares of Hispanic and black voters.) 


1 – Media: Americans Who Dislike Us Are the Greatest Threat Facing the Country

A bit of bad news to end on. Turns out that if you're not one of the increasingly small number of people unironically watching network news like CNN and MSNBC, you might soon be on a terror watch list. This effort began in earnest after the January 6th riot, when it became a popular talking point amongst Democrats and their media PR wing to argue that it's not enough to just go after the perpetrators; rather Washington's national security apparatus also must be turned against Americans suspected of engaging in wrongthink.

This campaign received a boost after a group of public school activists successfully called on the DoJ to begin treating parents who were involving themselves in local curriculum debates as actual "domestic terrorists." And of course Covid was another justification for demanding harsher policing of ordinary Americans. Those who came to doubt Fauci's (ever-evolving) wisdom on masks, schools, and vaccines were thought to have been under the influence of dangerously noncomforming ideas, and were thus blamed for "prolonging the pandemic." 

Fortunately, brave voices began calling on Big Tech to finally put an end to all of this "dangerous misinformation." Even as Twitter, Facebook, and Google were only too happy to comply, shows like "Morning Joe" nonetheless made it their raison d'être to have social media platforms they deemed insufficiently censorious of being shut down altogether. Scarborough & his wife/cohost regularly demanded, a la Ahmadinejad, that Facebook "be wiped off the face of the Earth." 

After all, if Americans were only able to consume news from approved sources, then finally everyone might think correctly. 

Well, there's always next year. 

Earlier editions:

The 20 Most Mortifying Media Moments of 2020

The 12 Most Mortifying Media Moments of 2019

The 18 Most Mortifying Media Moments of 2018

The 10 Most Mortifying Media Moments of 2017

The 10 Most Mortifying Media Moments of 2016

Like our work? Support the cause.