Thanks to FOX for this article.
The legacy media was plagued with scandals, gaffes, and clear bias in 2022, with outlets ranging from CNN, NPR, ABC, NBC and The Washington Post all creating embarrassing headlines.
Some made unforgettable national news, such as ABC News sidelining “GMA3” co-hosts Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes when their extramarital affair became tabloid fodder, billionaire Elon Musk purchasing Twitter and revealing the once-secret communications of its previous management, and NBC News reporter Dasha Burns being widely scrutinized for simply reporting that Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman had issues making small talk a few months after suffering a stroke.
But other fiascos received less attention, or have become afterthoughts during a wild, jam-packed election year. Here are some of the biggest gaffes, scandals and debacles from 2022.
Chief Justice Roberts debunks NPR story on SCOTUS drama
In January, Chief Justice John Roberts offered a devastating blow to an NPR report alleging a feud between Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor.
A report by NPR’s chief legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg went viral within liberal media circles, which alleged that Gorsuch refused to wear a mask while on the bench next to Sotomayor, who has diabetes and makes her vulnerable to COVID, despite having been asked by Roberts.
Gorsuch and Sotomayor later issued an unprecedented joint statement declaring the NPR’s story “false.” However, their statement did not satisfy liberals in the media, who continued to defend NPR’s report, so Roberts himself stepped in.
Roberts flatly denied NPR’s reporting, stating, “I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench.”
NPR repeatedly defended its report both after the Gorsuch-Sotomayor statement and the Roberts statement, telling Fox News it was standing by Totenberg’s report.
Whoopi Goldberg suspended from ‘The View’ following Holocaust remarks
“The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg was suspended in February following controversial remarks about the Holocaust.
Goldberg went viral when she argued that the Holocaust “isn’t about race,” stunning her colleagues at the table.
“What is it about?” co-host Joy Behar asked.
“It’s about man’s inhumanity to man, that’s what it’s about,” Goldberg said.
“But it’s about a White supremacist going after Jews and Gypsies,” guest co-host Ana Navarro said as Goldberg attempted to speak over her.
“But these are two White groups of people,” Goldberg said as her colleagues disagreed.
Jewish groups condemned the comments, accusing Goldberg of minimizing Jewish suffering.
Goldberg issued an apology, saying she stood corrected.
“As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, ‘The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race.’ I stand corrected,” Goldberg wrote in a statement.
ABC News president Kim Godwin suspended her for two weeks despite the apology.
“While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments,” Goldberg said. “The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends and communities.”
However, Goldberg revived the controversy in December after she repeated the remarks that landed her in hot water during an interview, forcing her to apologize again.
CNN+ streaming service shut down after one month
On March 28, CNN threw a swanky launch party for its new streaming service CNN+ on the eve of its highly publicized premiere. Executives, on-air personalities and reporters attended the soiree at an event space located on the 101st floor of Hudson Yards, overlooking Manhattan. For months, the network had been making headlines for its high-profile hires who were set to host their own programs including Eva Longoria, Chris Wallace, Jemele Hill, Kasie Hunt, Audie Cornish and Rex Chapman.
The next day, CNN’s streaming service launched with minimal fanfare and was swiftly mocked when leaked subscription data revealed startlingly low numbers.
WarnerMedia and Discovery completed a long-planned merger on April 8, putting CNN under the control of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery. Many industry insiders wondered why CNN even launched the service with the merger was looming, as Discovery CEO David Zaslav was known to have a different vision from previous management. It turned out that CNN+ critics were correct in their skepticism.
By April 21, Warner Bros. Discovery announced it would pull the plug on CNN+, only one month after the network’s much-hyped streaming service launched. The previous management team reportedly spent $100 million on development costs and had roughly 500 employees working on the service, but it failed to resonate with viewers and was quickly scrapped.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reduces workload
Rachel Maddow, who has long been MSNBC’s biggest star, caused agitation for Comcast honchos in 2022 when she decided to scale back her workload.
Maddow, who makes roughly $30 million per year, shocked MSNBC viewers in April when she announced she would only be hosting “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Mondays to pursue other projects despite the enormous salary.
She previously competed for the title of “most-watched cable news host” during much of the Trump administration when she attracted a massive liberal audience, in part by pushing various conspiracy theories tying the former president to Russia.
“The Rachel Maddow Show” thrived off the left’s loathing of Trump, averaging 2.5 million viewers in 2017, 2.9 million in 2018, 2.8 million in 2019 and 3.2 million in 2020. However, media insiders speculated during the first year of Biden’s presidency in 2021 that Maddow was not long for the job, and in April 2022, Maddow returned from a lengthy hiatus and announced she would roll back her on-air presence.
Maddow now hosts “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Mondays only, leaving MSNBC without its cash cow for the remainder of the week. The network selected Alex Wagner to fill the coveted time slot Tuesday through Friday, but her program hasn’t been able to replicate Maddow’s success in the liberal zeitgeist.
CNN’s regime change
CNN is now under the control of Warner Bros. Discovery after a long-planned merger was finalized in 2022, but the transition wasn’t exactly smooth. Jeff Zucker, who presided over the network prior to the merger, was forced out shortly before the deal became official. It was initially thought that he stepped down for failing to disclose a personal relationship with a fellow CNN executive, but it was eventually revealed he violated the network’s standards and practices.
Many believe Warner Bros. Discovery simply wanted a fresh face, after Zucker was known to be responsible for CNN’s dramatic shift to the left. However, many of CNN’s most prominent faces fawned over Zucker on his way out the door.
Warner Bros. Discovery eventually named media veteran Chris Licht as Zucker’s replacement, and he quickly made a series of polarizing decisions. Licht, who has been blamed by CNN insiders for low morale within the company, has been forced to lay off hundreds of employees and scrap entire units of the network.
CNN is set to finish 2022 with historically low viewership and went the entire year without naming a replacement host for the coveted 9 p.m. ET time slot that has been vacant since Chris Cuomo was fired in 2021.
Media embraces White House recession talking points
Liberal media outlets fell in line with the Biden administration’s spin on redefining what a recession is over the summer ahead of the release of potentially devastating economic stats.
As economic data was set to be revealed showing two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the White House preemptively declared that even if the U.S. economy had shrunk in two consecutive quarters, that didn’t necessarily mean the economy was in recession.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asserted that two quarters of negative GDP growth is not the “technical definition” of a recession despite acknowledging that it is the “common” definition, defining it on NBC as a “broad-based contraction in the economy” based on a wide range of data.
White House Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese echoed Yellen in citing the so-called “technical definition” of a recession, which he said on CNN involves a “much broader spectrum of data points,” and dismissed having “technical debates about backward-looking data.”
The media embraced and parroted the talking points.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman told readers “there’s a pretty good chance” that GDP shrank in the second quarter, which will trigger “breathless commentary” about there being a recession. But he insisted “we won’t be.”
“That’s not how recessions are defined; more important, it’s not how they should be defined,” Krugman wrote.
Many other media outlets, including the CNN, Boston Globe, Politico, MSNBC, the Associated press and Bloomberg, also echoed the White House talking points.
NBC News mysteriously retracts Paul Pelosi report
In one of the strangest media controversies of the year, NBC News retracted a report in November after correspondent Miguel Almaguer suggested four days before the midterms that Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, might not have been in immediate danger before he was attacked in his San Francisco home.
Almaguer reported that police who responded to a 911 call from the Pelosi residence didn’t realize the House Speaker lived there, and that Paul Pelosi didn’t attempt to escape or declare an emergency before walking away from cops and back toward alleged attacker David DePape, who is accused of then assaulting him with a hammer.
The report that aired on “Today” stunningly contradicted the mainstream narrative. After the segment went viral on Nov. 4, NBC News retracted it that afternoon, scrubbing it from the internet and effectively vanishing Almaguer in the process. NBC declined comment throughout the process and refused to explain why the story was retracted aside from a vague line about not meeting standards.
Almaguer was sidelined from NBC News for over a month, although NBC News never admitted he was suspended on the record, and the Comcast-owned news division still hasn’t explained why the story was quashed. Almaguer has since returned but has not mentioned his weeks-long absence, or the report that NBC News mysteriously retracted.
Adding to the oddness of the story, a local NBC Bay Area report that same month had many of the same details as Almaguer’s.
The Washington Post’s week from hell
The paper known for its slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness” should perhaps be more concerned about its own well-being after the disastrous week it had in June.
Then-reporter Felicia Sonmez went after fellow Post reporter Dave Weigel, who has since left the paper, for retweeting a joke critics deemed sexist while also putting the paper on blast.
“Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” Sonmez reacted.
Weigel was placed on a one-month unpaid suspension despite having removed the retweet and issuing an apology.
However, Sonmez’s tweetstorms berating her colleagues continued and began receiving public pushback from at least two colleagues, reporters Jose A. Del Real and Lisa Rein, who Sonmez also then attacked.
After Post boss Sally Buzbee urged staff to be respectful to one another, several prominent reporters expressed solidarity with the paper, all of whom were mocked by Sonmez.
Following six days of constant viral warfare towards colleagues and the Post, Sonmez was terminated. Weigel left later that year and joined Ben Smith’s new venture, Semafor.
The ordeal occurred days after the Post had to address the controversial 2018 op-ed penned by actress Amber Heard, which became the center of the explosive defamation lawsuit launched against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp.
In the op-ed, published just days before the release of her film “Aquaman,” Heard alleged she was the victim of domestic abuse, heavily implying Depp was her abuser without actually naming him. But during the stunning six-week trial, it was revealed that the ACLU had ghostwritten her op-ed. In the end, a jury found that Heard’s piece against Depp was in fact defamatory.
The following day, the Post issued an editor’s note acknowledging the verdict.
“In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation arising out of this 2018 op-ed. On June 1, 2022, following a trial in Fairfax County, Va. Circuit Court, a jury found Heard liable on three counts for the following statements, which Depp claimed were false and defamatory: (1) ‘I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.’ (2) ‘Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.’ (3) ‘I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse,'” the note read, adding that the jury also found Depp had defamed Heard on one count through comments made by his lawyer Adam Waldman.
While the verdict was largely seen as an indictment of Heard’s credibility, some critics argued the Post should also be held accountable for publishing it in the first place.
That same week, the Post published a report headlined, “Who won the Depp-Heard trial? Content creators that went all-in.”
Authored by the Post’s left-wing “internet culture” columnist Taylor Lorenz, the article shined a light on how online influences thrived during the Depp-Heard trial. Cited in the piece were two YouTubers, “LegalBytes” host Alyte Mazeika and an anonymous user named ThatUmbrellaGuy, who Lorenz alleged had a spike in revenue for their coverage of the courtroom drama.
Included in the paragraph was a parenthetical statement reading, “Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy did not respond to requests for comment.” Both Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy pushed back at Lorenz’s report, claiming that not only did she mischaracterize their coverage of the trial and their earnings but how she did not actually reach out to them for comment in the first place. The Post was later caught stealth-editing its report when it scrubbed that sentence and was forced to issue multiple corrections.
Lorenz publicly blamed her editor for including the erroneous statement. The Post later shuffled Lorenz to a different team and reports alleged that the paper’s senior managing editor was “asked” to “review her articles before publication” going forward.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.63