Murdering Journalism

Weinstein_and_friends

There were other things I wanted to write about today: several articles about U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Denmark, a fawning “portrait” of him on DR over the weekend, the murderous and hateful Islamic State twin sisters who want to return “home” to Denmark from their camp in Syria, Danish coverage of the mask “confusion” in America—but then I wandered into this:

He murdered his wife—then voted by mail for Trump in her name, Kalinka Aaman Agger, Berlingske.dk, May 17

The way the headline is crafted, it’s hard to tell which crime the editor found the more atrocious. (But we can guess.)

“But wait,” you may be thinking, “I was assured there was virtually no voter fraud in American elections, especially none with mail-in ballots, and that to suggest there had been fraud, or that mail-in ballots weren’t the safest thing ever devised by the mind of man, could get you banned from social media!”

That’s correct but incomplete.

The complete version is that there was virtually no voter fraud in the 2020 election in support of Democrats. Of course there was Republican voter fraud, because that’s just how Republicans roll. Especially Trump-supporting Republicans, who are just a bunch of insurrectionist Cheaty McFraudfaces—at least when they’re not busy murdering their spouses.

Had this guy voted for Joe Biden, he’d just be another (allegedly) wife-murdering whacko unworthy of serious attention outside of Chaffee Country, Colorado. But because he cast his missing and presumably murdered wife’s ballot for the Dread Tyrant Trump, it caught the eye of ABC News, whence it apparently caught the eye of Katrina Aaman Agger.

You know what’s another lurid but interesting story? A guy who drops off his laptop for repairs and forgets to reclaim it, even though its hard drive is full of pictures of himself smoking crack and having sex with prostitutes, and incriminating emails about his father… who happens to be running to be President of the United States.

Berlingske couldn’t tell you that stuff the way they’re telling you this stuff, because they were too busy obeying social media’s embargo on the story. They could tell you about the stuff, and what was banned and by whom, and why, and how everyone was reacting, but they didn’t publish any of the now-iconic photos, they didn’t cite any of the emails, and the only picture of Hunter Biden in the article made him look like Calvin all dressed up for Sunday church:

Strangely enough, Berlingske can give you a whole breakdown of Harvey Weinstein’s legal problems without once mentioning his decades of Democratic fundraising and championing of progressive politics from his pulpit as one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. They can tell you about his conviction for grotesque crimes without name-checking Bill or Hillary Clinton, or Barack or Michelle Obama. Why is that? What’s different? Why don’t all Harvey Weinstein stories include pictures like those in the collage I put together for the featured image of this post?

These are rhetorical questions, obviously.

But it gets even better. (By which I mean it gets unfathomably worse.)

Before we examine the massive image standing athwart the digital page between Berlingske’s big headline and the story itself, let me give you the caption:

“First Barry Morphew murdered his wife. Next he used her ballot to give an extra vote to Donald Trump. Those are the authorities’ accusations against him. Archive photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix.”

That, as I said, is the caption. Before we get to the picture, I’ll drop a couple of hints to help you guess:

Hint one: there are pictures of Barry Morphew all over the internet.

Hint two: There are pictures of his missing (and presumed murdered) wife, Suzanne Morphew, all over the internet.

Hint three: the ABC News version of the story includes one photograph of each of them.

Okay, make your guess before you scroll down.

Now scroll.

And here’s the image Berlingske went with:

The article does include an image of Barry Morphew, and another with Suzanne as an inset, but those images are both embedded in tweets that are themselves embedded in the article.

Consider the caption again: “First Barry Morphew murdered his wife. Next he used her ballot to give an extra vote to Donald Trump. Those are the authorities’ accusations against him.”

That’s the caption under a photograph of Donald Trump in front of the border wall. And it’s all atop an article about a guy who authorities believe murdered his wife.

Journalism!

Katinka Aaman Agger shouldn’t be held accountable for the headline, image, or caption, all of which were presumably set out by editors or designers. But she’s fully responsible for the article itself.

Here’s how she opens:

49-year-old Suzanne Morphew had been reported missing since May. So when her postal vote in the presidential election in the fall suddenly popped up, it raised some flags.

How could she vote when there had been no sign of life from her for more than half a year?

The suspicious postal vote, that went to Donald Trump, got the authorities on the trail that election fraud might have taken place.

That’s perfectly a appropriate mention of Trump, in my opinion. It’s a parenthetical aside: “the vote, that just happened to have gone to Donald Trump, ….”

It’s not necessary, but it adds a little salacious zing for the Trump-obsessed without getting in the way of the actual story, which is in fact kind of fascinating: did a man who’d murdered his wife actually have the chutzpah to cast a ballot for her months after he’d sent her off to join the choir invisible?

Had Agger left it at that, the article might still have risen to journalism.

But only a few paragraphs later, we’re getting stuff like this:

During an interrogation in April, Barry Morphew admitted that it was he who had submitted a postal vote on behalf of his wife.

And the reason was quite simple:

“I wanted Trump to win,” he said, according to court documents, explaining that his wife would have voted for Trump if she were alive:

“Why not give him an extra vote. I figured everyone else was cheating.”

Donald Trump claimed before the autumn election that Democratic voters would cheat with mail-in ballots to help Joe Biden win the election. A lie that Trump has since maintained. This despite the fact that no evidence of cheating with democratic mail-in votes has yet been found.

Barry Morphew has explained that he was not aware that it was illegal to submit another person’s ballot.

Barry Morphew is, best case, an idiot. Worst case, he’s a homicidal psychopath. It doesn’t matter whom he voted for, or whom he thought his wife would have voted for. It is one-hundred percent irrelevant to the story itself—unless you’re so deeply in the tank for the progressive project that every story is about the Dread Tyrant Trump and the metaphysical and harmonic perfection of Democrats (who by the way fought a war to preserve slavery, wrote and passed and enforced the Jim Crow laws, and created the KKK).

Consider the deranged state of mind required to write a paragraph like this for a newspaper:

On May 5th, the police chose to arrest Barry Morphew, who isn’t just accused of having cheated with mail-in voting, but also as the man responsible for his wife’s disappearance. A collection of evidence that has not been further elaborated upon suggests that he killed his wife, according to prosecutors.

That first sentence would have been be a terrific lede because of the way it flips expectations around. It would suck an unsuspecting reader right in. Except this sentence comes deep in the article, down near the end, by which point we already know he’s suspected of killing his wife and voting illegally. The inversion of priorities therefore suggests that Agger considers the charge of murder a mere afterthought beside the much more serious crime of casting a fraudulent vote for Trump.

And it probably isn’t the fraudulence galls her.

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