Reporting? Liberal Media Have Much More in Mind Than That
The mainstream media have stepped up their complaints about President Trump amid pious howls mostly about the First Amendment. The issue, however, has nothing to do with that. It's that these organizations are openly asserting a right to define, control and impose their world-view on us. That's the real problem.
To start, they are defining what is and isn't offensive in America today, claiming they can make those designations even while admitting they don't have all the facts, and that you, the reader, deserve to lose your job if you fall outside of the rigid box they construct. There are numerous recent examples.
On Nov. 1, "for the first time in its 111-year history" Hollywood trade magazine Variety endorsed a presidential candidate, choosing, to nobody's surprise Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Republican Donald Trump "has a long history of disrespect for and objectification of women," the publication explained.
The endorsement went on to vigorously denounce Trump's "sexist, racist views." It also proudly claimed that "Variety frequently writes about how sexism and racism run rampant in Hollywood, publishing such stories as a way to keep shining a light on the inequities that oddly still exist in a business that is largely liberal."
For Variety, Trump is sexist because he said nasty things about news anchor Megyn Kelly and was caught saying vulgar things about women in a private conversation.
But not all women's choices are to be respected. Some can be quite openly mocked in the name of "entertainment."
Variety has on its website right now a clip of an interview it conducted with the director and cast members of a new movie, screened at the Sundance Film Festival, titled "The Little Hours."
The liberal Daily Beast reviewed the film with the charming headline, "Three Horny Nuns Storm Sundance," writing:
"[T]he women happen to be a bunch of horny nuns in the 14th century, but the story’s resonance is undeniable, even if we’re technically gathered to talk about an irreverent sex comedy in which three medieval women of the cloth try to bang Dave Franco."
How disgusting. By the way, this is the same Daily Beast that ran an article headlined, "Donald Trump’s Gross History of Misogyny: From Rosie O’Donnell to Megyn Kelly," during the GOP primary battle in 2015.
Meanwhile, in the video clip shown on sexism-battling Variety's website, actor Franco laughingly exclaims his wish that the upcoming film will be "hopefully not the last time" he gets to have sex with a Roman Catholic nun on camera.
The media definition of "racism" can be every bit as weakly thought out.
On Nov. 6, Daily Beast feature writer Justin Glawe pounced on news that a historically black church had been burned down with the words, "Vote Trump" spray-painted on the "charred remains."
Glawe acknowledged that he did not know who had committed the arson, writing that it was "now up to authorities to find out." Nevertheless, he went on to tie the act into what he termed "the string of violence [by Trump supporters] against minorities this election season."
When in December it was revealed that a black church member with a criminal record had burned the church down, the Beast merely tacked on an editor's note to the original article and Glawe penned a follow-up piece in which he noted the arrested man had "liked" Donald Trump on Facebook.
Apparently this flimsy "fact" was enough to justify using the incident, before all the facts were known, to build a platform to paint Trump supporters as racist thugs who enjoyed "beating the hell out of someone who is a different color" than them.
The frightening implications of such capricious and impetuous brandings of "sexism" and "racism" come to light when one reads Chicago Tribune "workplace reporter" Rex Huppke's chillingly titled Jan. 27 article, "Unfettered freedom of speech or continued employment. You decide."
In the piece, Huppke unflinchingly states that:
"The legal parameters get murky, but if you're posting comments that are racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted or just plain vile and somebody connects you to your company or organization, then you are, by association, making that company or organization look bad. And you may well find yourself out of a job. To which I say, 'Good.'"
In a world where a person can lose his employment for posting "xenophobic" comments – who gets to define what those are, Mr. Huppke? – one wonders where Hollywood directors and actors who laugh about filming consecrated nuns engaging in sexual intercourse fit in?
Fortunately, there are self-described "media watchdogs" like the good folks at the Columbia Journalism Review to keep an eye on all this.
Writing for CJR in December, watchman Lee Siegel decried the "fake news" that "helped elect Trump."
Astonishingly, this is the same Lee Siegel whose New Republic blog was terminated in 2006 after he created a phony commenter who lavishly praised his work.
From a New York Times article on the egregious affair:
"After readers criticized Mr. Siegel for his post about the host of 'The Daily Show,' Jon Stewart, [fake commenter] sprezzatura wrote: 'Siegel is brave, brilliant and wittier than Stewart will ever be. Take that, you bunch of immature, abusive sheep.'"
This is the dog watching over the media flock?
Another media cop on the beat is Harvard's Nieman Lab, part of the Nieman Foundation, whose stated goal is "to promote and elevate the standards of journalism."
Lab Director Joshua Benton sees "fake news" as a major threat to those "standards."
Showing just exactly how airtight his bubble is, Benton actually wrote the following one day after Trump's electoral victory:
"In a column just before the election, The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg argued that 'the cure for fake journalism is an overwhelming dose of good journalism.' I wish that were true, but I think the evidence shows that it’s not. There was an enormous amount of good journalism done on Trump and this entire election cycle, from both old-line giants like the Times and The Washington Post and digital natives like BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast…. For anyone who wanted to take it in, the pickings were rich.
"The problem is that not enough people sought it out. And of those who did, not enough of them trusted it to inform their political decisions. And even for many of those, the good journalism was crowded out by the fragmentary glimpses of nonsense."
Benton is flat-out saying that the fact that citizens did not base their voting decisions on the articles to be found in the Washington Post and BuzzFeed is a "problem" that needs to be remedied.
And while we're on the subject of "fake news," let's not forget the wire services. The White House press pool has been in a tizzy of late because Trump press spokesman Sean Spicer, going against "tradition," has not been calling on the Associated Press to ask the first question at press briefings.
This is the same AP that wrote the following about President Trump – not as opinion, mind you, but as straight news reporting:
"The varied reactions illustrated a dilemma for GOP lawmakers faced with life under a new president with a strained relationship with the truth."
Another major wire service, Agence France-Presse, "the third largest news agency in the world" after AP and Reuters, wrote this in a straight news story in January:
"Galvanized by Trump's November 8 election, abortion opponents in states where Republicans hold power moved swiftly last month to adopt draconian anti-abortion measures that in some cases pose challenges to constitutional liberties."
Good luck trying to find AFP describing anti-racism or anti-sexism policies as being "draconian."
The above are all examples of prominent media activity in the short time leading up to and following the election of President Trump.
These media elites are openly ascribing to themselves the right to define and control the information you receive and even the personal judgments you make after absorbing that information.
This is the same media complex that dares to assert that Trump is pushing an oppressive totalitarianism by moving to enact the campaign promises he made to the electoral majority of the American people.
In case you wondered, this is what the term "Cultural Marxism" looks like in real life.
Joe Schaeffer is a freelance writer based in Florida.