America deserves a better media, but don’t hold your breath
In his "Ballad of a Thin Man," our newest Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan, famously wrote, “Something is happening here / but you don’t know what it is / do you, Mister Jones?” He was writing about a would-be interviewer from Time magazine who couldn’t grasp the changing zeitgeist of 1965. He could write the same song today about nearly any mainstream journalist covering the 2016 election.
Hillary’s defeat is unfathomable to the media, and they are virtually inconsolable. They went to bat for her – lied, concealed and distorted the truth just as she had done – disgracing themselves and their profession gladly for the cause. Why wouldn’t the deplorables listen to them?
“This is the victory of the uneducated and uninformed,” proclaimed leftist journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, whose elitism tells more about the sorry state of American journalism than he’s capable of realizing. “I fear that journalism is irredeemably broken, a failure. My profession failed to inform the public about the fascist they are electing.” Yeah, this idiot teaches young people.
Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources (they really call it that) agreed with the failure nonsense. “This was a collective failure – a failure of imagination. In some ways, a mass delusion. And the media contributed to it.”
Who’s really deluded? What except bias, arrogance, and incompetence can explain the near universal failure of the media to understand the obvious undercurrents affecting this election?
Or what about journalists’ steadfast refusal to see Hillary Clinton as the God-awful candidate she was? One of Trump’s recurring statements – that Hillary is the most corrupt person ever to run for president – was never addressed by the media, let alone refuted. They couldn’t refute it, but why did its truth not matter to them?
They let Clinton shirk the press for a year. She never answered any real questions. They continue to project her as a worthy applicant for president, ignoring the bald-faced lies, the unethical and likely criminal behaviors, and all the other seedy – and disqualifying – baggage she and Bill lug around from scandal to scandal. Besides that, she rigged a primary and ran a filthy, mean-spirited campaign of lies, name-calling, and identity hatred. What did she even stand for other than ambition and entitlement?
Misreading the electorate, slandering voters as deluded racists, covering up the wretchedness of Hillary and her associates, and then openly trashing the results of an honest election have real consequences. Look in the streets. Or in our classrooms.
Americans are fed up with journalistic malfeasance. They don’t care what reporters think about anything. They want them to do their jobs. They want reliable information. This is a struggle over the very soul of journalism.
The public wants a national press that is unbiased, neutral, and independent of the political establishment and the powers that be. Americans are getting the opposite, and tens of millions of them no longer trust the media or patronize their products. Why subscribe to a newspaper when you can’t trust what’s written in it?
Remarkably, journalists don’t seem to care. They agree with Hillary. The masses are deplorable. Most of their customers are deluded and racist, and their rejection is a validation of journalists’ own superiority. They’re ahead of the curve. Everyone else is behind.
That’s a helluva business philosophy for an industry in catastrophic decline. Newspaper and magazine industries have collapsed, the audience for network news has shrunk by over 50 percent in 30 years (and gotten considerably older), and media trust and favorability are at historic lows.
The more the industry declines, the more one area grows: bias. It has noticeably accelerated during the Obama years as progressivism becomes more dominant and assertive.
But journalists can’t see that, either. A report on media bias from the Poynter Institute just before the election concluded: “There is no evidence of monolithic liberal or conservative bias in the newspaper industry.”
These tiresome denials of bias had zero credibility before the election. Now? Forget about it.
Let’s make this simple: if you can't see bias in the media you’re either a liar or an imbecile. In either case, you’re unqualified to be a journalist.
Don’t expect any genuine post-election soul-searching or real reform. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of the country’s leading newspaper, the New York Times, wrote an unusual letter to his readers this weekend (a letter that may or may not be an apology for the Times’ disgraceful election coverage). In it he stated, “We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign.”
He doesn’t say exactly when during the campaign this fair reporting occurred, or whether it was intentional. But he does pledge to cover the Trump presidency with the “same fairness.” Exactly the same, no doubt.