The media have themselves to blame

Yes, it's true that President Trump is a bit unusual.  He tweets.  He probably talks too much about "fake news" and counterpunches way beyond proportion.  Trump is Trump, and that's all you can say.    

On the other hand, the media have only themselves to blame for their current state of near collapse, for a couple of reasons:

1) The Obama years may go down as the worst display of journalism in U.S. history.  From "you can keep your own doctor" to "I learned about Fast & Furious from the front page" to "a video caused Benghazi," most in the media were simply too eager to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt.

For example, did you ever hear a reporter say something like this?  "Mr. President, did you dismiss somebody when you learned on the front pages that your administration had put 2,000 high-powered rifles in the hands of Mexican cartels?  Are you not aware that innocent Mexicans have been killed by these weapons?  Aren't you terribly served by your senior staff?"

This wasn't asked about "Fast & Furious" or anything else.  It was either a lack of curiosity or something else.  It was not the kind of journalism Americans deserved, especially after what President George W. Bush was put through for eight years of this and that.

2) Enter President Trump.  Since he upset Mrs. Clinton, and all of the experts at the networks, many in the media have been on a rampage to discredit him.

It is the exact opposite of the Obama years.  Again, Mr. Obama was always given the benefit of the doubt.  Mr. Trump is second-guessed about everything.

So how is all of this working for the country or for the media?  Well, it's not working, as Michael Goodwin wrote:

Russia, Russia, Russia is a fixation for all the networks, with a new study by the Media Research Center showing 55 percent of Trump coverage on nightly broadcasts was related to the Russia investigation.

That adds up to 353 minutes of airtime since May 17, compared to 47 minutes on Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate pact, 29 minutes on the fight against terrorism and 17 minutes on the efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, according to the Daily Caller's summary of the study. It said tax reform got a mere 47 seconds of coverage.

Too much coverage is far from the only problem with Russia reporting. Writing for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald shows how reckless CNN, the Washington Post and others have been, and makes two key points.

First, that mistakes are "always in the direction of exaggerating the threat and/or inventing incriminating links between" Russia and Trump. Second, that all the false stories "involved evidence-free assertions from anonymous sources that these media outlets uncritically treated as fact."

He's right, and I would add another dimension: For all the focus on Russia, the media totally missed a key point. To wit, the Obama administration did nothing about Vladimir Putin's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election even though the White House knew about it for months.

Of course, most media organizations spent eight years cheerleading everything Obama did, and it's no secret that members of his administration, along with career Democrats, are the anonymous sources feeding the anti-Trump narrative.

Mr. Goodwin is right on.  In fact, you don't have to be a Trumpista to see that President Trump is getting a raw deal in contrast to the butt-kissing that went on with President Obama.

Let's hope the media have learned their lesson, especially in light of the latest dismissals of three CNN reporters who got it wrong.

We need aggressive media.  Unfortunately, we don't have that now.   

Let's hope the pendulum can swing back to the middle so we can trust the media again.  We don't right now, as the latest Gallup Poll tells us!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) (YouTube) and follow me on Twitter.

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