One has to wonder why President Trump gets so upset about the news media when they keep doing him one favor after another. They have yet to realize that many Americans are not fond of Trump’s bellicosity and penchant for the card matches, but we do like his policies. But, there is more to it. Every time we are willing to fairly criticize Trump, his critics in the Democratic Party and the media become so deranged, extreme and dishonest in their attacks on the President that he gains by comparison. They do not get it, and they apparently never will, I fear.
Trump has spent the better part of two years excoriating what he calls the “fake press.” He has called the Fourth Estate “the enemy of the people.” He has, however, made it very clear that the “enemy” statement refers ONLY to what he considers the fake news. That clarity goes unreported by the press, which continues to report that Trump’s statement applies to ALL the press. That could be called bias, spin, misrepresentation or fake news. Whatever one calls it, it is dishonest.
They claim that Trump vilified ALL the media is a straw man created by elements of the media to strike down that which cannot be so convincingly struck down with the truth. This is what the #NeverTrump media has done on so many issues as a matter of practice — in their surrender to partisan bias
To be clear, many of us, who have dealt with the media over many decades, do believe that major portions of the press are politically and philosophically biased to the left. Various studies and analyses have taken that from a belief to an established fact.
Since the election of President Trump, we have seen much of the media bias morph into full-stage propaganda mode. A free press must be free of government control AND free of submission to a partisan or philosophic viewpoint. Propaganda IS the enemy of truth – and by extension the enemy of an informed public.
For years, the news media – especially the east coast cabal – have operated by what I call a “conspiracy of self-interest.” Such a conspiracy does not require people to meet in smoke-free rooms or confer directly to establish a conspiracy. The lone wolf terrorist does not need to be trained in Syria or get orders from a far-off handler to be a terrorist. They operate independently out of a perceived self-interest. In a sense, we all do that.
The problem with much of the media is that their perceived self-interest was to uphold the ethics and traditions of the profession – truly providing ALL the news that is fit to print, keeping opinion out of news stories, presenting both sides of any controversial issues and avoiding the use of unnamed sources.
This is not the case today. Much of the major media in the Trump era finds self-interest in assuming a highly partisan approach to news and analysis. They are driven more by a desire to influence than to educate. Their motive is clear. It is to politically end or cripple the Trump presidency – and thereby the policies of the Trump presidency – and defeat Republicans in the coming election. That should be obvious to anyone not blinded by irrational political partisanship.
In negative terms, the press is compared to a flock of vultures picking at the prey or a shiver of sharks going into a feeding frenzy. Many years ago, I tested the tendency of the media to form gaggles and, thereby, to homogenize their stories and viewpoints.
I invited a small number of reporters to an experiment. In the first test, they were to operate in traditional press conference format – grouped in a room to hear the presentation. They would hear a speech and were able to ask questions – after which they were to write their news reports.
In the second test, a different group of reporters would hear the same speech and ask one-on-one questions. No reporter was privy to the others’ questions. They were then to write their stories — separately.
The test validated my theory that the media colludes to shape the story. (Oh my god, did I say “colludes?”) In the first test, the reports were remarkably similar because the reporters discussed their perspectives after the speech. They say the same points as most significant. They reported off each other’s questions. The reports in the second test were remarkably different. The leads were different. They wrote based on their own questions. All of this was because, I contend, they did not “share notes.” They did not collude.
Those White House press briefings are a perfect example where such collusion leads to consensus. I have long believed that we would get greater diversity and accuracy in reporting if we replaced open press conferences with one-person cubicles and then sequester reporters until they have filed their reports. I do not propose that as a practical or doable idea, of course, but just as a theoretical example to make a point.
Recently, the idea of colluding to homogenize the news was advanced to a new level. The Boston Globe successfully colluded when their editor proposed that all the newspapers across the nation editorialize against President Trump on a single day. Why? So, they could use their own platforms to make it a bigger news story. It was an exercise in organized hype — collusion.
According to the reports, some 300 newspapers across the nation took the bait. If I may homogenize their editorial positions, the basic thrust was that they are not the enemy of the people. They are not fake news. And that Trump is destroying the Republic for saying otherwise. That may be their defensive strategy, but not necessarily the reality.
The press has found a way to fight Trump. They are – if you will excuse the word – colluding. Yes, the very news media that has convinced too many in the public that collusion, in and of itself, is a crime, is now colluding. Not only are the members of the Fourth Estate colluding, but they are so arrogant that they are doing so in the light of day – and then lying about it.
Marjorie Pritchard, editorial editor of the Boston Globe appearing on Morning Joe, said that colluding with newspapers across the nation was “not about Trump.” Yeah, she really said that. She went on to say it was about freedom of the press. She had it backwards. It was NOT about freedom of the press, which is not being undermined at all by Trump’s criticisms – even as hyperbolic as they are.
The very fact that the Boston Globe – no friend of Trump – could collude with publications across the nation to attack the President should be proof enough that no one is taking away any press freedoms – even the freedom to be biased, unethical and conspiratorial.
Contrary to Pritchard’s statement, it was an attack on Trump. In just the few other editorials that were highlighted in the media, the name of the President prominently appeared. It was part of a campaign – intensifying as we approach Election Day – to undermine the Trump presidency and put the favored Democrats in control of Congress next year. It was just another part of the #NeverTrump resistance movement. That fact that Pritchard could lie about their purpose is yet another indication that freedom of the press is unfettered.
In venting their collective spleens, much of the national press has provided Trump with an obvious example of the national press in a conspiracy of perceived self-interest colluding against him. They may blame Trump for elevating the historic issue of left-wing media bias to a new height, but portions – that’s “portions” – of the news media have responded by slugging below the ethical belt.
It should be noted that the Los Angeles Times refused to join in on the feeding frenzy, accurately editorializing that such a united (colluded) action would give Trump’s complaints credibility – and indeed they did.