You’ve got to accentuate the negative, eliminate the positive. I like to apologize to Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers for the malapropos use of a very familiar song lyric. However, since the late 1960s, news establishments or what today comes under the MSM, have developed this into an art form. In the political arena, this pejorative has been primarily aimed at Conservatives, Republicans and groups whom they deem persona non-grata. They will also consistently use any convenient “ism” to distort or shutdown needed public discussion on a host of issues facing the nation.
Since the election of Donald Trump, this ongoing bias systemic to many in the media, both here and in Europe, has metastasized into ossified political myopia. So much to the extent that if the Republicans had somehow nominated Mother Teresa for President, the MSM, Progressive Democrats and academics, would conjure up ways to label her a racist, sexist, misogynist, anti-Mexican, or an Islamaphobe. Oh yes, I forgot! She would also be labelled a “climate denier” as well as anti-intellectual.
Pervasive over the past year, President Trump and his supporters have coined the term fake news when referring to the body politics of the MSM. A viewpoint that is consistently in the tank for any Democratic candidate when it comes down to election time. However, the most powerful tool of the MSM in the Post Cronkite Era has been omission.
They simply don’t report news that maybe beneficial to the Trump administration, Conservatives and Republicans. In addition, when it comes to covering any perceived malfeasance on the part Republicans and Democrats, they aren’t as dogged in holding the latter accountable. The Arthurian search for possible collusion of Donald Trump with the Russians to influence the election has been non-stop despite the lack of any direct evidence. Even with the appointment of a special prosecutor to examine the completely media driven Russian collusion, there simply are no concrete facts that the Trump campaign colluded with anyone, much less the Russians to fix the November election. The entire Russian collusion spin by the MSM, is little more than an “indictment in search of a crime”. No doubt, with such an open-ended investigation by Robert Mueller, his gaggle of Clintonian Democrats, they will obviously find something to pin on Trump, no matter how specious or detached it is from the original charge of Russian interference in the past Presidential election.
Counter to all of this, the recent discovery of massive Russian connection with the Clinton Foundation via the Podesta Group and Paul Manafort, who during the Obama administration represented Russian business and political interests, is being met with a big yawn from ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, MSNBC and CNN. Even with the recent indictment of Mr. Manafort on charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and foreign lobbying, much of which took place in the Obama administration, Manafort’s criminal portfolio had little or nothing to do with Russia influencing the election results. The same type of adjudicated solipsism is also being played-out in the Michael Flynn indictment, where despite being fired by the Trump Administration for lying, will be used to show that Flynn’s post-election shenanigans somehow influenced the vote tally. Once again, the Mueller search for collusion coupled with the MSM fixation and outright hatred of Donald Trump will continue the quest for a crime to fit their conviction.
It is the MSM’s job is to objectively cover and go after real news stories. However, their coverage of genuine political chicanery is mum in this case. As described by the late William Safire, “all the news that fits their views,” is a doxology intrinsic to the MSM.
Sidebar: A False Dichotomy
Over the past decade, the media establishment has pushed the narrative that Fox News and MSNBC somehow represent the epicenter of conservative vs liberal progressive bias in news coverage. In reality, the real demarcation has been the Fox News Network vs everyone else. One must admit that it’s a brilliant strategy on the part of the MSM to distract the public away from their progressive liberal stasis. Fox News at least tries to take a shot at being fair and balanced, instead of always toting the water for all things democrat, philosophically progressive or left of center. If anything, Fox represents “equal time” in news coverage.
The election of Donald Trump was a surprise to most in the media. This was due to the fact that many in the media reside in a left of center socio-political bubble. Their comfortable residency within this bubble considered the election of Donald Trump an impossibility. Decades of being in the tank for anything Democrat, plus their contempt for Middle America, (aka, people clinging to their bibles and guns with antipathy for people not like them) rendered them blind to Trump’s popularity. It made any type of critical analysis on their part anathema. It also played havoc in their polling results.
On the other hand, news people like Chris Wallace and Brit Hume” of Fox News at least speculated that Trump had a chance of securing the presidency when they reviewed internal polling in places like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Michigan. Despite having a conservative bent, which really meant “trying” to be non-partisan, Fox’s coverage of the November’s election was much better at serving the public interest.
In addition, the elite European media, as encapsulated by the BBC, French, and Germany media, was equally stunned by Trump’s win. Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s leading news magazines went as far as to say that it was a sign of insanity to believe that a “billionaire entertainer and businessman” could be elected. Once again, the left of center catechesis of the US and European media is “Exhibit A”, pointing to their sycophantic tendencies.
The Priesthood of Liberal Journalism
They seem to act like social workers, social justice advocates, counselors, secular clerics, community organizers, or just plain old shills for the Democrat Party. But many in the media are hardly journalists. Gone from their ranks are the Murrows, Huntley and Brinkleys, Cronkites, Chancellors, Newmans, as well as the late Tim Russert.
In regards to Mr. Russert, despite being a registered Democrat, his coverage of the news was characterized by its professionalism. He would be just as aggressive and probing in his reporting on Democrats as he was on Republicans. I believe new icons like Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, and the “democratically combative” Megyn Kelley, exhibit this same professionalism when covering either Republicans or Democrats.
Several years ago, a series of pop interviews were conducted by Pew Research at the annual Excellence in Journalism Conference. Many of the participants at the conference were either new to the profession or recent products of Schools of Journalism. The interviewer posed a series of questions surveying, why many of them became journalists or media specialists. With some variations in their responses, they spoke of wanting to make a difference in this world by seeking social justice for the poor, women and underclass of our society. They longed to be the voice for the weak and the downtrodden. With fervor, they wanted to confront what they viewed as the unfair income inequality in American society as well as spectrum of rapid militarism. In short, to cite a familiar maxim of modern journalism, they felt their job was to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Well, that’s nice!
But is it not their job to report the news and present facts and information in order to hold all public officials accountable, and spare us their Gandhi complex. Journalists or media types are not social workers, community organizers, or some kind of Franciscan/Rabbinic priesthood. They are supposed to be, or at least try to take a shot at being reporters of the news.
Now this is not to say that the media hasn’t always shown a proclivity for political and parochial bias. In the short history of our nation, the media has never been an Oracle at Delphi. The 19th Century press was very partisan. Newspapers in various cities and states had their own particular views on a host of issues, from slavery, 19th century immigration, women suffrage, and the industrial revolution just to name a few. What has changed since then, is that journalism became a profession, certified by a university degree.
Prior to 1960, many individuals who wanted to be journalists, worked their way up from copy boys, pages, hoppers, or serve in an apprentice role to more seasoned news people. Journalism was in many ways a “working-class profession”.
To paraphrase Edwin R. Murrow, if news people had a bias, it was more or less based upon class, geographical differences among reporters, as well as the work histories of many of those who took up the trade. David Brinkley’s, Edwin R Murrow’s and Walter Cronkite’s early education was not in journalism. The left of center ideology had not become so omnipresent as it became when more and more university-trained journalists entered the field. The tragic effect of this left of center orientation on the media was the death of any type of intellectual diversity within the media culture. To reiterate, news services in the earlier 19th and Twentieth century, had their own distinct regional take on the news. It was extremely parochial. But within this highly eclectic environment, this partisanship actually served to balance and limit the influence of anyone particular socio-political view. It was the checks and balances for the news culture, similar to what James Madison in Federalist 10 envisioned political institution to work. However, once the news culture after 1970 gradually began to be dominated by university graduates, socialized in the latest Post Modern, deconstructionist jargon, with a heavy dose of Foucauldian secular mysticism. The Anti-western perspective of these institutions, the “blame America first and foremost” crowd became ascendant. Of course, this was all touted up as “critical thinking” or hard nose journalism, when in fact its origins were in the self-loathing nature of unchecked liberal pedagogy, that is so much a part of the university culture over the past four decades.
America was seen by many in MSM as racist, misogynist, overly capitalistic, environmentally challenged, irredeemably sexist, militaristic and grievously anti-intellectual. This attitude or psych-social orientation became the Nicene Creed of many in the mainstream media.
The intellectual nomenclature of many of those in the MSM, no matter their race, color or gender, can be characterized by a left, more left and most left mind-set. Even those who like to identify themselves as so-called moderates, are just Liberal Progressives with an even bigger superiority complex. They claim they will carefully and meticulously examine all sides of an issue. They will than carefully weigh the particular merits of a political controversy, and then go ahead, and vote for a Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters against those mean old racists, climate denying Islamaphobes of the Republican Party.
It cannot be underscored enough, the depilating effects that University trained journalists have had on the closing of the American mind on issues such as race, politics, attitudes about business and capitalism, the military, gender, and America’s place in the world.
Even in my own profession of Librarianship, the overwhelming majority of librarians, especially college or academic librarians are unabashed liberals. At the annual convention of the American Library Association, they will often pack the speakers lists with liberals, outright socialists, leftists, or any combination of insufferable “America is Bad” orators.
They will occasionally invite a conservative speaker like Laura Bush. But these conservative voices are few and far between either in the education of librarians or within the professional literature.
Quick, pop quiz! Which of the following news events received the minimum amount of coverage by the MSM, or in some cases none at all? Your choices are:
- The new unemployment figures as of November 2017
- Huge reduction in the illegal immigration, after the election of Donald Trump
- Ongoing defeat of ISIS in Iraq
- The historical highs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Hillary Clinton’s ties to the Russian Uranium deal
- The massive sex trafficking crackdown by the Trump Administration
- The retraction by a Black Air Force Academy Cadet of “his made-up story” about being racially harassed by his fellow cadets.[i]
- Senator Bob Menendez corruption hearings
- Catastrophic Black-on-Black murder rates since the 1970s
- Longitude studies on the failure of the Head Start Program
- Former FBI Director James Comey’s pre-determined outcome of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation
- Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills lied to the FBI that they had no knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s private server.
- Harvesting and selling of human organs by Planned Parenthood.
Answer, all of them!
The MSM isn’t perceived, and in many cases, doesn’t seem to care that they are no longer viewed as impartial brokers of the news. To reiterate, in their coverage of conservative vs liberals, Republican vs Democrats, they simply don’t apply the same reporting standards. This is the real danger to our Republic and is reminiscent of Pravda in the old Soviet Union, when you have a 93% of your coverage painting Republicans in a negative light.
Democrats like Obama and Clinton, for the most part, have always known that it is a lot easier to go out and face a media that is 96% Liberal. Republicans from Reagan to Trump never enjoyed such an unspoken luxury. Liberal Progressive Democrats must understand that diversity is more than gender and race. Until their ranks become more intellectually and politically diverse, this malformation of a Free Press, of the First Amendment, will continue.
[i] When the story first broke, the MSM devoted over 23 minutes of its nightly news coverage to this allegation. When it was discovered that the Black Cadet actually was the person who painted the racist graffiti; his retraction received less than 43 seconds in the following news cycle.