Irony: MSNBC, Mother Jones, NYT Lefties Bemoan How No One Listens to Them Anymore

You simply can’t make this up. The mood was grim on Wednesday’s Hardball as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Mother Jones editor David Corn, and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wallowed in how President-elect Donald Trump created a landscape where the news media is so distrusted that people might soon not trust movie times in newspapers.

Fretting at the idea that people “are living in entirely different universes in terms of the facts they're exposed to” (read: conservatives), the three predicted that outlets like the Associated Press and New York Times will no longer trusted and thus Trump could run roughshod without any consequences. 

Bruni initially made a point about Trump disregarding the media whenever an investigative story critical of him was published, but it was Matthews that seized on Bruni’s argument to wonder: 

Well, what are people to make? They pick up The Times and they read a football score from last weekend. 29-20, the Redskins lost. Do they think that's credible? And the movie starts at 7:00 tomorrow night. Do they believe that? At what point — and I’ll go to you, David — at one point are people being told, dog trained, if you will, not to believe facts? Not opinion, facts. 

Can you say fallacy, Chris? The MSNBC host’s extension record-low trust in the media to sports scores and movie times only underscored the pathetic overreaction that media types have employed since the election. 

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With each Trump comment about the press, the outrage meter is always set to 11, no matter how serious it may/may not be.

Moving along, Corn responded to Matthews by crying foul over there being a “campaign” by those opposing the work of publications like Mother Jones to instead construct “alternative realities” on climate change and gun control.

“Look, well, we know that there are myriad conflicts of interest that have not been resolved that Mother Jones, The New York Times, Washington Post have reported on and he keeps ducking this issue...He doesn't get to the details. He only talks in headlines and slogans that are red meat for his conservative base,” Corn later added.

Continuing down the path to painting a future United States ruled under authoritarianism, Bruni ruled that “[w]e're in really scary territory here in a lot of ways” because “[i]t's not just that people are now having arguments about what is and isn't a fact.” 

Rather, Bruni ruled that: 

We have Americans who are living in entirely different universes in terms of the facts they're exposed to. We’ve all so siloed ourselves and segmented ourselves and live in these curated news environments. So, I worry like when we come out with some of the kinds of important stories that you mentioned before. There will be big stories like that, big investigative scoops during the Trump administration. Will there be an enormous group of Americans who don't even see that or see it in an entirely different way because they're living in such a particular curated news environment that’s curated to be an echochamber of their partisan beliefs? 

In another dosage of eyebrow-raising irony, Matthews put forth the idea that newspapers and wire services shutting down bureaus would lead to stringers with unknown sets of biases and damage the news industry.

“Well, when you start relying on derivative news, you don't know whether that guy or woman is really a straight reporter. There could be all kinds of politics going on in their heads. But that's seeping back no into domestic coverage because if you suspect the motivation of even a straight AP reporter, UPI — not UPI — AP, Reuters, French Agency Presse, you’re — you don't know what facts are,” wondered Matthews.

Corn fit in the last set of comments before commercial break by resurrecting how, decades ago, former Senator Jesse Helms “ran a campaign against Dan Rather.” 

The Mother Jones Washington bureau chief cited this as an example of how “the right...has attacked what they call the mainstream media for being liberal and out of touch and opposed to them” for decades.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 3:

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 4, 2017
7:03 p.m. Eastern

FRANK BRUNI: Well, he doesn't even engage the facts of times, Chris. One of the things he's doing, I think, to an extend that we have not seen from a politician at his altitude is he is — he is going so far in describing us as utterly biased, utterly untrustworthy, just despicable, despicable people and when he does that, he doesn't have to address the specifics of a given story. And we saw this toward the end of his presidential campaign. Someone would come out with terrific reporting on the way his charity operated or something like that and he would never really rebut the exact charges because he would just put it all under the umbrella of, oh, the dishonest media. They hate me, can never trust them and moves on from there. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, what are people to make? They pick up The Times and they read a football score from last weekend. 29-20, the Redskins lost. Do they think that's credible? And the movie starts at 7:00 tomorrow night. Do they believe that? At what point — and I’ll go to you, David — at one point are people being told, dog trained, if you will, not to believe facts? Not opinion, facts. 

DAVID CORN: Yeah, yeah, this is the problem we've had. We’ve in this campaign and years up to now alternative realities and whether it’s on climate change — is a good example or other issues, he's just taken it to the nth level saying the facts presented by experts, by the media, by other politicians are not even real facts. All you have to do is go on Twitter to find people say again and again, whether it's Pizza-gate or gun control statistics that what you're reporting, that what the experts are saying, that what the statistics show are not true and the only reason you're doing that is because it's an agenda. He's taking this to a new level.

(....)

MATTHEWS: It's the job of the media to catch the big, bad stuff and Trump seems like he's immunizing himself against — as you were saying, immunizing himself against a credible news story that he's got a conflict, that he was on the phone one day fixing some deal somewhere when he's President, if that ever happens. 

CORN: Look, well, we know that there are myriad conflicts of interest that have not been resolved that Mother Jones, The New York Times, Washington Post have reported on and he keeps ducking this issue and now he's going to say that these sort of stories or the stories about his foundation, have no basis because the people writing them are sick, bad, disgusting people. He doesn't get to the details. He only talks in headlines and slogans that are red meat for his conservative base. 

(....)

BRUNI: You're a hero to Trump if your message on the given day is something that dovetails with his self-interest. I mean, that's nothing new. We're in really scary territory here in a lot of ways. I want to get something you asked David before about facts. It's not just that people are now having arguments about what is and isn't a fact. We have Americans who are living in entirely different universes in terms of the facts they're exposed to. We’ve all so siloed ourselves and segmented ourselves and live in these curated news environments. So, I worry like when we come out with some of the kinds of important stories that you mentioned before. There will be big stories like that, big investigative scoops during the Trump administration. Will there be an enormous group of Americans who don't even see that or see it in an entirely different way because they're living in such a particular curated news environment that’s curated to be an echochamber of their partisan beliefs? 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, it’s — what's that called, stovepiping or whatever the alternative? 

CORN: Yes, self-selecting. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I used to worry, Frank and David, about the fact that news organizations, maybe not The Times but many have cut back on overseas bureaus and what they do — even the big papers now will rely on stringers and you can usually tell by the name of where the person is from — the country. Well, when you start relying on derivative news, you don't know whether that guy or woman is really a straight reporter. There could be all kinds of politics going on in their heads. But that's seeping back no into domestic coverage because if you suspect the motivation of even a straight AP reporter, UPI — not UPI — AP, Reuters, French Agency Presse, you’re — you don't know what facts are. 

CORN: Now, this is nothing new because you go back to Jesse Helms. You remember the days when he ran a campaign against Dan Rather? 
                    
MATTHEWS: Yeah. 

CORN: And the right — 

MATTHEWS: I don't, actually, that one. That one I forgot. 

CORN: But the right for long has attacked what they call the mainstream media for being liberal and out of touch and opposed to them. This happened in the Reagan years. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah. 

CORN: This has been around for a couple of decades. Trump is making it more vicious, more personal, more about him than anything else and that's where this so authoritarian theme comes into this. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah. 

CORN: And the fact that the Republican Party and his base is following him down this path makes me worry a lot as does Frank.


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