Hoorah for biased journalism! The election of Donald Trump as president has sent us liberals so over the edge that we can no longer pretend to even tolerate him. Not only will our coverage of him and Republicans be biased but we shall openly embrace the fact that we are biased.
Huh? Did I somehow manage to overhear an inebriated journalist who had a bit too much to drink to the extent that the truth poured out of him? Nope. As we shall see, it is journalism professor Mitchell Stephens writing (supposedly sober) in the June 26 Politico with startling admissions about anti-Trump bias in the mainstream media that even the slightly coherent among us were aware of but which many liberal journalists still very unconvincingly deny. Stephens is a flat out liberal obviously antagonistic towards Trump but his saving grace is his shocking honesty about the current state of journalism which is revealed in his article title, Goodbye Nonpartisan Journalism. And Good Riddance.
We don’t yet know to what extent Donald Trump will succeed in remaking the United States, but his candidacy and presidency are already remaking American journalism.
It is not just that the ranting and raving on talk radio, on cable news, on websites, on Twitter have grown, if anything, louder. What’s more significant is how the political world’s encounter with Trump is changing our most respected journalism organizations—including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the network evening newscasts and CNN.
The only real change in those "respected" journalism organizations is that they no longer even make the effort to pretend to be unbiased.
The big news is that many of our best journalists seem, in news coverage, not just opinion pieces, to be moving away from balance and nonpartisanship.
Is this the end of all that is good and decent in American journalism? Nah. I say good for them. An abandonment of the pretense to “objectivity”—in many ways a return to American journalism’s roots—is long overdue.
Hooray! The death of objectivity in journalism. Embrace the bias!
Our legacy journalism organizations—including NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, NPR, PBS, the Associated Press and most daily newspapers—were slow to recognize the new order and find their voices in the din. They continued to police themselves for tilts and biases and remained a little vanilla well into the 21st century. Indeed, their obsession with nonpartisanship lingered long enough to leave them deeply vulnerable to manipulation by a boisterous, rudderless presidential candidate like Trump.
Pardon me for chuckling at the notion of NBC or CNN or PBS being "manipulated" by Trump. The fact is the media organizations named above represented a solid wall of opposition to Trump.
A small percentage of Americans even know the name of the most recent anchor of the CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley. When 17 days after Trump’s inauguration, Pelley concluded on the air that Trump had made statements that were not just untrue but “divorced from reality,” it caused a minor fuss on Twitter and the Web—and not much else. Pelley’s willingness to attack the president with such vehemence seems not to have played any role—negative or positive—in the recent, presumably ratings-based decision to remove him as anchor of this newscast.
Really? So it wasn't audience anger at Pelley's obvious antagonism towards Trump but perhaps just annoyance with his phony artificial sounding delivery style that brought him down?
American journalism has been changing in front of our eyes. And even after historians have taken over from reporters the task of investigating the depredations of the Trump administration—the old “on-the-one-hand-this, on-the-other-hand-that” style of journalism is not coming back. The condition that created it—a limited supply of news organs, which sought large audiences by not offending—is gone. Its weaknesses are manifest. Journalists will not willingly slip that straightjacket back on.
...Better that journalists surrender the old pretense to objectivity entirely. Our best reporters must still dig and keep digging, check and double check as they investigate. They must still be fair to those they cover and give credit or blame where due. But can’t we now acknowledge that the New York Times and the Washington Post—in their take on the news as well as in their editorials—are deeply skeptical about Trump’s presidency? Is it not time for CNN and the others who are in that camp to own up to it too?
Yup! Time for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN (and Politico) to own up to their total Trump derangement to the extent that they drop their laughable pretense of objectivity.
How refreshing it is to see mainstream journalists beginning to realize that they no longer need pretend.
Well, it was never a very convincing pretense at objectivity, but thanks for pointing out the obvious.