The Fourth Estate: Will Trump ditch the mainstream media?
COLORADO SPRINGS, November 25, 2016 — As they begin to “drain the swamp,” it appears the Trump team may be including the Mainstream Media (MSM).
Rumors of Trump ditching his presidential press pool to go to a family dinner, following the president-elect’s decision to take media elites to the Trump Tower woodshed last week, underline the Trump-MSM antagonism that was so evident during the campaign.
Michael M. Grynbaum and Sydney Ember, reporting on Trump’s meeting with the press on November 21, wrote:
“It had all the trappings of a high-level rapprochement: President-elect Donald J. Trump, now the nation’s press critic in chief, inviting the leading anchors and executives of television news to join him on Monday for a private meeting of minds.
“On-air stars like Lester Holt, Charlie Rose, George Stephanopoulos and Wolf Blitzer headed to Trump Tower for the off-the-record gathering, typically the kind of event where journalists and politicians clear the air after a hard-fought campaign.
“Instead, the president-elect delivered a defiant message: You got it all wrong.”
To those who long ago ditched the MSM for the Drudge Report, their local newspapers and other sources, Trump’s decision to put the elites on notice and his war on political correctness are overdue.
The title of one recent article sums it up: “Blatant bias against Trump may hasten the end of mainstream media.” MarketWatch’s politics columnist, Darrell Delamaide, writes,
“Whatever else this year’s bizarre and destructive presidential campaign achieves, it may well sound the death knell for legacy news media.
“Newspapers have long since been doomed by the digital revolution and the collapse of their economic model. New waves of buyouts and layoffs recently announced by the New York times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal mark another step by print media toward extinction.
“Broadcast networks, too, face severe difficulties as new technologies and changes in viewing habits transform the television industry and bring new challenges to news operations.”
The release by WikiLeaks of internal e-mails with proof of Democratic Party-MSM collusion has brought anyone who hasn’t depended on the MSM for its news up to speed: The “news” has been tainted by the media’s own prejudice and manipulation.
Fake news isn’t just from Russia.
For many media watchdogs, the past year has validated something they’ve observed over two decades: The arrogance of the MSM as it’s fused with liberal Hollywood and liberal politics. That’s put on regular display at the increasingly annoying annual Washington Correspondents’ Dinner.
Critics long before Trump have decried pop culture’s distinct tilt to the political left.
WikiLeaks showed that the Democratic Party trashed candidate Bernie Sanders, one of its own. It shared editorial sign-offs on articles, and the MSM furnished political debate questions beforehand with candidate Clinton. WikiLeaks showed the final erosion of media objectivity where politics is concerned.
Now that the election is over, MSM’s unending self-analyses, hand wringing and crocodile tears over their reportorial failures would be laughable if it weren’t all so sad.
The New York Times’ publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., attempted a lukewarm self- accounting:
“After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome?”
But evidence of the Times’ continued biased reporting seems to give lie to Sulzberger’s concern. As Real Clear Politics’ Mark Halperin reported on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
“I love The New York Times. I think it’s a great institution … But look at the headline of this story. The front page headline of The New York Times today reads: ‘Democrats, Students and Foreign Allies Face the Reality Of A Trump Presidency.’ Their headline is not ‘Disaffected Americans Have A Champion Going To The White House’ or ‘The Country Votes For Fundamental Change.’ The headline is about how disappointed the friends of the people who run The New York Times are about what happened.
“It’s amazing. It’s The Onion.”
Much earlier, back in 2001, the death of the MSM was chronicled by former CBS reporter, Bernard Goldberg, in his book, “Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.”
After nearly 30 years at CBS News, the Emmy Award–winner earned a reputation as one of the preeminent reporters in the television news business. When he looked at his own industry, however, he saw that the media far too often ignored their primary mission: objective, disinterested reporting.
Goldberg followed his first book up with two more: “Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite,” and, “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.”
Other public figures who have done battle with the liberal MSM and come up spluttering have also described their experiences. John Stossel, well known television exposer of corruption of all sorts wrote “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”
Fox News’s Greg Gutfeld, self-described refugee from the hyper-liberal Berkeley campus wrote, “The Joy of Hate: How to triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage.” Ann Coulter penned, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims and Their Assault on America,” and conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, “Culture of Corruption.”
Are these authors and others merely piling on to a central theme in order to sell books? Is the MSM simply being taken to task by nattering nabobs of negativity? Or have Trump’s attacks on the MSM been fully justified?
The Clinton campaign might view things differently, writing their own tell-alls where the media are concerned. But demonstrated media bad behavior this year and the rise of social media have served to place the Fourth Estate under heavy scrutiny, and given the importance of voters’ need for accurate, honest information, that’s for the good.
For decades, the MSM have had things their way. Journalism schools have taught their requisite who, what, when, where and why’s, but the power of the MSM to control news content and the national political conversation have interacted with an increasingly liberal bias.
Trump and WikiLeaks have merely exposed what many have known for years to a wider audience. Americans have long held the Fourth Estate sacrosanct. We have depended on its objectivity and access to those in power for reliable information. Votes and viewpoints have depended on a clean and independent press.
That is why American laws protect members of the press from having to disclose sources. We want our press to be able to dig the truth out when scofflaws might prefer it remain buried.
Enter the age of the Internet, WikiLeaks and a recalcitrant billionaire.
But for the exposures of MSM corruption and bias handled by these unofficial, non-Fourth Estate sources, as well as the overwhelming quantity of them during this past year alone, the MSM might be continuing as before, dictating the national dialogue according to its liberal J-school whims and imprimaturs.
If candidate Trump accomplished one thing, it was to mainstream and place renewed sunlight on our news sources. Without accurate and fair-minded reporting, as we well know, there is no democracy.
The Trump presidency has promised to clean house and drain the swamp wherever it has taken ahold. That may include the MSM, who are still to this day coming to grips with the exposure of its own failures.
The Fourth Estate must once again be beyond reproach. It’s a pity they have been forced to contemplate that truth by others. One hopes the media’s own ombudsmen will step forward to do that job. America deserves nothing less.