The Fourth Estate: Media arrogance being victimized by public indifference
WASHINGTON, August 31, 2017 — Washington, D.C.’s Newseum, which opened in 2008 and is situated down the street from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, claims it “promotes, explains and defends free expression and the freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.”
But if you visit the museum, you won’t see any tributes to “religion” among its permanent exhibits. That’s because any mention of a power greater than that of the Fourth Estate would be, well, idolatry.
And there shall be no other gods before the nattering nabobs of negativism.
Like the media itself, the Newseum has hit on hard times. Attendance has fallen as steeply as newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
And the Freedom Foundation, whose endowment was supposed to keep the institution flush with cash, says the museum it bankrolls will bankrupt it if it doesn’t stop the bleeding.
And so, the foundation accepted the resignation of the museum’s director and said it might sell the 250,000-square-foot property or enter into a joint venture with a business partner dying to board a sinking ship.
Across the sea, Britain’s Manchester Guardian, which is expected to lose more than $100 million this year, began a nonprofit organization in an effort to support its brand of investigative journalism.
The nonprofit raised a mere $1 million in August.
According to Britain’s Spectator:
“Saying that trust has been declining in most institutions is a bit like noting that fewer people go to church these days. But confidence in the media has been ebbing quicker than a spring tide. The percentage of people in the UK who said they trusted the media fell from 36 to 24 in the last year…”
One dejected reporter simply told the Spectator, “They hate us.”
Across the pond, their American cousins are equally distrusting. According to the Gallup organization, only 27 percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers, with only 24 percent saying they have “high confidence in television news.”
And a Harvard-Harris poll finds 65 percent of voters believe most of what our nation’s Fourth Estate offers the public is “fake news.”
The election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president, said New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., caused his newsroom scribblers to reflect on their skewed, pro-Hillary Clinton reporting and push-polls proving the absolute certainty of her election.
“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?” asked Sulzberger.
He did not answer his own pointed questions but, instead, insisted his newspaper would “rededicate” itself to the “fundamental mission of Times journalism.”
Since inauguration day last January, the Times has printed story after fairy tale story of how Trump and his election team “colluded” with mysterious Russians to steal the White House from the Chappaqua-by-way-of-Littlerock grifter; and that the Americans who turned the Electoral College against the great lady are uneducated, racist and fascists of the Teutonic variety.
But that British reporter who whined that the public hates the press is projecting, to use a term from psychology.
The distrusting public isn’t organizing large demonstrations to express their scorn, like the over-excited minions of the anti-Trump “resistance.”
Instead, theirs is the kind of protest at which you can hear a pin drop. It is as profound a silence as one encounters in an empty 250,000-square-foot museum. Like the one in the nation’s capital dedicated to a press dripping in its contempt for the public.
“The opposite of love is not hate,” goes the old saying, “but indifference.”