I recently visited the studio of political talk-show host Chris Ingram of WWBA-AM 820 Tampa. We talked on a wide range of topics regarding current events, but he said something interesting that caught my attention, namely, “There is still journalism in this country, but no HONEST journalism,” meaning our news media is more interested in sensationalism than in facts.
In the last few months alone, the press has shot themselves in the foot on more than one occasion:
First, there was the Covington Catholic incident in Washington, DC where a student wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat was falsely accused by the media of trying to provoke a fight with a Native American activist. This resulted in a $250-million lawsuit against the media by the student.
Then there was attorney Michael Avenatti who represented adult-film star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against President Trump, which she lost and was forced to pay the president’s legal expenses. This suit elevated the attorney’s exposure and he became the darling of the main stream media where he was given an enormous amount of television coverage to bash the president, which the media relished. There was even talk of having him run against President Trump in the 2020 election as the candidate for the Democrats. Recently though, Mr. Avenatti was accused of trying to extort $15-25 million from Nike, suddenly making him persona non grata with television journalists, and quickly torpedoing his political career.
Finally, we have the conclusion of the Mueller Investigation. For nearly two years, the main stream media was preoccupied with reporting leaks and innuendos from the probe and publicly insisted President Trump was guilty of collusion. When the investigation was finally concluded, and the president was found innocent of such charges, the media and the Democrats refused to believe it and continued to insist he was guilty.
In none of these three high-profile instances, has the press come clean and issued an apology for misleading the public. Instead, they insist their actions were correct. To illustrate, as Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” tweeted on March 26th (@morningmika), “The President and his corrupt team continues to spread lies — we will continue to follow the truth.” This typifies the media’s response to the Mueller report by the press. Instead of being happy the president was found innocent, they continue to condemn him, and this will go on regardless of the details contained in the full report.
The Washington Times reports 90% of the media’s coverage of the president is still negative (and 88% negative of Republicans in general). This means the president is not getting a fair shake from the news media. This is supported by a recent report by Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz claiming he was banned by CNN as he didn’t push the network’s contention of Trump-Russia collusion.
The media would ultimately like to see “Russia Gate” go on forever as sensationalism is good for selling advertising. So, No, do not expect the media to apologize for their actions any time soon. They will continue to defy and push back in order to defend their position. There is just one problem with this though, they have lost the trust of the American public. They simply will not learn how damaging their position is, not just to the country, but to their profession as well.
A Gallup/Knight Foundation survey on “Trust, Media and Democracy” found, “that most Americans believe it is now harder to be well-informed and to determine which news is accurate. They increasingly perceive the media as biased and struggle to identify objective news sources.”
There are many eye-opening conclusions in the report, but among them:
- 1 percent overall “trust all news organizations”; 0 percent of Republicans, 0 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats agree.
- A majority of U.S. adults consider “fake news” a very serious threat to our democracy.
- Less than half of Americans, 44%, say they can think of a news source that reports the news objectively. Republicans who can name an accurate source overwhelmingly mention Fox News, while Democrat responses are more varied.
As to this last point, this explains why Fox News continues to dominate cable television. Following the release of the Mueller report, AdWeek reported:
Basic Cable Top 10 – Total Viewers (Prime Time)
1. Fox News (2,473,000)
2. TBS (1,947,000)
3. TNT (1,722,000)
4. MSNBC (1,721,000)
5. HGTV (1,298,000)
6. History (1,208,000)
7. USA (1,186,000)
8. Investigation Discovery (1,048,000)
9. truTV (1,046,000)
10. Discovery (1,020,000)
Such a commanding lead by Fox News may suggest the chances of President Trump’s re-election in 2020 is very good.
The Achilles’ Heel of the news media is their belief they are somehow smarter than everyone else. This is reflected in their smarminess on camera and their sophomoric witticism’s which the far-Left may find amusing, but the rest of America does not. In other words, they lack the professional discipline of their predecessors, such as Edward R. Murrow, Chet Huntley–David Brinkley, Howard K. Smith, John Chancellor, Walter Cronkite, Roger Mudd, and the like. There is simply no comparison between this crowd and today’s class of biased anchors.
Not surprisingly, this is why President Trump is at odds with the main stream media. As he tweeted on March 26th (@realDonaldTrump):
“The Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE. For two years they pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion. They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!”
People are plain and simply tired of the feud, but tend to blame the news media more than the President as evidenced by their sagging ratings.
So, can honest journalism ever make a come back in this country? Certainly, but it begins with instituting journalist ethics, integrity and discipline. They must remember people follow the news to be informed, not to be entertained, which is something news executives have difficulty grasping, and explains why the public no longer trusts the news.
Unfortunately, I’m betting they will continue in their ways, thereby trying to stir up political intrigue in order to sell advertising. However, they better make their money while they can. As CNN’s ratings indicate, the end may not be far away.
Keep the Faith!
EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right column is republished with permission. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.