Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The only thing we have to fear is the press itself

Brian Beutler of the New Republic explains Why the Media Is Botching the Election.

His conclusion: The "false balance" coverage of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is all about the press's self-interest.

One might even think about a charge of journalistic malpractice when journalistic self-protection trumps (pardonnez moi!) democratic ideals and their violations.

Here is a flavor of his argument.

News outlets are less alarmed by the idea that Trump might run the government to boost his company’s bottom line, or that he might shred other constitutional rights, because those concerns don’t place press freedoms squarely in crosshairs. Controversies like his proposal to ban Muslim travel into the U.S., create a deportation force to expel millions of immigrants, and build a wall along the southern border are covered less as affronts to American values than as gauche ideas that might harm his poll numbers with minorities. Trump’s most damaging scandal may have been his two-week political fight with the Khan family, but even there, the fact that Trump attacked the Khans’ religious faith was of secondary interest to questions like whether attacking a Gold Star family of immigrants would offend veterans and non-whites who might otherwise have voted for him.

And let's not forget the bribery/coverup scandal of Trump U and Pam Bondi that the press still has not really dug into.

Against that backdrop, it’s no surprise that when liberal intellectuals argue the press’ coverage of Trump and Clinton is out of whack, in ways that imperil the democracy itself, members of the media don’t see a world-historical blindspot that must be urgently corrected. They see an attack on the trade itself—and reflexively rush to protect it.

The press was not the only culprit in Trump securing the GOP nomination, but they contributed to it. Our country is perilously close to Trump securing the presidency. If he does so, the press will have the majority share of the responsibility for that. And when, with new-found powers, Trump cracks the journalistic whip, will the press cave once again?

One story the press should be on like flies on a horse's droppings is Trump as the Man from Moscow. Instead, the press seems content, for the above named reasons, with Trump as the Man from Media.

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