Here was Camille Paglia last week describing the state of American journalism:
“It’s obscene. It’s outrageous, OK? It shows that the Democrats are nothing now but words and fantasy and hallucination and Hollywood. There’s no journalism left. What’s happened to The New York Times? What’s happened to the major networks? It’s an outrage. I’m a professor of media studies, in addition to a professor of humanities, OK? And I think it’s absolutely grotesque the way my party has destroyed journalism. Right now, it is going to take decades to recover from this atrocity that’s going on where the news media have turned themselves over to the most childish fraternity, kind of buffoonish behavior.”
(I would link to a non-right wing source, but for some reason the mainstream media didn’t feel Paglia’s assessment was worth reporting. I wonder why?)
“Dislike of Mr. Trump within the mainstream media is unalterable,” she wrote. “It permeates every network, from intern to executive producer and CEO. Here is a theory on what they’re thinking: They’re thinking attempts at fairness and balance in this charged atmosphere get them nowhere. They’re attacked by both sides. And anyway they think Mr. Trump is insane. They live on ratings, which determine advertising rates. Hillary Clinton got 2.9 million more votes than Mr. Trump, so the anti-Trump audience is larger.
Hillary Clinton got 2.9 million more votes than Mr. Trump, so the anti-Trump audience is larger. Moreover, people who oppose Mr. Trump tend to be more affluent, more educated, more urban. They’re more liberal, of course, and they’re younger. They’re a desirable demographic. The pro-Trump audience is more rural, more working- and middle-class, older. A particularly heartless media professional might sum them up this way: “Their next big lifestyle choice will be death.”
So, if you are a person who programs or sets the tone of network fare and you want to take a side—you shouldn’t, but you want to!—you throw your lot with the anti-Trump demo, serving them the kind of journalistic approaches and showbiz attitudes they’re likely to enjoy.
Mr. Trump, you are certain, won’t last: He’ll bring himself down or be brought down. You want to be with the winning side. So play to those who hate him, exclude others, call it integrity and reap the profits.”
Both women are substantially right at worst, despite the furious head-shaking you get from journalists, who are either in denial or corrupt, and most progressives and Democrats, who have every reason to deny the phenomenon because 1) they are the beneficiaries of it and 2) they have been leached of all integrity by emotion, arrogance, and bias.
Currently the mainstream news media is having a collective conniption because the White House is increasingly limiting reporter access. The journalists regard this as an ominous effort to constrain the free press, which it would be, except that the “free press” is not conducting itself as honest and trustworthy journalists are obligated to do.
If a lawyer practices law in blatant violation of the ethics rules, he or she doesn’t get to practice law any more. If a doctor breaches the ethical tenets of the medical profession, he or she is barred from treating patients. Journalism styles itself as a profession, meaning that it exists for the public good. Its ethical principles demand fairness, competence, responsible reporting, independence and objectivity. For a long, long time, what we still call “journalism’ for lack of a better name has not met any of these ethical ideals with sufficient consistency, and since the 2016 election, it has openly, shamelessly allied itself with the partisan effort to undermine and destroy the legally elected Presidency of Donald Trump. To do this, the mainstream news media has jettisoned its ethical values, and its right to be trusted by the public. As polls show, the public doesn’t trust them. The public still gives them more trust, out of habit, that they deserve.
For example, here’s a news flash:
On Thursday evening, CNN investigative reporter Thomas Frank published a potentially explosive report involving an investigation of a Russian investment fund with potential ties to several associates of President Donald Trump. But by Friday night, the story was removed from CNN’s website and all links were scrubbed from the network’s social media accounts.“That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted,” CNN said in an editors note posted in place of the story. “Links to the story have been disabled.”
Now, it is stipulated here that the public must be informed about its government, and that information must be as accurate as possible. It is also stipulated that governments cannot be trusted to be candid and transparent about themselves. We must have fair, competent reporting.
However, if the journalists we have no longer can be trusted to act like ethical journalists, is it reasonable for any government to give them access to information that it knows will be spun, distorted and manipulated to undermine that government? If every lawyer were untrustworthy, would I entrust my legal problems to of them, or find some other way? If every doctor was a quack, would I be obligated to have one of them operate on my son’s brain tumor?
What is the Trump administration supposed to do? What would you do?
One more stipulation: denying that the problem is real, serious, and demands a solution is not an option.