Why “good”? It’s obviously not good that the trustworthiness of journalism has declined so precipitously. What is good, since the news media has proven itself to be so biased, irresponsible, dishonest and untrustworthy, is that the public is waking up and no longer trusts it. That minimizes the damage. It does not solve, however, the existential danger to our democracy of having a propaganda system instead of objective and reliable reporting.
Sure, this is a poll, and polls themselves are biased and unreliable. Gallup and Pew, however, are the most reliable of the pollsters, and this one at least seems right. 11% trust in TV news is essentially no trust at all: that number represents the moron component that shows up in every poll. (The 16% trust level in newspapers is irrationally high.)This is an impossible time for defenders of the news media to claim any credibility at all. The British commentary website Spiked writes in part under the headline, “Hunter Biden and the corruption of the liberal media”,
Everything you need to know about the modern liberal media is contained in the following fact…Fake news about Trump carries more weight than real news about the Bidens in today’s messed-up media…it’s about the media’s abandonment of objectivity in response to the populist moment, and their craven willingness to bury stories that have the potential to harm the political elites….
When the New York Post first reported on Hunter’s ‘laptop from hell’ in late 2020, shortly before the presidential election..most of [the news media] turned a blind eye to the original laptop story. ‘We don’t waste our time on stories that are not really stories’, said NPR. Even now, following further revelations of questionable behaviour in the Biden camp, the media are mild at best, silent at worst, in their response. Rumours about Trump were enough to send the liberal media into a frenzy; truths about the Bidens cause them to feel nothing at all. This is how politicised mainstream journalism has become. It now clearly conceives of itself, not as the pursuer of truth, wherever that might lead, but as the defender of the professional managerial elites against the questions and concerns of the populist throng. This is why the Hunter Biden story matters. Not because one sad, unsettled man took some drugs and hired some prostitutes – we can forgive that – but because the media establishment has made it clear to the world that it is more interested in protecting power from truth than speaking truth to power.
Bingo. And thus it is distrusted. Good.
Meanwhile, NPR has blithely announced that it is launching a “disinformation reporting team.” Disinformation…you know, like the Hunter Biden laptop story. Oh yes, Twitter trolls are reminding NPR of its quote above, but the state funded propaganda agency literally doesn’t care. Like most of the news media, it sees its job as advocacy and protection of its favorite politicians, policies and party. The critics just don’t understand.
Then we have this gaslighting from the Washington Post: “How media coverage drove Biden’s political plunge.” Perry Bacon, Jr., a Post op-ed columnist, actually wrote a piece arguing that the news media has been too tough on President Biden, and the Washington Post, showing no respect for its readers, reality, truth and the ethical values of responsibility and accountability, published it as if this was a legitimate point of view instead of what it obviously was; one more desperate effort to blame someone, anyone, anything, for the abject failures of pet Democratic fantasies and conceits, along with the fading and manipulated old man the party, with the crucial complicity of the media, installed in the White House.
Bacon’s case is a continuation of the Don Lemon justification for slanted news coverage: Republicans are evil and a threat to democracy, so the job of the news media is to bolster Democrats by any means necessary, while working to vilify conservatives. “Now, Biden is polling worse than Trump was in July 2020, when thousands of people were dying each week of covid, a situation much worse than the real and serious problem of high inflation in the Biden era,” Bacon writes. “You can’t credibly argue that Trump, with his constant inflammatory statements and incompetent management, was a better president than Biden. These poll numbers reflect something gone wrong.”
The poll numbers reflect the fact that Abe was right: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, which is what hacks like Bacon try to do. The claim that Trump was to blame for pandemic deaths was part of the Democratic Party/mainstream media anti-Trump campaign; you would think that the fact that more Americans died of the virus under Biden might have discredited that deliberate lie, but apparently propagandists like Bacon are sticking with it.
Leaders are judged not by how outsiders (or insiders with an agenda ) view their management style, but by results, and Presidents get credit or blame for what happens on their watch. The only argument that Biden has been a better President than Trump is that progressives don’t like what Trump achieved because he achieved it. (No, “inflammatory statements” don’t cancel out substantive achievements like reduced illegal immigration, energy independence and reversing destructive Obama policies, like prompting colleges to abandon due process in sexual harassment accusations.)
A column like Bacon’s is self-indicting: the news media is biased, and so biased it will even blame itself to confuse citizens about reality. This is why nobody trusts it.