Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Give The Press A Lot Of The Blame

If they had spent much less time and energy trying to understand and empathize with Trump's voters and much more time and energy trying to warn them that Trump is an exceptionally dishonest liar who has no intention of helping them at all, then we might not be in this mess.

A house catches fire. "Objective journalism" is careful not to let any opinion show about whether the fire is good or bad. A helpful person, on the other hand, screams: "THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" and calls 911.

Chris Matthews was especially unhelpful about Trump. Yes, Matthews has always thought that Trump would be a disaster as President. But for every moment he's spent on the air saying so, he's spent minutes marveling at what a good politician Trump is. If you tend to just channel-surf past "Hardball," Matthews' program on MSNBC, you might well think that Matthews was a Trump supporter. Matthews is an especially bad offender, but most of the other people on his show and similar shows have spent much too much time trying to understand the Trump phenomenon and much too little time trying to warn people about Trump.

And the news intake of most voters is much closer to channel-surfing than attentively watching an entire news program from start to finish, much less reading entire op-eds. And if anyone should know that, it's journalists.

And the news programs which are most watched start to finish in the US, the broadcast network news half-hours, are probably the most careful of all to be "objective," and to avoid screaming that the house is on fire. A few journalists in the US may have been sufficiently shaken by the disaster of this election to wake up from the illusion of "objective journalism." I'm afraid, however, that most of them are patting themselves on the back and telling each other that they "presented the facts" and did all they could do and oh well.

I call bullshit. A typical headline in this campaign has been: "Trump has connected with millions of people who feel frustrated" about this or that. A much more factual, much more true headline would have been "Trump is lying non-stop to millions of people who are frustrated, conning them into thinking he'll help them. That's what he does, he lies and cons people and uses them and abuses them and rips them off."

This huge mistake which is called "objective journalism" is hurting us very badly. We can do so much better than this so-called "objective journalism."

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