Barbarians at the Gate

barbarian

Donald Trump’s stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton will be sliced and diced in the news media for years. The political significance of what happened on Election Day 2016 can’t be understated.

By all accounts, this was a populist revolt against what many believe is a corrupt, business as usual government designed to benefit the wealthy and connected.

While you were watching a political revolution play out, you were also watching a concurrent revolution in the news media. The revolution in the news media may well have tipped the scales in the 2016 election.

People have been drifting from so called legacy media for years. Just ask print newspaper companies like the New York Times and Gannett.

The reasons range from technology to trust and beyond, but consider that the news media missed the political story of a lifetime when they failed to see the depth and breadth of the Trump phenomenon, or appreciate its significance.

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg’s navel gazing piece the morning after the election makes good points. But he scoffs at the idea of getting to know the people he never knew existed. The thing that made him, and other “elites,” miss the story in the first place.

In the end he can’t help but blame those ignorant barbarians who didn’t go with the press’ choice for president.

Smug much?

One CBS journalist thought so and put it in writing.

Enter stage right:

Organizations like Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, and Tom Fitton’s Judicial Watch are doing things people expect of journalists. Sort of. But, hang on sloopy and consider this.

Is it hard to believe that some disillusioned Bernie Sanders voters, angered by the Democratic National Committee’s collusion with the Clinton campaign to fix the primaries, just stayed home on Election Day?

That would be Wikileaks, which also exposed some of the nasty inner workings of the Clinton campaign. The daily drip of news that confirmed people’s mistrust of Hillary Clinton.

And before you say the Wikileaks saga was a big nothing-burger consider this Jeff Dunetz piece.

Some journalists have a problem with Assange’s method of obtaining his information. Hackers.

But today’s hackers are yesterday’s document thieves. See: The Pentagon Papers.

Troubling? Decide for yourself.

How about reporters going undercover?

Many in the journalism world are unhappy with James O’Keefe’s hidden camera stings. O’Keefe uses deception, such as phony ID’s and aliases. His tactics are frowned upon by many in the news media.

O’Keefe has had run-ins with the law, for trespassing. He’s been criticized for editing video to make his point. He reportedly settled out of court for $100,000 with an ACORN worker after he was accused of misrepresenting him in a video.

While some of his behavior is problematic, journalism is often messy and uncomfortable. It’s why every news operation I’ve ever worked for had lawyers on staff. Journalists make mistakes.

Could on camera admissions of voter fraud and organized political violence from Democratic party operatives have swayed some votes?

I hope so.

Is James O’Keefe an example of today’s gonzo journalist?

Read about the debate, and check out some of the horrible things brave undercover journalists have uncovered going back to the 19th century. Some cool stories.

Judicial Watch has spent years prying loose information for, ”we the people” from our government. Tom Fitton uses Freedom of Information laws and the courts.

Look at his work on Hillary’s State Department e-mails. By the way, note “Vice” as a player in the second paragraph. Fitton has long been a thorn in the Clinton’s side.

And there’s the hacktivist group Anonymous, who went after the KKK in Ferguson, Missouri.

What’s happening reminds me of the days of so called “underground newspapers’ like New York’s East Village Other or the early days of the Village Voice.

They were often counter-culture thorns in side of “polite” journalism and everyone else.

What’s more, technology has spawned “citizen journalism.”

Hacktivist Kim Dotcom Tweeted out this nugget in response to Wikileaks revelations about some reporters:

kimdotcom

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Photo courtesy: Twitter/@aksana_6

Then there’s this from social media activist Cristina Laila:

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Technology has democratized information in ways we couldn’t imagine just a generation ago. It’s allowed everyone with access to the Internet and a computer to become their own journalists and editors. That’s both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.

Exhilarating because change keeps institutions alive and dynamic.

Frightening, because with all those voices, on all those platforms, who do you trust?

Not all of those voices are equal. We need to be more discerning about where get our facts.

Pro tip: Skip the sketchy web-sites that make insane sounding claims you’d like to believe.

This time the barbarians aren’t leveraged buy-out, junk bond traders who destroy companies and jobs like in the great book. They’re the people challenging the conventions of journalism.

Today’s media barbarians are carrying smart-phones and video cameras and tablets. They’re changing the paradigm at light speed.

It seems old media has two choices. Embrace some of those new voices that make you uncomfortable and challenge your beliefs, or face an uncertain fate.

One thing for certain is the barbarians aren’t going away.

 

© 2016 carlgottliebdotnet

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Boycott Trump?

Trumpface
Photo courtesy: The Blaze
The Atlantic’s Ron Fournier made a not so modest proposal this week. He believes the media should boycott Donald Trump until he does the things Fournier says he should do.

Before I criticize his idea, let me note that I read most of his work and have admired him as a journalist and writer for a long time.

Sure, I want to see Trump’s tax returns. I’d like to see everything Ron would like to see, and more. As for the “Russian connection,” it takes more than a claim by a Democratic party operative and a piece in Slate to make something credible. As I’ve said in a prior piece, it took the FBI a year to determine they didn’t know who may have hit Hillary’s server. But we know in two days the Russians hacked into the DNC server because “experts.”

Fournier says political journalism has to change to meet the challenge Trump has presented. Change the rules because you can’t do your job? Now that sounds like journalism.

But boycotting The Donald isn’t enough. Fournier wants media to ban his “surrogates.” You know, those talking heads you see on TV that represent the candidates. It seems fitting Ron would link to a Media Matters “article.” Always a great Soros for news. I mean source.

More silence from a profession that professes more speech. Oh, and punish those whose speech you don’t like for good measure. Anyone else hear the Republic crashing?

Look, Fournier is a pundit. He’s there for his “learned” opinion. To be fair, I’ve seen him hit Hillary really hard too. And maybe to save his journalistic integrity just a tad, he finally gets to Hillary in the last paragraph of his piece. He’d like herself to give up the Wall Street transcripts (please…).

Yet the same Ron Fournier called Barack Obama “the least transparent president in the nation’s history,” but never called for a Barack boycott. Obama tried to prosecute reporters.

Given Hillary Clinton’s remarkable avoidance of the press, outside the most controlled of situations, and her campaign’s apparent go fuck yourself attitude. “We’ll have a press conference when we want to have a press conference” signals a continuation of Obama’s transparency plus Hillary’s epic secrecy.

Of course, being the Washington Post, the piece slams Trump throughout instead of Hillary’s controlling arrogance.

Politicians can only be this arrogant with the media’s acquiescence.

Plain and simple, it isn’t the job of journalists to try and silence speech. I can’t even believe I’m saying that. It’s dangerous and stupid.

While usually a writer who asks us to “do better,” Fournier’s suggestion does worse. It feels like the rant of a frustrated and bitter man.

Fournier says he doesn’t come to his boycott conclusion easily. So before you silence a presidential candidate, here’s a question for Ron and other journalists:

Why don’t voters have confidence in the press?

The elite media, on the left and the right, pound Donald Trump every hour of every day, yet he’s the GOP nominee and holding his own for now. Despite their best efforts over time they’ve gained little traction.

Does the media’s frustration and desire to silence a candidate come from the fact the voters have silenced the media?

 

© 2016 carlgottliebdotnet

Dallas

DMN Front Page
Photo courtesy: Ting Shen/Dallas Morning News

Nearly eight years into Barack Obama’s race baiting of America, he’s finally achieved his goal. Open warfare against, what he believes is, an irretrievably racist white society.

After the shooting of black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, Obama couldn’t resist the opportunity to do what he does best. Divide the nation by race and class.

This was part of his reaction to the shootings:

“All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings,” he continued. “These are not isolated incidents, they are symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”

Instead of waiting for the facts to come in, Obama couldn’t resist the opportunity to push his favorite narrative.

But later, once the consequences of his words became clear, at least five officers gunned down in Dallas with seven more wounded (as well as two civilians), Obama changed his tone, calling the police shootings “despicable.” But his prior words, like birds, can’t be called back once let loose. (Thank you mom.)

And to be sure Obama’s words have had consequences. One of the shooters wanted to, “kill as many white people as possible.”

Dallas Cops
Photo courtesy: Maria R. Olivas/Dallas Morning News

The president has assured the nation justice would be done. A hard sell after Hillary Clinton’s non-indictment for indictable offenses.

But never wasting a crisis, Obama wasn’t quite done. He wouldn’t be the political creature he is without pushing an agenda born of tragedy.

“Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices they make for us,” Obama said of law enforcement officers. “We also know when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic.”

Out of the other side of the president’s mouth Obama said he wanted Friday to “focus is on the victims and their families.”

“Focus on the families,” simply means change the narrative.

In an election year where Americans are worried about their safety and security, the killing of five police officers is political poison for Obama and his party. Spelled H-I-L-L-A-R-Y.

That’s why we’re hearing frantic calls from media to “not politicize,” Dallas.

If only someone had told Jesse Jackson, who couldn’t wait to blame… who else? Donald Trump!

You can’t have it both ways. The president’s surrogates have pushed the racist cop narrative so hard that demonstrators have called for violence. Why wouldn’t you if your leaders have convinced you police don’t care about your life?

But remember this video? Black Lives Matter led the New York street marches after police killed a black man in Staten Island. The chants of the crowd are clear. They want “dead cops.” They want “dead cops now.”

Yesterday, without all the facts, cable news fanned the flames of resentment for ratings. Emotion sells. Especially if it’s politically correct emotion. How could they so soon forget how wrong they were about Ferguson?

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Photo courtesy: CNN

Look at what über-liberal Jonathan Capehart said about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the false narrative that was pushed for months.

It’s time for media and Barack Obama to shut up and allow the system to work. It doesn’t always work, but it’s still the best legal system around.

The racial resentment they both foment just came back to bite them on their collective asses. It isn’t doing the nation any good either.

There’s a saying in journalism that applies to everything. “It’s more important to be right, than to be first.”

The deaths of five police officers in Dallas should be the turning point where media decides it isn’t going to report speculation and rancid, self-serving political opinions, especially in emotionally charged stories. I doubt it will be.

And as I mentioned above, media have already put out the message that this is not a time to politicize tragedy. Too bad they didn’t think of that yesterday.

 

© 2016 carlgottliebdotnet

The Immaculate Indictment

Yesterday’s remarkable performance by FBI Director James Comey, or as I call it, The Immaculate Indictment, would take a religious epiphany for one to conclude Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be indicted based on the evidence presented.

Why “immaculate?”

Because while not an official indictment, Comey indicted Hillary in the court of public opinion.

Fifty four percent of voters polled believe Hillary should have been indicted.

Eighty one percent of the voters, as indicated in the latest Rasmussen Reports Poll, believe the powerful get preferential treatment when they break the law.” Clinton should have been indicted.

Just what this election has been about from the get go.

Them and us.

The people believe the elites play by different rules, made by the elite, for the elite. Have I said elite enough?

Most TV reporters you see on cable or the networks aren’t the “ink stained wretches” of black and white movies. They often party and play with the people they cover. They make a lot of money. They are the elite.

The crossover and intermingling of the worlds of journalism and politics is understandable. You meet people at work. But it’s also understandable that the people might be suspicious. They have every right to be.

Polls show voters believe the media have a pro Hillary bias. [See The Samuel Taylor Coleridge Election].

Here’s a way to try and win back the confidence of some of those voters.

It’s time for the elites in media to pressure the former Secretary of State into an open press conference.  Not a controlled sit down on a set with a sympathetic reporter, no redundancy intended. Not a town hall stacked with anyone’s adoring supporters.

A real press conference. The last one Hillary Clinton held was on December 4, 2015. That’s 215 days, or a little more than seven months ago.

Obnoxious time comparisons:

– It took the Mayflower a little more than three months to make it from England to the shore off of what’s now Cape Cod.

– The gestation period of a grizzly bear is about 220 days.

– The gestation period of an opossum is 12 -13 days. I don’t know if they’re frisky creatures.

Resist shiny things and low hanging fruit.

Donald Trump makes it easy for the media to lose focus on what they’d like to lose focus on. Seems The Donald praised Saddam Hussein. Not the first time, but the first time media was looking for anything to change the narrative. A number of reporters jumped on it. Why not?

It’s a gift to media and Democrats redundant) that Trump seems to lack the ability to process and stop his thoughts before they become headlines. “Dude, do you hear yourself talking?”

The shooting of Alton Sterling, while a big story because of what looks like an execution by police of a black man, shouldn’t be ignored, nor should it be a distraction from Hillary Clinton’s deeds.

I hope the media, especially cable TV, resists the urge to politicize this the way they did Ferguson. Remember the now embarrassingly discredited “hands up don’t shoot” theme of nearly every show on CNN?

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I doubt the social justice warriors in newsrooms will be able to resist, especially with the shooting video to use in teases and promos. Conflict works.

Hint to media: you can cover both stories.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has already handed the investigation over to the Department of Justice and the FBI. It’s time to let the system work. You know, the same system that delighted liberals when it didn’t didn’t indict Hillary. No justice, no peace anyone?

There’s no point in asking the Democrats and Hillary to lay off the racial politics for the good of the country. If they make the calculation a long hot summer is good for their electoral fortunes, there will be a long hot summer.

But back to the media.

Once again the people are telling the media, screaming at the media, “we’re being rat-fucked, please do something.”

When eighty one percent of the people believe they’re screwed it’s a dangerous thing.

To my former colleagues and friends in the media: isn’t it time to get back some of your self-respect? You work for the people, not the politicians. You have the unique opportunity and privilege to hold those politicians accountable. With that privilege comes the responsibility to do so.

Demand Hillary face the press and the people.

 
© 2016 carlgottliebdotnet

The Tweet and Media’s Hypocrisy When it Comes to Anti-Semitism

My first clear memory of someone being openly anti-Semitic to me was in the mid-1950’s. I was probably about six, maybe seven years old.

As I sat on the “Johnny-pump,” fire hydrant to most of you, my young and boundless imagination re-enacted some western I’d no doubt seen on TV. The hydrant became my horse.

The little blonde girl, from the building next door, walked by and considered me. I had noticed her before. She may have been my first blonde shiksa goddess. Not for long.

“Do you know my name?” she demanded. An odd question to ask the first time you meet someone.
“No,” eyes down my shy face burned.
“My name is Christina,” she seemed angry. “Do you know how to spell Christina?” Another question I could only answer with a quiet, “no.”
“Christina has Christ in it and you can’t spell it because you’re a Jew. My Grandpa says the Jews killed Christ.” I remember running to my apartment in tears.

My parents, and nearly all of my aunts and uncles, were holocaust survivors. Most had been out of the camps no more than a dozen years. The memory of the horrors they endured were fresh and still raw, not yet softened by the years.

Some of their physical scars hadn’t faded. Their emotional scars never would. Those scars help shape the lives of people like me.

I grew up with stories about concentration camp “life,” death, and brutality the way most kids grow up with Hans Christian Anderson. My parents and relatives taught me to never accept anti-Semitism.

You’d think I’d be happy with the criticism of the now infamous Donald Trump Star of David tweet. I’m not.

The same self-righteous bull-shitters that shielded Barack Obama from years of sitting in the pews of anti-Semitic preacher Jeremiah Wright, are trying to use a tweet with Star of David imagery to tar Trump.

Wright, by the way, is also a fan boy of Jew baiter extraordinaire Louis Farrakhan.

The media wasn’t rushing to the defense of Jews as Al Sharpton turned his wrath on Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem. People died and now Sharpton has a TV show on MSNBC and advises President Barack Obama.

Here are transcripts of Sharpton’s diatribes as he spurred protesters in the Freddy’s tragedy.

This account of the Freddy’s murders by prolific blogger Yid with a Lid is chilling.

As media continued its full-throated political defense of Judaism over a tweet, Elie Weisel died. Most of the world mourned the loss of a good man who taught the world what the holocaust meant.

Before Weisel’s body is even cold, Max Blumenthal, the son of Hillary Clinton confident, and e-mail buddy, Sidney Blumenthal, goes on a vicious tweetstorm about the man much of the civilized world admires.

Outside conservative media, the story got little coverage.

You may say none of those bigots are running for president. You’d be right.

Wright was Barack Obama’s spiritual advisor. Sharpton became Obama’s political advisor.

With all of the faults in Donald’s briefcase of bombast, I don’t think anti-Semitism is in there. A possibly clumsy tweet, magnified by the echo chamber of a hostile press, looking for the next outrage, doesn’t cut it for me.

Nor do I need the media to stand up against supposed anti-Semitism when it’s politically convenient and supports a narrative they want to push.

What ever happened with Christina? I never spoke with her again. Over the years her brother (I don’t remember his name) tormented me until I caught up with him in size.

One winter afternoon East 165th Street was snowed in between Whitlock and Longfellow Avenues. I saw Christina’s brother coming down the street with a full grocery bag while I played in the fresh, still falling snow.

My slush-ball flew fast and true. It hit him in the back with a heavy thud and his groceries flew everywhere. He ran into his building and his grandfather came for me in a rage. He slapped me hard across my face. At about eleven or twelve I was no match for this brute. I fell into the snow, dazed.

The man at least 40 years my senior berated me with every age old anti-Jew blood libel imaginable as I regained my composure. Sometimes I still think of his face as the closest thing to perfect hate I’ve ever seen.

“I wish Hitler had finished the job,” he spat at me as he walked away.

I made another slush-ball and hit him in the back of the head with it as hard as I could throw. He turned and stared death at me. I didn’t budge.

© 2016 carlgottliebdotnet

The Samuel Taylor Coleridge Election

This November, Americans will likely have to choose as their president one of the two most reviled and polarizing people in American politics.

Putting aside straight up Democrat vs Republican politics, the media should take the blame for two things they hate to acknowledge and likely won’t remedy; lack of trust by the public and their own bias. Both issues have some bearing on how this election has gone so far.

In September 2015, Gallup released its regular Trust in Media poll. What it showed was troubling. Trust in media was at an all-time low of 40%.

And it’s not only Republicans who aren’t feeling the love, where under a third (32%) trust media. Independents are at 33%. Democrats’ trust in media has plummeted from a high of 70% in 2005 to just 54% when the survey was conducted. And in what should be a loud wake-up call, only 35% of those under 50 trust media.

When you don’t trust the messenger, you don’t trust the message.

A more recent Rasmussen Report poll about media bias in election coverage helps us understand a little more about what’s happening. Voters believe, by a wide margin, that the media are biased against Donald Trump and favor Hillary Clinton.

Almost half (49%) believe media are biased against Trump, while only 15% think media are against Clinton. The survey also reminds us that voters believed media was biased for Barack Obama.

And just the other week Gallup dropped this little bomb on the self-righteous newspaper industry. Only 20% have a great deal of confidence in newspapers. Even Democrats and “young adults” have lost confidence in newspapers.

The people are right. Media were in the tank for Obama, and they’re in the tank for Hillary this time around. Think JournoList during the 2008 election.

But forget 2008 for now. A look at how more recent events played out in the news media are revealing.

In early May the NY Times Magazine published a story where Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor to the White House, admitted he and the president’s operatives lied about Iranian moderates to create an echo chamber with reporters (essentially a situation in which opposing viewpoints are suppressed, while the favorable position is constantly reiterated) to help secure the Iran Deal in Congress and influence public opinion. Rhodes also insulted the same reporters calling them a bunch of 27 year olds “[who] literally know nothing.”

Instead of holding the Obama administration accountable for lying, most news media reacted with speed and fury to trash the author, David Samuels. One criticism was that the author should have stated his politics on the issue. Predictably, the story got little traction except for in conservative media. Liberal media tried hard to refute it. After a few days the story died. Here’s how Samuels defended himself.

Weeks later, Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey, of the New York Times, did a piece about Donald Trump’s past behavior with women. The story made little or no real news, yet every morsel was lapped up, analyzed, and Trump criticized and harrumphed over for days on cable shows.

The horrible facts? Trump was a playboy rake, and often a boor, who liked pretty women in bikinis – yet was far ahead of the curve in promoting women in the construction trade despite taking heat for it. Shockingly, at times some women felt Trump was inappropriate.

Despite Barbaro being a frequent Trump Twitter tormenter, no one in media seemed concerned with his political leanings.

The Trump story got many news cycles. The admission by an administration official that one of the main selling points of the Iran Nuclear Deal was bull, got a big “meh.”

How about the media treatment of the long awaited State Department Inspector General’s report about Hillary’s email server?

The IG said that Clinton having a private email server violated federal standards.

When department officials approached Hillary staffers about the server they were sent packing and told never to bring up the subject again.

Not only that, Clinton lied about having permission to use the server. The report said she never even asked to use a private server.

We also know that despite her assurances that she was cooperating with the Inspector General, she refused to be interviewed for the investigation. The only former Secretary of State to not cooperate.

I figured this was curtains for Hillary. I figured wrong.

There was a great start by both the NY Times and Washington Post editorial pages which blasted her. The story got a few days coverage and is now old news to the media.

I don’t mean to single out Jake Tapper, since he usually holds all sides accountable. That’s why I found his May 31 interview with Hillary Clinton frustrating.

I happened to be watching CNN the afternoon Tapper teased us through an hour of waiting for Hillary to call in. I waited because Tapper is usually a no-BS tough interviewer, known to go for the jugular.

Instead, Tapper asked a throw away question citing a USA Today editorial that said of the former Secretary of State, “she is going to have to convince voters that she can put the national security above her short-term self-interest.”

Here’s Tapper’s question: “Do you see this as a challenge that you have to face to convince voters you’ll put national security ahead of your own interests?”

Clinton’s stammering answer: “Well, I have — I think that is obvious. I always have.”

Ya think?

Did anyone believe she’d answer, “Jake, the editorial is correct. It was my intention to hide things from public scrutiny that made me look bad, the national interest be damned.”

Tapper let Clinton ramble on for a while and never pushed her on the issue. Here’s the transcript. Decide for yourself.

Maybe Tapper was having a bad day.

How about a simple, “The Inspector General’s report says you never asked for permission to have a private server. You said you had permission. Which is it?

Or, “You’ve said you were fully cooperating with the Inspector General’s investigation, but the report says you’re the only Secretary of State who refused to be interviewed.” Again, which is it?

Compare and contrast (I’ve always wanted to say that) Tapper’s questioning of Donald Trump about his criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel during the latest Trump storm.

To be sure, the way Tapper interviewed Trump should be, and is, the standard. Obviously, Tapper has the brains and skill to hold The Donald accountable. What people at home rightfully ask is, why didn’t Hillary get the same treatment?

And, more recently it appears Tapper does get it. He seems to understand that people have a right to expect equal treatment of the candidates in going after the truth. So what happened?

The media are not immune to one of the basic reactions of human nature. When people lose faith in anything they seek what they’re looking for elsewhere.

We now have lots of media that will confirm your bias no matter what you believe. Liberals don’t seek news on conservative sites and conservatives won’t go to liberal sites. Neither side finds the other’s media credible. Each sides abuses the other on social media.

The problem is while folks may be reading, watching, or listening, no one is hearing anything they don’t want to hear. This is true for those on the left and the right.

Try confronting a Clinton supporter with the recent IG’s report. When finally conceding to facts, Clinton supporters inevitably go with, “all politicians lie.” You get the same from Trump supporters.

Try telling a Bernie Sanders supporter his ideas are nice, but pie-in-the-sky socialism hasn’t worked anywhere ever. Be prepared to get blasted.

No matter who a voter supports in 2016, truth is expendable in defense of that position. The argument has become “the other guy’s lies are worse.” Theater of the Absurd, anyone?

The news media are a vital public institution that rely on buy-in from the public to be effective. When more than half the people don’t trust you, and your only capital is trust, it’s a problem.

A few commentators have already mentioned the lack of conservatives in newsrooms leading to groupthink bias. It’s even been said that reporters are out of touch with the people they write about. Both allegations are true.

Media can dismiss this as an old complaint, but dismiss at your own peril.

How else to explain the rise of a phenomenon like Donald Trump that media never even saw coming?

Journalism, at its core, is a conversation with the people. How do you have that conversation when you don’t even know who the people are?

How do have that conversation with people you look down on? Elitism is a problem.

If the people believe media’s approach to covering news is slanted and tell them so, isn’t media obliged to have that conversation? Instead, what people get is mockery and derision. Look at the rage from the punditry directed at supporters of a guy they didn’t take seriously.

It feels like the rage of impotence.

Most journalists don’t intentionally set out to do biased news, even though that’s exactly what they wind up doing. Stories are conceived and executed from a liberal point of view whether it be conscience clearing “social justice” stories or political reporting. Everything is framed in a politically correct way because the majority of people who work in the news media now see things that way. Everything seems reasonable when those around you agree.

[Note: The only thing that beats political correctness in newsrooms is money. A subject for another time.]

And while journalism has rightfully made great strides in many types of diversity – newsrooms look very different from when I started in the early 1970’s – diversity of thought remains the lone outcast.

If you were in journalism when Fox News started, you know there was great gnashing of teeth from the journalism establishment about a channel with a conservative slant. The notion that a profession devoted to ideas would be worried about more ideas was telling. Some journalists went out of their way to try and discredit the new cable network.

The free market spoke and Fox News has all but destroyed their cable competition by simply offering another point of view. Some call it choice.

Look at the May 2016 ratings. Despite some recent gains by CNN, it’s a Fox News ass kicking.

In business terms it was an underserved audience the big brains in media either didn’t know or care about. How do you know an audience you won’t even acknowledge exists?

CNN’s reaction to the new network was a lesson in how not to respond to competition. They didn’t take Fox seriously.

Many of the raging pundits (band name?) have complained that this has become a post truth election because of Donald Trump. Nothing could be further from the truth. The press and pundits are the reason.

Anyone who payed attention watched the media give Barack Obama an easy ride into the White House in 2008. There were even reporters who conspired to attack Obama critics as racist. Not because they were racists, but because it was part of a strategy to discredit Obama’s critics and get him elected. I referred to JournoList earlier. Check out this hot mess.

All that needs to be said about the 2012 election is GloZell. Great vetting job. No really, great job.

What many news consumers saw is a media reluctant to go after both parties equally.

The people saw a president who did his best to squelch, and even prosecute news coverage, despite continuing to claim to be “the most transparent administration.”  The transparency president went after reporters and their parents. Ask Fox News’ James Rosen and the AP.

Where’s the self-respect in the “rock star” worshiping press when Pulitzer Prize winner James Risen of the New York Times wrote that Obama is “the greatest enemy to the press freedom in a generation.”

Maybe Jack Shafer of Politico put it best when writing about the irony of Barack Obama, enemy of the press, being chosen to give out press awards.

Despite Barack Obama’s antipathy for the press, media continues to lay off real critical coverage. Criticism of Obama hurts his legacy and reflects poorly on Hillary.

Why should the people trust the media about Trump when they couldn’t trust the media about Obama or Hillary?

Think the fun and games are over?  In this election cycle (so far), some of Hillary Clinton’s released emails revealed reporters from CNN and Politico helping her with coverage. Transactional journalism or something.

There is a danger to our way of life when the news media aren’t trusted.

That danger comes when a really bad actor shows up and the people ignore the press. If you’re on the right you believe the media have already ignored the current “emperor and the empress wannabe.” If you’re on the left, you believe the media haven’t hit the next potential “emperor” hard enough.

I frequently say I love this election. I love it because the people have sent the news media a loud and unmistakable message we’ve heard before: “I’m angry and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

So, Samuel Taylor Coleridge? Yes.

Almost 200 years ago Coleridge came up with the concept of the, “willing suspension of disbelief.” That is to say, if one could make a story, or narrative, so appealing through “human interest and the semblance of truth” people would believe even the most fantastic stories. The problem is Coleridge was writing about fiction.

 

Thanks to Josh Gottlieb for the second pair of eyes. You too MF.

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