Thomas Jefferson said: “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.”
Yet, with the ascent of Donald Trump, first as a candidate and now as President, a new extreme in media distortion and outright fabrications has become routine throughout the so-called mainstream or establishment media. The media bias is compounded by its hypocrisy. While the media of Jefferson’s day wore their political affinities on their sleeves, the media of today masks the bias with pretense, a claim to be neutral guardians of the common good.
During the last election cycle, the media had already counted Trump out and were preparing for a Clinton Presidency. The election of Donald Trump pushed the mainstream media off the deep end. The media bias and outright hatred of President Trump is unprecedented, at least since the Civil War, when Democrat and other pro-slavery media reveled in attacks on President Lincoln.
For many decades, the establishment media made it their sacred duty to protect liberals and liberalism at all costs. Indeed, this bias seemed to be the only thing they held sacred. Unfortunately, most people did not even know of this bias, as there was no rival media that would deviate from the media orthodoxy. Finally, and beginning with National Review in the late 1950s, and then Rush Limbaugh in 1987, followed by other conservative talk radio, and the Fox News Network in 1996, there now are national alternatives. But rather than police the leftwing media, growth of conservative media only seems to have freed the establishment from the last semblance of self-restraint.
The broadcast networks, along with MSNBC and CNN on cable news and The New York Times and The Washington Post in print media, have a narrative, and that narrative is to destroy Donald Trump’s Presidency by any means necessary, truth and journalistic “ethics” notwithstanding. First, they ran with the narrative that Russia “hacked” the election, allowing an unsuspecting reader/viewer/listener to conclude that, absent “Russian involvement,” Mrs. Clinton would be president. This false narrative quickly morphed to include the Trump campaign and President Trump himself as colluders with Russia. None of this has been proven, or will be proven.
There are multiple active investigations into the matter and they have found absolutely no evidence of collusion. The omnipresent Congressman Schiff, dubbed the “little leaker” by President Trump, admitted as much this week, after multiple representations to the contrary over the past year. It remains a leftist fantasy. But it is a fantasy with bite. The media continues to concoct a daily dose of anonymously sourced self-proclaimed, “bombshells,” all of which are designed to suggest that President Trump and his associates nefariously colluded with the Kremlin, and none of which amount to any tangible evidence that would support their thesis. It is now apparent that the origin of these attacks on President Trump may have been the Clinton campaign itself, working in consort with elements of the Intelligence Community. More about that in a moment.
The bias against the President includes both reporting false information that supports the story and not reporting true information that contradicts the story. The media has chosen to ignore the booming economy, record lows of unemployment for African Americans and Latinos, a stock market, which despite a recent anticipated correction and healthy volatility, has reached record highs, systematic deconstruction of the administrative state by repealing a massive amount of oppressive regulations, which allows businesses both big and small to grow, a tremendous decline in illegal border crossings, and the destruction of ISIS.
With the media conglomerate already leaning left, and with enmity for President Trump blinding what remains of its objectivity, it has become a 24/7 Trump bashing self-parody. To lend perspective, some statistics are helpful.
The Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, not known as a bastion of conservative thought, analyzed The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the main newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC coverage of Trump’s first 100 days in office. Its study revealed the coverage to be 80% negative and just 20% positive. In contrast, during President Obama’s first 100 days in office he was determined to have received 59% positive and 41% negative coverage.
A study from the Pew Research Center, another establishment entity not known for its conservativism, revealed that the percentage of news stories about Donald Trump in his first 60 days in office to be 62% negative, 33% neutral and 5% positive. Compare that to the news stories about President Obama in his first 60 days in office in which only 20% of the stories were negative, with 38% neutral and 42% positive. The negative coverage of Trump is more than twice that received by George W. Bush in 2001 and Bill Clinton in 1993, each of whom had a negative coverage of just 28%.
The bias is not limited to attacks on Donald Trump. The establishment media has made it no secret that it subscribes to the Progressive Gospel (the real Gospel, not so much). Examples are global warming as a national security threat, secure borders as exclusive and racist, gun rights and gun owners are bad, and abortion is no longer the Clintons’ 1990s mantra of “safe, legal and rare,” but now “anytime anywhere.” The attack on the President is only the most recent and most dramatic example.
In addition to its ideological opposition to the President, the mainstream media is infuriated by the President’s political incorrectness, and most significantly because he did what almost every single one of the mainstream elites said was impossible. The media to this day is confounded by Trump’s victory and do not understand how and why somebody who took a wrecking ball to all the decorum of political correctness could have triumphed over the perceived inevitability of a President Clinton.
Let’s give credit where due. Having committed to destroy the Presidency, the media is diligent, relentless in the attack. The cost to America or the democracy is a secondary consideration, if even a consideration at all.
As it has become evident that President Trump would survive the concocted Russian collusion allegations, the mainstream media in unison launched an equally offensive –and baseless — assault, that Trump is unfit for office and mentally unstable, requiring his removal as president under the 25th Amendment. The mainstream media proceeded to have psychiatrists from every corner of the country, and in violation of their own guidelines, come on air and opine on the President’s mental health. The evidence for these claims: President Trump’s appetite for Diet Cokes, an occasional McDonald’s hamburger, and a free-wheeling use of Twitter. In contrast, some of our readers will recall the media’s aggrandizing of Bill Clinton for his “everyman” jogs to the Golden Arches.
The gross FISA abuses that have recently come to light, which Attorney General Sessions has referred to the Inspector General, dramatically make the point. The erstwhile civil libertarians of the mainstream media have chosen to ignore or misrepresent these patent Constitutional infringements. With the release of the FISA memo from Devin Nunes and the counter-memo of Mr. Schiff, the media has accelerated into overdrive with its duplicity. Rather than focus on the very real threat to our democracy—the blatant and unconstitutional abuse of the 4th Amendment and our courts by the historical protectors of our democracy, the FBI and the Department of Justice—the media has defaulted to feigned outrage and subterfuge in an effort to distract from these atrocities.
The ironical storyline the media has pushed—that the FISA memo and its authors are the threats to our democracy in their efforts to protect the President—may have exceeded even its high bar for hypocrisy. In fact, the Trump campaign, transition and administration were spied upon using a fictional presentation, styled as a “dossier,” which, while the Justice Department concealed this critical fact from the courts, was nothing more than Clinton opposition research.
In addition, we now know that this “dossier,” was heavily sourced from Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time Clinton loyalist infamous for his dirty tricks. These Blumenthal musings were then laundered through the State Department and then to Christopher Steele, a former British Intelligence Agent, with the intent of lending credibility to what is now largely acknowledged to be wholly baseless accusations, created for the purpose of ensuring Mrs. Clinton’s election and subsequently employed to undermine President Trump’s Administration.
The origin of the allegations contained in the dossier was not divulged to the FISA court when used by the Justice Department and the FBI to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. It is becoming increasingly evident that the media has been complicit in pushing the “Trump Russia Collusion,” narrative in its efforts to remove Trump from office, yet further evidence that the mainstream media has become the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.
Most recently we observe the overwhelming media bias in its treatment of the NRA, and in fact all gun owners and gun rights supporters, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. The mainstream media’s assault on the NRA and its membership is another example of the media’s devotion to the Progressive Gospel. While largely ignoring that evil exists and is to blame for this tragedy, the media instead attempts to exploit the victims and to use this tragic event as an opportunity to question the continued legitimacy of our Second Amendment.
We have no doubt that President Trump will triumph over the media and their masters in the Democratic Party. His record of accomplishment cannot be obscured from the people. But the ultimate victim of the media bias is the people itself, and the mutual trust and self-restraint ultimately necessary for a fully-functioning democracy.
When most of the media is in lockstep with one political party, bad things can happen.
Contrary to the wild-eyed claims of the media, the real threat to our democracy lies in their failure to provide the people with a fair presentation of the news. There is no check on bad actors; everyone is distrusted.
It becomes a contest of Us vs Them, with the unifying words upon which our country was founded, “We The People,” increasingly perceived as a historic relic.