Professional journalists’ lack of credibility gave rise to “alt media”
Say this for The Capital Times, it provides sand for the Squire’s oyster, from which these pearls flow. Intellectual ferment is welcome at the Stately Manor, if not among our acquaintances on the Left.
Paul Fanlund has a column up about the mortal challenge to “professional” journalism (aka: the mainstream news media) from talk radio, Fox News, and on-line media. The editor quotes one of them-there professional journalists who encourages “going out and talking to people in restaurants and bars and parking lots at shopping malls and in churches.”
Given how badly the mainstream news media missed the Donald Trump story, especially here in the Madison bubble — that would seem an imperative. The question is whether reporters would listen even if they did venture beyond Willy Street.
Despite its premise, Fanlund’s piece relies on elite, liberal sources: The Nation, the Washington Post, and especially, The American Prospect (“a progressive national magazine”). No parking lots for Paul. Quoting the latter’s Michael Massing:
Journalists need to break free of their current constricting emphasis on ‘exposés’ and ‘scoops’ and adopt a more expansive program that seeks to bare the underlying realities of money, power and influence in America — to show how things really work.”
Quick, more exposés of the Koch Boys! Which is why Trump voters do not trust the mainstream news media. Saturday’s White House Correspondents dinner only confirmed their diagnosis. Abortion jokes? Bring back Lenny Bruce!
Fanlund laments a bygone time when “the national conversation was based on commonly shared facts, arrived at through professional journalism … held to account by multi-sourced and fact-checked information.” He is quoting the Columbia Journalism Review, another liberal source.
You mean, like the professional journalists at the New York Times?
The liberal crying game
Take the reporter the Times assigned to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Please. Amy Chozick admits to breaking down in tears on election night. (“With reporters like these, who needs flacks?”) Chozick does the leg work, hitting the restaurants, bars and parking lots of Iowa. National Review relates:
When Chozick meets some blonde college girls in Iowa who tell her they support Trump, her internal monologue goes as follows: “‘Seriously?’ I thought for sure these girls were [f***ing] with me or [f***ing] with the democratic process or both.”
Chozick’s subsequent book on the campaign acknowledges that “virtually everyone embedded with the Clinton campaign was a woman who was excited about the prospect of her winning.”
“It’s also fair to ask of the major media’s assignment editors whether the reporters they put on the Clinton beat were even close to being objective observers,” National Review asks.
After Clinton’s certain victory, the Times was prepared to run a full slate of stories exploring various aspects of its darling. In contrast, reports Chozick, as Donald Trump’s victory became increasingly probable on Election Night, an editor in the newsroom was heard to shout, “We got nothing,” meaning no stories prepared for the eventuality of Trump’s victory.Scrambling, the Times repurposed a story that was intended to describe “white patrons at a dive bar in a Pennsylvania steel town ‘crying in their beers’ after Trump lost,” in Chozick’s words. The paper churned it into a tale of Trump’s unexpected triumph. It was pulled together so hastily that it was sent out into the world with the wrong bylines.
Americans don’t trust the news media
This year’s Knight-Gallup poll on the news media finds:
- More Americans have a negative (43%) than a positive (33%) view of the news media.
- 66% say most news media does not do a good job of separating fact from opinion.
- Only 44%, can think of a news source that reports the news objectively.
Would it kill Paul Fanlund, Dave Zweifel, and John Nichols to — once in their careers — talk with an actual, real-life practicing conservative? The professional journalists at The Capital Times might start by talking to the majority of folks in next-door Iowa County — no doubt white patrons of dive bars — about what a great guy is this Todd Novak, the man they elected to represent them in the state legislature.
Except that the 51st Assembly is a swing district and the CT smells an opportunity to elect a Democrat so they publish an over-the-top, partisan hit piece. But it’s their OPINION!
Blaska’s Bottom Line: it’s all about credibility. The monoculture of the mainstream news media lost it well before Donald Trump came down that escalator.