Why Americans don’t trust the news media!
Mark Twain once said if you don’t read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you DO read the newspapers, you are mis-informed.
Anti-Trump New York Times columnist Ross Douthat on the kind of news media bias regularly found in his own publication:
Because the [Wuhan coronavirus] lab leak theory was associated early on with Republican China hawks like Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, given prominence by conservative publications … and eventually picked up by the Trump administration, there was self-reinforcing pressure — among journalists who covered the story and Twitter experts who opined on it — to put the possibility in the QAnon box and leave it there.
I will leave it to the reader to consider how a similar pressure might manifest itself in other areas, from the 2020-21 murder spike to the recent rise in anti-Semitic violence, where journalists might wish to avoid making concessions to conservative interpretations of reality.
Ross Douthat continues:
But let me offer a narrower addition to the media critique. One key change to mainstream journalism in the Trump era was the impulse to tell the reader exactly what to think, lest by leaving anything ambiguous you gave an inch to right-wing demagogy. It was not enough to simply report, “Republican politician X said conspiratorial-sounding thing Y.” You also had to specifically describe the conspiratorial thing as false or debunked misinformation, in a way that once would have been considered editorializing, so as to leave no doubt in the vulnerable reader’s mind.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Compare Douthat’s critique of today’s journalism “telling the reader exactly what to think” with Ann of Althouse’s deconstruction of the Times’ news story on the significant increase in gun sales, especially to women. (Discussed here.) Which the Times labels as a “spree” fueld by “protests” — not riots — and “fear,” not reasonable precaution. And absurdly attributes co-agency with the coronavirus pandemic, not crime.
No wonder so many believe the 2020 election was stolen. Wrong about one thing, why not wrong about the other?