The mainstream media elite (or “press”) is an information business built upon trust. The bedrock of the mainstream’s media’s trust from our society stem from two principles closely intertwined with each other: the principle of objectivity (being unbiased) and the principle of credibility. Unbiased means that you are dispassionate and objective. Credible means that you are reporting real facts. In order for us to trust the media without question, the media must be perceived as both unbiased (objective) and a credible source of information. When one of the two principles becomes questioned, the pillars of societal trust in the media become suspect. When both of them are gone, the media is in real trouble.
I too am in the information business. I am an admittedly biased source of information. I am a biased source of information both in favor of and about my clients. Yet, the court still considers me credible since I do not lie to the court. If I don’t know something, I’ll admit it to the court. I have done so before, sometimes to embarrassing results to myself personally. If there is a case on point that is negative to my position, I disclose it. Unlike the public, the court has the benefit of an adversarial system. If there was no adversary, my cases would be more like the prosecutors in FISA proceedings where the judges only hear from one side, the government. Without the benefits of the adversarial process, FISA judges rule in favor the government 99.97% of the time. Most lawyers I know think that these sort of ex parte proceedings are very bad for our republic.
Since there is no other side in the media to provide balance, the media relies on the principle of objectivity. This principle is an even higher standard than merely being credible. It means that you are not biased or dispassionate. In other words, it means you don’t have an agenda. It means that you disclose both signs of an argument or both sets of facts. Many in the media believe that their reputation for being unbiased is the source of their credibility. I agree. If you hold yourself out as being unbiased, you are perceived as being more credible as a source for information than if you are not. Being a lawyer, I don’t disclose if my client committed a murder. Instead, I make the state prove it. However, if I held myself out as someone who would disclose that my clients have committed murder, I might be more credible with the judge but I’d also have a very short legal career.
The mainstream media elite refers to themselves as the “fourth estate” or “fourth branch” of government. They know that there isn’t a fourth branch of government. They mean that metaphorically (or sarcastically). Maybe they used to be the fourth estate, but it’s not what they do for us anymore. It is what they claim they do. In other words, the media claims that they keep an eye out for you on the truth by watching the government to “keep’em honest”. It is this foundation of an honest broker of facts that is the entire basis that the media depends upon for us to trust them. The mainstream media (“press”) claims that a free press means that the press will report objectively on the news.
The media wants you to think that a free press means that they will always provide objective news. But if you look to their behavior, it’s clear that what the press wants you to think a free press means is not what they really mean. What it means is that they are free to couch their own opinion on what they think matters as a substitute for actual facts. This begs the question: what happens when the mainstream media’s credibility gets thrown out the window? Thanks to the 2016 Presidential election, we are about to find out.
Our democracy is under attack this election cycle. And it’s not under attack from who you think it is. It’s not under attack from Hillary Clinton. It’s not under attack from Donald Trump. It’s under attack from the elite media, otherwise known as the mainstream media (“press”). The media elite is obsessed with ensuring that Donald Trump loses. They are now not even bothering to hide it. In a Isaac Chotiner interview article on Slate.com, Glenn Grenwald stated, “the U.S. media is essentially 100 percent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president.” This isn’t coming from a conservative. Those words come from a far left liberal journalist.
The mainstream media elite is so obsessed with ensuring that Mr. Trump loses, they have let both the principle of objectivity (being unbiased) and the principle of being credible go out the window. To the media elite, nothing is more important than stopping Trump. I’m not sure that the media elite even realizes the consequences of what it is that they are doing. Although the litany of examples are numerous, it’s mostly outside the scope of this article. I’ll mention some but if you need a list, check out this article from Peter Navarro or Victor Hanson’s article at the National Review. It will get you started.
As Mr. Grenwald notes, at this point in the election cycle, the mainstream media elite haven’t just taken a side in this election, the media elite have gone all in. And, in so doing, the mainstream media has knowingly thrown its own credibility out the window in an unabashed effort to sway the electorate into voting against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I hope I’ll never see it again, but that’s wishful thinking. The media’s bias is so pervasive, so over the top in it’s blatancy, that we are literally witnessing history. We are witnessing the death of the press as we know it. Everything the media does in the presidential election must now be viewed through the Prism of bias and propaganda in support of Hillary Clinton.
Blatant Media Bias
The biased coverage is not just in words or per minute coverage, sometimes it’s more subtle, such as in the presentation itself. Completely unreported by anyone is the contrast in coverage between the DNC and the RNC by major news organizations. I’ll cite two quick examples: CNN and the Washington Post. During the coverage of the DNC, CNN provided five times more videos from the DNC than the RNC. Much more subtly, but not lost on me, was that CNN changed their website on their traditional home page from its’ normal plain white background for the RNC to a multi-graphic blueish hue for the DNC. The subtle message was that the DNC was a bigger deal than the RNC. As for the Washington Post, when the RNC was live, the Washington Post’s website had only articles to click on while the convention was going on. Meanwhile, when they covered the DNC, the Washington Post forced readers to view a video of the actual DNC convention on the desktop of the web browser. In other words, if a reader went to the Washington Post while the DNC was occurring, the reader was going to watch coverage of the DNC whether they liked it or not. However, the week prior the Post provided no such forced coverage of Republicans on their website when they covered the RNC.
From Media Bias to Blatant Disregard for the Facts
You might recall that last week the media claimed that Mr. Trump asked Vladimir Putin to hack into Hillary’s emails to find the missing 30,000 emails from the State Department. This was in response to the release of DNC emails from WikiLeaks. The DNC emails showed that the Democratic Party had directly interfered in their primary process and intentionally sabotaged Bernie Sanders’ election campaign. The media’s response to this outrage was unusual. At first, the media ignored the leak. The emails were leaked on Friday, July 22, 2016. They remained unreported until DWS resigned on Sunday, July 24, 2016. At that point, the media covered the story since it was part of why DWS resigned.
In covering the DNC email scandal, the media elite cited a bogus claim by the Clinton campaign which argued that the “Russians” were behind the leak. In support of this contention, the media cited unnamed anonymous sources. Some speculate that the media isn’t making up these anonymous sources out of thin air to fit their predetermined narrative. Instead, some speculate that the media is probably referring to officials from FireEye or Crowdstrike, two companies with lucrative Federal networking defense contracts. Interestingly, Crowdstrike also provides networking security for the DNC, what is what got hacked. The problem with using anonymous sources is that no one is on record supporting the claim. Instead, we simply have anonymous sources who are “cyber experts” who claim a Russian connection. Maybe they were a Crowdstrike exchange administrator temporary contractor or maybe they weren’t. We simple have no way to know for sure. Plus, as Adam Johnson has noted, these allegations still remain entirely unproven.
Why does this matter? It matters because citing a Russian connection serves the media’s interest in deflecting attention away from the truth. And this is that there is actual real evidence that the DNC has engaged in systematic bias to support Hilary Clinton’s campaign in the primary itself. All of this undermines Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, which if we are to believe Mr. Grenwald, is something that can not be tolerated by the media because it helps Trump. Therefore it must be minimized.
From Blatant Disregard for the Facts to Outright Fabrication of Facts
When Mr. Trump conducted his press conference on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Mr. Trump sarcastically suggested that maybe the Russians could help find the missing 30,000 emails from Hilary Clinton. Although some in the mainstream media elite correctly noted that it was sarcasm, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times all claimed that Mr. Trump was asking the Russian Government to commit espionage by hacking into Ms. Clinton’s emails and release U.S. state secrets.
Let’s ignore for a moment that Mr. Trump said it was sarcasm. The media’s outrage was still disingenuous because they knew or should have known that it would have been impossible for the Russians to hack into the missing 30,000 emails. Why? The email account no longer exists. The Russians can’t hack into an email account that does not exist. In the mist of their faux outrage, the media failed to disclose this fact to the public. Also worth noting is that if the missing emails did contain state secrets, this element undermines Clinton’s claim that they were just really personal emails. Third, Mr. Trump clearly noted it was sarcasm. Yet, the media went nevertheless continued on with their assertion that Trump was engaging in espionage.
The media looks for any inconsistency it can find against Trump and then amplifies and distort it’s meaning. Meanwhile, the mainstream media elite ignore Hillary Clinton’s transgressions or confines them to page D13 news. Take the recent spat about Trump v. Khan for an example. The media reports Khan as a father of a war hero who famously branded the constitution at the DNC in Philadephia last week. This is a favored media narrative. They view any immigration restriction as discrimination that is bad. The whole episode was clearly a setup. The question is whether it was a setup by the press and the DNC, or just the press following the DNC’s narrative. Both of them forgot to do their own due diligence. In using Mr. Khan, the press failed to disclose that Mr. Khan is a donor to the Clinton Foundation, has ties to Saudi Arabia, and is a lawyer who worked for a pro-immigration law firm with an emphasis in Muslims immigrating into the United States from the middle east. The ties to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative seem most damning, but these issues remain completely unmentioned by the press. Meanwhile, those on the right stew that the the press has ignored a similar battle between Hillary Clinton and Patricia Smith, a mother who blames Ms. Clinton for her son dying at Benghazi which was subsequently covered up by Hillary and the Obama administration. These aren’t the only examples.
Today we learned that the Reuters new organization has decided to change how they weight their own polls. In so doing, Reuters has “cooked the books” by choosing to alter their poll results to show that Hillary Clinton is leading in the polls by a wider margin than she really is. Even worse, they back-dated their changes and removed the old polls from their website so you wouldn’t notice the change.
What does this mean for our country?
Answer: Not good.
What does it mean that the press is now willing to outright lie to the public to advance their own anti-Trump agenda? Plus, has the mainstream media elite gone too far and fundamentally lost the trust of the American public? If the media hasn’t, is there a point of no return?
The more the media has cried wolf about Trump, the more we start to question their integrity. They seem to cry wolf louder and louder each week hoping that the public will fall in line and do as they are told and vote for Hillary Clinton.
As a result of their disdain, the mainstream media elite label anyone who votes for him or plans to vote him as an idiot. The media elite have labeled people who vote for Mr. Trump stupid, uneducated, mostly œwhite males who are utter buffoons. Yet meanwhile, there are college educated men who are voting for Mr. Trump. There are also women who are voting for Mr. Trump. There are Hispanics for Trump. There are African Americans for Trump. There are Bernie Sanders supporters for Trump. As I learned long ago, you’ll never convince someone to change their mind when you call them a stupid idiot. Yet, every single day, this is exactly what the media does to Trump supporters.
While the mainstream media elite demonize Mr. Trump, the public sees a vastly different person. The media criticize Mr. Trump for his failure to provide sufficient policy details and for his plain speaking. Where the media obsess about œpolicy details and œwonkishness , Mr. Trump understands that the public doesn’t care about the details. Mr. Trump speaks to you like he’s sitting across you from a coffee table. He doesn’t speak in prose. He doesn’t try to sound intelligent like President Obama. Mr. Trump speaks to us like a normal person would in a coffee shop. Which begs the question: how does the media talk to each other?
The elite media’s scorched earth approach to killing Mr. Trump’s election chances creates unintended consequences. It has caused many to question the media’s integrity. I suspect that the media elite wishfully thinks that even though you may be questioning their integrity now, you will forgive them after the election and all will be forgiven. They are deluding themselves. Second, they reinforce the possibility that Trump will win the election. The media elite’s over the top nature of the coverage causes one to question the motive of any of their messages. The more the media cries wolf and not to vote for Mr. Trump, the more we want to vote for Mr. Trump because of our growing distrust of the media.
The media views Mr. Trump as such a threat to themselves that they are taking the position of “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission”. They view Mr. Trump as the definitive danger of our time. They equate him to Hitler. All of this is unfair to the public, not to mention grossly unfair to Mr. Trump. I think the media elite views Mr. Trump as such a danger that they simply don’t care that they’ve lost credibility. The media elite thinks they know better than us what is good for us. Their coverage tells us that they we are too stupid to know for ourselves or formulate our own opinion. The media thinks they know what is best for us and we can’t possibly know or understand, so they will tell us how to think. Unfortunately, in lecturing us about Trump, the media has taken it taken it far.