My unequivocal answer to this is yes, they oppose press freedom.
Well, we’ll have to disagree. My basis for that disagreement is that unlike other nations in history, the utterances of the President have zero legislative weight, thanks to our system of checks and balances. That creates a rather substantial difference between him and other authoritarians of unDemocratic nations.
I have to ask, does it not scare you that certain polls demonstrate that almost half of voters believe the media fabricates stories about Trump and his administration? Do you believe this, out of curiosity?
I do not believe that. My view is that the press doesn’t just create something out of nothing, but is (for the most part) in the business of picking and choosing stories and spin that make Trump look bad, while ignoring his accomplishments, which already, from a legislative standpoint, eclipse (or at least match) that of the prior president. And when an accomplishment does in fact occur, goes out of their way to spin the story in a negative light.
Examples abound. To pick one, let’s take corporate tax reform. The corporate tax reform package is probably the most important and consequential economic legislation we’ve had since the Reagan Era. Obama proposed a package very much like it (there was a difference in the marginal rates of 7%) which renders complaints about the corporate tax package from the left rather hypocritical; at the time, they were whining about the fact that McConnell wouldn’t commit to considering the package at all.
The key features of the tax package were (a) lowering the rates to international averages, and (b) restructuring the way that the US treats overseas earnings. Both were creating a perverse incentive for our megacorporations to hire and produce overseas.
Unfortunately, either Trump or some economically-ignorant GOP congresscritters (or both) mentioned that the bill should be supported because its benefits would flow to the worker, which was possible (and has in some cases), but was decidedly NOT the reason why the bill needed to be passed.
Well, since then, all the muttering idiots in the press have done is “grade” the bill based on how much measurable benefit is flowing to the worker, and ignore the very important reasons why corporate tax reform needed to occur.
I would note that there is a significant difference between getting a story wrong (misinformation) and outright lying (disinformation).
I agree. But it’s often difficult to tell the two apart.
In Trump’s case, his base understands that he’s not a polished politician who is going to have every utterance checked for accuracy prior to speaking. So, they take him seriously, but not literally. The fact that he fumbles around on details isn’t concerning to them; it’s kind of why they voted for him. And unless a critic can say that he definitely knew better and lied anyway (after all, a “lie” has to be an intentional act, or it’s not a lie), they’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Here, you’re closer to where I might agree. And in your last point, where you point out that (in this piece) I am silent on media complicity, you’re right. For-profit news does our democracy no favors. And I can tell you that (and again, this is just based on my experience), news is definitely a product that is created with a consumer in mind. I see you work in data, in some capacity, so you likely understand this better than I do. In other words, news is perfectly capitalistic. There’s something antithetical to true press freedom in that, too.
I quite agree.
she eviscerated them for their complicity in neglecting the pursuit of anything resembling a profit-blind (or even, profit-neutral) ethos of newsgathering.
And that’s fine, but leads back into my subsequent point about selective treatment, based on whether or not you like the politician personally and/or agree with their policies. If she had included a “where were you when Obama promised ‘if you like your plan, you could keep it’ in her list of media sins, then her message would not have been sullied by partisanship.
The power of words is immeasurable.
Hm. Words? Or delivery? I never listen to a political speech, and avoid doing so. I am a public speaker myself, and trust me, I know how to manipulate the audience. Mr. Bush had horrible delivery, and it was torture to sit through one of his speeches (I tried it once, and lasted not even five minutes) but his speeches were content-rich. Mr. Obama was an excellent public speaker, but usually said very little of consequence. But if you read the people commenting on those speeches, you would have thought the reverse was true.
Without going too far into it, we must pay attention to what our president says. Always. It’s just as important and in some cases more important than what he does.
Well, nobody’s suggesting he be ignored. But the “grain of salt” adage comes to mind. His base takes him seriously but not literally; the press, OTOH, takes him literally but not seriously. The flaws wash each other out.
Substantively, you’re right. But analogously, you’re way off. False equivocation does not catalyze progress — Obama isn’t our president, Trump is.
That’s not my point. My POINT is that Michelle Wolf (et al) lack the moral authority to comment on Trump, because she (they) ignored consequential lies from the president (we assume) she (they) prefers.
I quite agree that Trump is the POTUS, Obama isn’t. But if the media WANTS to be taken credibly, then they MUST treat all political views with equanimity, fairness, and equal time. It’s not a Trump vs Obama issue; it’s a GOP vs Democrat issue, and a conservative vs. liberal issue.
(You’ll recall in both the 08 and 12 campaigns, various GOP candidates, particularly Gingrich, got rousing applause whenever they/he would take a potshot at the press. The view that the press is biased against conservative thought is not new to Trump; it’s been around my entire lifetime, and I’m 63. In that period of time, examples abound of disparate treatment of the two “sides”, the most striking examples being the fact that a person who should have been imprisoned for vehicular manslaughter (Kennedy) was never held to task by the media (much less law enforcement); and then, of course, the Lewinsky matter, which was reported on only because Matt Drudge was making monkeys out of the mainstream with his reporting.
Well, true — I didn’t go into that in the first piece. But I hope it’s clear now that I have a somewhat complicated relationship with news and news consumption, and that the media is absolutely culpable. But they’re not liars — maybe a few could be termed liars, but I think it’s an enormous mistake to group them all in that category. Above all, we really need good reporters now.
Without objection. What do you think of this, btw?