President Donald Trump and the media are a match made in the Tenth Circle of Hades. It’s like the Ninth Circle, but it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the Ninth. Plus, it’s on the bus line and it has great public schools. Whenever Trump says something, the media analyze it, have “experts” talk about it, figure out what kind of spin to put on it, and then broadcast it to the world without checking facts. Then, when the President gets upset and comments on it, the media pretend they’re under attack (in spite of the fact it’s their crappy reporting that created the problem in the first place).
To hear the Left talk about it, freedom of the press is under attack because of President Trump. “We are the first line of defense against the Trump Administration,” media figures cry as they find the closest American flag to wrap themselves in for that added effect. (I’m looking right at you, Keith Olbermann.) Whether you agree with the Left or are smarter than a bag of hammers, it’s time to take a look at the institution secured in the First Amendment.
freedom of the press
What the Left believes it means – a sacrosanct right that allows the press to act like the Fourth Estate and keep politicians honest
What it really means – a right that the Left has abused so the press can act like the Fifth Column to the Right and lapdogs to the Left
As a former journalism school student, I have a deep respect for reporters who go out and find news stories that matter. I want to buy you two or three good reporters a beer.
As for the rest of the media, I need to have a word with you. I know you think you’re doing great work trying to protect us from the evils of the Trump Administration, but you’re about as useful as the stick after you eat a corndog. And if you don’t know what a corndog is, that’s part of your problem, but we’ll talk about that later.
Let’s deal with the neon green elephant in the room: you guys and gals aren’t helping the situation under your current business model, which makes Gawker look responsible. How many stories have you run with that have been poorly sourced, if they were sourced at all? How many hit pieces have you published or broadcast over minutia like whether Donald Trump’s daughter’s nanny’s brother’s cousin’s optometrist’s dog walker had an overdue library book in 1978? How many times have you had to print or broadcast retractions to cover your collective hinders after being exposed as being hacks?
And you wonder why the media are trusted less frequently than used car salesmen.
Yes, the First Amendment gives you the right to publish and broadcast the news, but it also gives me the right to call you out when you suck at your job. And right now, a billion Dysons at the center of a black hole can’t reach your level of suck. And, no, claiming to be defending the freedom of the press isn’t a shield from legitimate criticism. Say what you want about President Trump (and I know you will), he has a point about the current state of reporting. A lot of the news being generated from your ranks falls into a handful of buckets: celebrity, tragedy, political expediency, and stuff you make up to fill air time or column inches. Sometimes you combine some of the items in the buckets (like if Justin Bieber comes out with a new CD supporting Planned Parenthood and, when played backwards, gives proof of aliens at Area 51), but the point is you aren’t doing the best work right now.
Think about the reporters who came before you. Would Edward R. Murrow consider what you’re doing to be good reporting? Do you even know who Murrow is? If not, learn about him and try to emulate him whenever you can. And while we’re here, Keith Olbermann isn’t the second coming of Ed Wood, let alone Edward R. Murrow.
Freedom of the press is a legitimate shield in a lot of cases, and I wouldn’t want any politician, Left or Right, to curtail your right to report. Having said that, the right to a free press comes with the responsibility to use it responsibly. That’s where you folks are going wrong. Look at CNN’s Jim Acosta, for example. You may look up to him as a tough journalist, but if you strip away the ideological lenses, he’s trying to feather his own nest by trying to bring down Trump with nonsensical questions. That doesn’t help your legitimacy at all. And I can list a number of high-profile nothingburgers the media have put forth as news within the past few months. Shouldn’t you try to be more reliable than a Smart Car in a demolition derby?
Until then, I have a simple request. Stop pretending you’re doing something noble by defending freedom of the press against the Trump Administration and weed out the bad faith players within your ranks. Then maybe you can not only restore your former credibility, but have more people willing to support you when you take a stand in defense of the freedom of the press.