If you are observant during this time of national isolation, you can learn a lot about your country and, perhaps, yourself. This is a once in a lifetime experience that will change many things in America; some for the better, some for the worse.
On display right before our eyes is the collapse of honest journalism. This has been brewing for a while. In fact, Ted Koppel believes that I, your humble correspondent, ignited the situation by injecting opinion into a prime time cable news program beginning way back in 1996. Mr. Koppel said that to my face on The O’Reilly Factor.
But Ted ascribes far too much influence to me. All I did was take the newspaper editorial pages and hone them on television. Nothing wrong with that. Of course, the concept can be misused by dishonest people but that’s been going on since William Randolph Hearst.
What we are vividly experiencing now in America is a herd media mentality that is using the medical catastrophe to sell a narrative to the folks: the virus is largely Trump’s fault and voters must banish him come November.
My opinion is not stated to support or engender sympathy for President Trump. Americans have seen him talk about the pandemic for hours each week. Surely, we the people can arrive at a conclusion about the President using our eyewitness capabilities.
But the actual news reporting on the government’s response to the virus is heavily skewed to make Mr. Trump look bad. The hostility of many in the White House press corps is stark and anyone who denies that is a deceiver. Obviously, the animus directed at Mr. Trump by “objective” reporters violates every journalistic tenet. Reporters can and should ask the toughest questions they can formulate. But they should not inject hostility into the query.
What is happening here is failure to communicate honestly, with apologies to Cool Hand Luke. National news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, and CNN, among others, are all practicing “outcome journalism.” These outfits do not demand their employees search for factual truth. Instead, editors and TV executives want a clear outcome from the pandemic reporting. And that is Trump must go. Therefore, almost every bit of the President’s virus response will be portrayed as wrong, stupid, or even lethal.
It should be noted that there are some pro-Trump expositions in the media, but the hate-Trump presentations heavily outnumber them.
Once a free society cannot get honest, objective information, it becomes less able to make responsible decisions. That is absolutely happening right now in America. The relentless contagion of propaganda funded by massive media corporations has spread to every part of this country.
It is not an overstatement to say the press collapse is a virus that is harming us all. And there’s no vaccine in sight.