Editorial Dispatch: Another stellar week for the media – Sentinel & Enterprise

This was the week everything broke.

First the DesMoines Register poll, an important bellwether for the crucial Iowa Caucuses, broke.  Then the vote-counting process in Iowa broke. Then Democrats at the State of the Union broke.

More fantastically, though, after the historic address to Congress, the elite media broke.

When President Trump gave his State of the Union speech we were told it would be “low key.” Instead, it was a show for the ages, replete celebrations of heroes like Tuskegee airman, General Charles McGee, and Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Hake who was killed during his second tour of Iraq.

Yes, President Trump touted his achievements and there was a nod to Rush Limbaugh, who has stage four cancer, but the most-compelling portion of the address was not about Trump – it was a celebration of patriots and it featured emotional stories and interactions with invited guests in the gallery.

But that’s all it took for national journalists to melt down.

Even before the president left the House chamber, MSNBC’s Brian Williams, in a tone evocative of a mournful funeral eulogy, worked through the play by play of the evening.

“Hard to put how unusual this was,” Williams bemoaned.”…. The dark parts were dark. The bizarre parts were bizarre, down to the awarding of the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh by the First Lady during the speech which at so many points differed from the truth.”

NBC’s Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt boiled over, ranting, “I just cannot underscore how poisonous the atmosphere in here felt throughout this speech.”

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CNN’s Jake Tapper was equally miffed, declaring: “President Trump gave a speech that was really not aimed in, for most of it, on uniting the room or the country. It was aimed at appealing to conservatives with red meat Republican issues.”

Back on MSNBC, former Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter sniffed out something even more pernicious.  “It’s one thing to lie in tweets,” he said. “And, you know, people are absorbing them at different times, and it goes through the news cycle. But when you’re doing it repeatedly in real time, and part of it is Goebbels, the big lie.”

Poison, Nazis and darkness.

It is just fine for a journalist to have his or her own opinion but when blind hatred for the person they’re covering clouds their judgment and distorts their ability to cover the news in a neutral fashion it is bad for everyone.

Most people work hard for a living and they don’t have the time to consume news by the ton and weigh the accuracy of every story.  Americans trust their news sources to do the analysis for them. They expect that well-paid anchors on television will tell the truth.

Sadly, that is not where we are in 2020.  Most people in traditional media are liberal.  Many do not consider themselves to be but they are victims of the bubbles in which they operate.

A 2014 survey by Lars Willnat and David Weaver at Indiana University found that only 7% of journalists identified themselves as Republicans. Ideally, earning a journalism or comparable degree would mean a newly minted graduate had been taught to be neutral but with today’s academic institutions steeped in progressive philosophy, it is easy to see how we have arrived where we are.

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We deserve better.

Thankfully, alternative spaces for news and analysis are growing at a rapid rate, led by the podcast revolution.  Perhaps that is the key to unbiased news and a less divided society.


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