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institutions and legitimacy
The Biggest Threat to the Media is the Media Itself
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  • Jim__L

    The Mainstream Media has been pushing Political Correctness for so long, and trashing traditional American values for so long, that it’s a surprise anyone takes them seriously anymore. Remember that Christmas where the late-and-unlamented Newsweek decided to push the gay agenda (absurdly claiming the Bible supports homosexuality) instead of writing an article about Christmas, which the vast majority of Americans still celebrates even today?

    Journalists need to get out of their urban echo chamber, where the traditional values their families have always held are battered day-in, day-out, by nihilistic Leftist political propaganda.

    I couldn’t be happier that the Mainstream Media is finally destroying itself. There are enough spots on the web where careful journalism is taken seriously, that it will not take long for the search for the truth to rise phoenix-like from the ashes.

    That will not happen on Mainstream Leftist websites, and it will not be employing Leftist J-school ideological clones currently undergoing their Snowflake Meltdown. Their day is ending, and none too soon.

    • Andrew Allison

      Seems to me that the longer journalists remain in their “progressive” echo chamber the more irrelevant they will become — and that’s a good thing.

      • Genesis123

        I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a “good” thing. Yes, it is better to do your own research than to be fed propaganda. But having a strong, independent, fact-based media is, in my opinion at least, an absolute necessity in a functional democracy. I could be wrong. The rise of the Internet and the ability of individuals to find information for themselves could be upending that paradigm. I honestly don’t know. But I see and respect where you are coming from.

        • Andrew Allison

          Might I suggest that the longer journalists remain in their progressive echo chamber the sooner we’ll have a fact-based media.

          • Genesis123

            I agree. In the long run, this thinning of the herd that is happening in the media is a good thing indeed. I just worry that we are in for a bumpy ride in the next decade or so. I’m a parent, I worry.

      • Jim__L

        The term “journalist” seems to have gotten a bad odor these days. I think that what people would have called a “journalist” seventy years ago is as extremely relevant a ever; what passes for such today, not so much.

        • Andrew Allison


          • Jim__L

            Do you think it would help if we started calling them “reporters” again?

            I mean, it’s not like keeping a journal, it’s reporting what’s happening.

          • Andrew Allison

            If only! Today’s journalism, by and large, consists of (primarily left-wing) opinion pieces. There’ very, very little objective reporting going on.

    • (((kingschitz)))

      Well put.

      I would add but one thing. In the old days, journalists were taught to never allow themselves to become the story. In our day, where a narcissistic public persona is encouraged, no activity, including journalism is exempt from virtue signaling. The result transforms the story into a story about what I or my network thinks about the story.

      • Boritz

        True. Obama could give a U.S. carrier task force and a couple of nuclear submarines to Iran and the story would be the lousy, hateful reaction of the Republicans, and will they overreach in their overreaction.

    • RedWell

      Lots of key words, here, but where will you get your news if the mainstream media collapses? I’m not defending the left-bias of these outlets, but let’s not be cavalier with the people doing work that most conservatives can’t or won’t.

      This very blog, at any rate, leans almost entirely on the legwork of mainstream journalists for its commentary.

      • Jim__L

        This very blog also includes per-capita more foreign correspondents than pretty much any other news source.

        I’m confident that sites like this blog are the future of news.

        • RedWell

          Sounds great – but who are these correspondents, and who is paying for them? From what I have seen, most of the blog is citing WSJ, NYT and WP and offering commentary from there. TAI is a publication, yes, but many of its authors are otherwise employed at think tanks, universities and so forth.

          • Jim__L

            If WSJ, NYT, and WP dried up, obviously a higher percentage of the content would have to come from the independent contributors you cite.

            I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with that, although it would take a bit more legwork on the part of the editors to line up correspondents.

  • Anthony
    • Fat_Man

      The rag that published the fake news about rapes in a fraternity at Duke University.

      • Anthony

        I don’t know if its a rag or published fake news (deliberately making up a false story) but the referenced link may have interest for the exploratory.

        • Fat_Man

          The jury thought the story (about UVa) was false and defamatory.

      • Genesis123

        It was UVa but i have a feeling you knew that already. Duke is a fake lacrosse rape story. I know, there’s a LOT of fake Leftwing media stories to keep track of.

        • Fat_Man

          Sorry. It was an unintentional demonstration of how big that swamp is.

  • lukelea

    It is sad for me to see the NYT losing its credibility for fair and balanced coverage of controversial issues. What was that motto of the WSJ before its sale to Murdoch? “Knowledge from Facts” or something like that.

    • Fat_Man

      The NYTimes may have had a reputation, but it was only in its own mind. In fact, they have always been a left-wing propaganda rag going back to their reports from Ukraine in the 1930s that lied about Stalin’s atrocities.

    • f1b0nacc1

      One name: Walter Duranty….

      The Times has never been either fair or balanced, they have merely been well-connected.

  • Matt_Thullen

    What is amusing about Rutenberg’s article is that he was the one who, in a front page editorial in the New York Times, urged the media to abandon impartiality in order to elect Hillary. Buzzfeed may have handed Trump a steel rod, but Rutenberg handed him a thermonuclear device.

  • Disappeared4x

    TeamTrump’s meet with Conde Nast on Jan. 6 certainly injected vigor into Vanity Fair’s NEWS coverage at the Hive. No legal action, but a diplomatic breakthrough to what must have been a real conversation. Today? “The “Trump vs. Media” Cage Match Has Only Begun: But here’s what we can learn from a crazy week, and why we might all be the better for it.” by T.A. Frank January 13, 2017 5:00 am

  • Anthony

    “Why do we believe in the authority of any fact, given that few of us are in a position to verify most of them? The reason is that there are impartial institutions (media perhaps) tasked with producing factual information that we trust.” (Francis Fukuyama)

    Especially, media, all media, must regain Americans’ trust; this is not a left, right, democratic, republican issue but it is a national interest issue (we must come to agree on basic national facts).

    “The traditional remedy for bad information, according to freedom-of-information advocates, is simply to put out good information, which in a marketplace of ideas will rise to the top. This solution, unfortunately, works much less well in a social-media world of trolls and bots…The internet was supposed to liberate us from gatekeepers; and indeed, information now comes at us from all possible sources, all with equal credibility. There is no reason to think that good information will win out over bad information.” (Francis Fukuyama)

    Both for the above reason and for the strength of our democracy, we need a fact-based media, grounded in impartiality with verifiable accuracy (standards) – not a pejorative (for some) labeled MSM but a recognized USM (Fourth Estate). Liberal democracy with its political freedom and economic success has three important pillars: strong government, rule of law, and democratic accountability. The last is facilitated by a fact-based and respected Fourth Estate.

  • Mark Hamilton

    “So will the ongoing perception of liberal bias, even if unintentional.”

    Right. Cause the incestuous relationship between the mainstream media and the Democrats is an accident. Donna Brazile passing debate questions to Hillary was unintentional. Dan Rather’s jihad against Bush with “fake but accurate” memos was a simple misunderstanding.

    Why can’t we all just get along? Answer: because the political press are a bunch of crooked guttersnipes.

  • seattleoutcast

    As Fox Mulder would say, the Truth is out there. (Maybe a terrible phrase to use for a comment on fake news…)

    Blogs, YouTube channels and web based news sites are all flourishing because of truth telling. In 2008 it was mostly the blogs who predicted the financial meltdown when the mainstream media did not see it coming. In fact, those were WSJ’s Stephen Moore’s own words. Why he still has a job at the WSJ just shows the corruption there.

    But the truth has a way of getting out. And the 2016 election revealed that the split-open, dessicated carcass known as the legacy media had died and rotted away long ago. There is enough real news out there for anyone willing to search for it. The marketplace of ideas is alive and well.

    And The American Interest is part of this new media telling the truth.

  • LarryD

    One of Glenn Reynolds comments on this subject (and one he repeats) ” In the post-World War II era, the press has enjoyed certain
    institutional privileges based on two assumptions: (1) That it’s very
    powerful; and (2) That it will exercise that power responsibly, for the
    most part. Both assumptions have been proven false in this election
    cycle. Like many of the postwar institutional accommodations, this one
    is being renegotiated under Trump.”

    Another comment of his ” The best thing would be to have an honest, competent, reasonably fair
    press. It’s not entirely clear what the second-best thing is.”

    We haven’t had a reasonable fair press for decades, their honesty and competency have also been declining for a long time.

    Hence “Think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines.”

  • Andrew Allison

    The only reason that Democrats are more trusting is confirmation bias.

  • Eurydice

    It’s a dessert topping! – it’s a floor wax! The media is trying to do too much and, as a result, isn’t getting anything right. They not only want to report the news, but also make the news, and predict the future and sway public opinion and be the voice of morality. They want to be eye-catching and entertaining and deliver ratings points to their corporate owners, they want to capture the most clicks and posts and comments. With all these competing interests, something has to give. And that something is content – because content is difficult and takes time and requires experience and context, and its success can’t be easily measured in like/dislike or thumbs up/down.

    And for all that the media is quaking over Trump, they’re still using him as a ratings grabber, just as they did during the campaign. The other day I thought I’d spend a few peaceful non-political moments with the sports section when I saw the headline “The Patriots Have a Trump Problem.” Seriously, he’s made the sports section? What’s next, the Wednesday recipes?

  • Anthony

    Quoted observation: “it’s fascinating, albeit absurd, that so many right-wingers manage to talk about the ‘media’ as if it has nothing to do with them, even though they work in it or are even commenting (talking) via an outlet owned and managed by right-wing interests.”

  • Tom Scharf

    The media has a lot of work to do, and it is all uphill.

    1. Stop the frothing at the mouth “must take Trump down at any cost” zombie hysteria. Trump won, it’s not your job to reverse that.

    2. Expand the diversity of thought on the editorial board and in the newsroom.

    3. Stop trying to change how America thinks and start reporting what America thinks. The newsroom is not an accurate reflection of America.

    4. The media is not losing authority, it has lost authority. Stop pretending you have authority, you don’t.

    5. Try to be something everyone can be proud of, the opinion of your media peers and other “thought leaders” is irrelevant.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Half of America is either dumb or dishonest and just disclosed itself so in the election by voting for Donald Trump. We already have talk radio, Fox News, Breitbart and many others driving this trend. If we are also asking NYT, USA Today, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS and others to ALSO be right-wing spin machines, we are asking for herd mentality which is not good for any herd.

      The most likely trend going forward is for the far-right media to become slightly less far right. Why? Because it’s one thing to spin a wish list and it is another thing to have to observe negative consequences when you finally get it. All of the media is going to be treated SOON to the circus of PPACA “repeal” and “replacement”. There is no circumstance under which “Repeal every word of Obamacare” (the campaign shtick) is actually wanted by most citizens on either the left or the right, and no circumstance under which it is going to happen. Some (some) of the ideas and lesser-known details will be staying no matter what. Media of all kinds is now obligated to be nuanced about this in order to even HOPE to keep up with actual facts and actual actions of government. So, as a trend, for instance, I say Fox turns left more than NYT turns right. We’ll see.

  • LarryD

    The media aren’t the only institution bent on self destruction, academia seems resolved to follow suit. Again, virtue signaling run amok.

  • Beauceron

    “Driving them into fits of hysteria so that they torch their own credibility”

    What credibility does the mainstream media have left to torch? Some, I suppose, but not much. It’ll be a small fire if and when the final bits go up in flames.

  • PierrePendre

    The press is a curiously schizophrenic beast; on the one hand it exists to make money for owners and shareholders like any other commercial business and on the other it has a quasi institutional mission to arbitrate public life and guard against the abuse of power by those who possess it like presidents and politicians. When it interprets that latter role by systematic bias in favour of one political party, it necessarily undermines the credibility of its arbitration.

    Rutenberg and the NYT did immense damage to the MSM with his column exempting all journalists from the traditional restraints on reporting designed to give at least a semblance of balance to their arbitration. It was like letting a pack of hounds off the leash or saying in effect that “anything goes”.

    One of the most disquieting things about the behaviour of the MSM since Trump’s election has been the inability of journalists, who nowadays are supposedly well-educated and politically savvy, to take a reasoned approach to the transition. Everything they have done from the fight about the electoral college to the vote recount in the Midwest and the blanket smears against every cabinet nominee have simply reflected the positions of the Democratic party and its “cheated” champion.

    Whatever Putin’s hackers got up to, I don’t believe they swung the election but the almost total liberal control of the daily MSM meant that the issue remained front and centre of media consumers’ consciousness until it culminated in Buzzfeed’s decision to publish anti-Trump slurs of dubious provenance which it admitted it didn’t believe itself. Even the MSM realised what a disaster that was for all of them by association.

    If journalists were as smart as they think they are, singly and collectively, they would allow the Trump presidency all the rope it needs to hang itself by its performance in office and do so simply by reporting the facts as they evolve. Instead, armed with Rutenberg’s blessing, they’ve promised to be the capital o Opposition, a job which actually belongs mainly to the Democratic party. Did they not pause to wonder how it would reflect on them if Americans liked the Trump government?

    This is a bad place to be both for journalism and American society for the obvious reason that partisan opposition always has dubious credibility. No one expects the NYT to love Trump but they have a right to expect it to report him and the performance of his administration with balance in accordance with the traditional rules of journalism.

    It’s amusing to see journalists complain when Trump tweets back at them when they attack him because previous presidents haven’t behaved like that. But they changed the rules of the game and that has consequences which Harry Reid’s stupidly short-sighted decision to scrap the filibuster is about to prove to Senate Democrats. Which is another question. Why weren’t people who are shocked by Trump just as disapproving of a lout like Harry?

  • TheRandomTexan

    It might also help if the broadcast outlets trimmed back on all the sports and entertainment “news” that is nothing more than shilling for their own network’s programming. When everything from the 6 o’clock news to Star Wars XIII is nothing more than one long product pitch, folks notice–and tune out.

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