Monday

March 27th, 2017

Insight

Who will lose this election? Journalists

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published Nov. 7, 2016

The Closing of the American Mouth

Regardless of who wins this horrible election, the so-called mainstream media will be one of the losers. And trust me, they don't care. I didn't write books about the media called Bias and Arrogance for nothing.

Let's start out by all of us agreeing on one fundamental fact: Reporters and editors are supposed to play fair and not root for any of the candidates. That's basic Journalism 101.

But just about no one believes journalists actually do play fair.

Consider this: Suffolk University and USA Today conducted a poll and asked this question — "Who do you think the media, including major newspapers and TV stations, would like to see elected president: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Seventy five percent of the respondents said Clinton. Only 8 percent said the media was rooting for Donald Trump.

Then there was an Associated Press/GkF poll that showed that 56 percent of likely voters believe the media are biased against Trump. Even a majority of Clinton supporters - 51 percent - thought that journalists were rooting for Hillary.

In 2008 the Pew Research Center asked the same general question: "Who do most reporters want to see win?" Seventy percent answered Obama. Only 9 percent said McCain.

Again, even a majority of Democrats — 62 percent — agreed that journalists were hoping Barack Obama would win.

Bias is in their DNA.

Right after the 2008 election, two of America's top political journalists - Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg - held a symposium in Washington, D.C. that was broadcast on C-SPAN.


Here's part of what Cook said: "Let's face it, is there a Democratic and liberal bias in the media? Of course there is. ... I think you can say that the media had a finger, more than a finger, on the scale on the Democratic side."

Rothenberg chimed in with this: "I agree completely. I'm sure they [journalists] preferred Obama. They liked Obama. They're Democrats. Obama got better treatment."

If they were right-wing partisan journalist hacks you might brush off their assessment. But they're not. So they deserve some credit for their honesty, even if they were just stating the obvious.

But then Rothenberg added a punctuation point to his analysis. "But, you know," he said, "it is what it is. It's the nature of the political environment. ... Republicans ought to know that."

And Cook added, "As Stu said, it is what it is."

No other bias in the American culture is greeted with such a cavalier ho-hum. Imagine if somebody said, "Of course we discriminate against black people. But it is what it is." Or, "Is there a bias against women in parts of our culture? Yes. But they should understand that. After all, it is what it is."

No decent person would utter those words. But media bias is something Republicans are expected to simply accept and stop whining about. Disgraceful doesn't begin to explain this kind of thinking.

Steven Brill, the journalist lawyer, once wrote that, "When it comes to arrogance, power, and lack of accountability, journalists are probably the only people on the planet who make lawyers look good."

Bingo!


So, is there anything that will get journalists to behave like journalists should? Is there anything that could get them to be the watchdogs the Founders intended? To hold the powerful accountable? The short answer is ... YES!

And that something is a Donald Trump victory. As an editorial in the Wall Street Journal so elegantly put it: "If Mr. Trump wins, the media would awaken from their Obama-era slumbers and dog his Administration with a vengeance." Better more dogging than not enough.

And what if Mrs. Clinton wins? How will journalists behave then? You know the answer to that. It is what it is.

Comment by clicking here.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles