It is one thing for the president to criticize sloppy, inaccurate and biased reporting by the media, including The New York Times. It is quite another to use such an incendiary word as "treason," whose definition does not fit what the president sees as a crime: "the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign; a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state; the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery."
Before becoming a columnist, I was a reporter for local TV stations and one network. In the early '70s, during a pro-Vietnam War demonstration in
Hostility toward the press for failing to report, or ignoring, what many conservatives believe to be true (but isn't always) has been around for some time. It has grown worse during the Trump administration.
It might help lower the temperature if what is collectively known as "the media" engaged in serious introspection. Why is public distrust of journalists so high?
Columbia Journalism Review reports on results of a new
This is dangerous, not only for journalism, which is seeing the decline of newspapers and an increase in staff layoffs, but also because a vibrant press is crucial to a strong nation, as the Founders believed.
The response to this and similar surveys over decades has been a collective shrug. There is no self-examination by the media and no change. Campaigns for "diversity" are about hiring more women and minorities, not ideological balance. Consumers of media -- especially religious and conservative people -- view the press as hostile to their core values.
Journalism is a business. Think of it this way. If you owned a gas station and were losing customers because gas prices were too high, the lighting was poor so that people felt unsafe at night and the restrooms were dirty, would you allow these conditions to persist? Would you even if a competitor opened a station across the street with lower prices, cleaner restrooms and better lighting? Not if you wanted to stay in business, you wouldn't.
Too many in the media are like the guy who owns the substandard gas station, ignoring complaints about their performance. The predictable results are fewer readers of newspapers and lower ratings for television news programs.
What should frighten all of us in this latest survey is the number of people who say they expect their loss of faith in the media to be permanent.
Does any other business so disrespect its current customers and not try to win back the disaffected? While
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