Killing Journalism

“It’s almost as if the effort to undo Trump has had an unexpected effect — that Trump has somehow broken the news media.”

That is a quote from a long essay at Esquire last month by Peter Boyer.   Boyer wrote about changes to news coverage of the President of the United States because of Donald J. Trump.   He, of course, blames Trump.   But he is clearly distressed at the current state of affairs.   His essay concentrates on the New York Times, with a long section about the Washington Post and a couple of asides about CNN.  I bookmarked the link to Boyer’s essay.   It is an interesting read.   I think it will make a helpful addition to the obituary for the national press.

Elite newsrooms jettisoned everything they learned in that required Sophomore class “Ethics of Journalism.”   They tossed the New York Times Manual of Style right out with the trash, at least the parts about “neutral voice” and “counterbalance” and context and completeness and anonymous sources and several other picky matters that used to be important to them.

Further from Boyer:

Back in the early months of the Trump presidency, I had asked Liz Spayd, the public editor, if the  Times’s new business model was to become a sort of high-end Huffington Post.

“I hope that is not the case,” she said. “I think that would be a sad place for this country to find itself, that one of the strongest and most powerful and well-financed newsrooms in the country would speak and have an audience only on one side of the political aisle. It’s very, very dangerous, I think.” Spayd had become the voice of the old traditions at the  Times, a position that earned her the opprobrium of progressive critics outside the paper (“This editor appears to be from 1987 or earlier,” Keith Olbermann tweeted. “Sorry—get in the game or get out”) as well as inside the newsroom. Five months into the Trump presidency, her job was eliminated; she now consults for Facebook.

The very thing Ms. Spayd warned about had come to pass.   The New York Times subscriber base consists entirely of Leftists and hotels and libraries.   Nobody reads the New York Times except the white woke Leftist elites who control the Democrat Party, and then the rest of us read the things that make the top of the Google News feed, or we read them if they are cited for some particular outrage in the conservative niche media.   They have become profitable again as the Opposition Party.   Nobody expects the NYT to be anything else besides the PR of the far Left.

How sad.   This is what prompted P. Boyer to write that essay.   The theme is despondency over the death of the old “American model of Journalism.”

We have now fully transformed America into the “European model of Journalism.”   The Europeans have parliamentary governments.   This led to a multiplicity of parties.   The newspapers generally all serve as the PR mouthpiece of one or another of the dozens of parties.   With the legacy media now champions of open borders, Communism, and hostile to traditionalist religions, we can comfortably call them the “Enemy of the People.”

We have been a long time in making this transformation.   Looking back, it is easy to see how the press always leaned left, how the leftward tilt got a huge push when the universities started up degree programs in journalism in the late 50s and 1960s.   Mass media news in America slid further and further leftward until they went into full-on campaign mode in 1992 to boost Bill Clinton past G.H.W. Bush.   It was the campaign of 1992 that turned Rush Limbaugh into a household name.   He single-handedly saved AM radio by turning it into the media refuge for conservative thought.

The internet completed the transformation.   Now the NYT is just a bigger, badder HuffPo.   But the demise of mass media journalism is not because of President Trump.   It is only partly because they lurched even further Left than they previously were during the Obama Administration.   The internet brought them down.   More on that in my next post.   First, another couple of points about Boyer’s essay.

My favorite media critics are liberals (pro-life Democrats).   They noticed P. Boyer’s essay.   They have been saying the same thing pretty much ever since the campaign of 1996, which is when they became frightened at the excesses of supposedly ethical journalists at elite publications.   They connected the adoption of full Leftist advocacy “journalism” to the decades-old tradition in elite media for full Leftist advocacy “journalism” in culture war issues.

As a Social Conservative, I have noticed that elite newsrooms think that people who share my views on matters such as abortion, sex, sin, privacy and personal responsibility are people who are not worth covering accurately.   This was revealed anew earlier this month by the fawning coverage that Mayor Pete Buttigieg received when he launched a religious attack on Mike Pence.

Terry Mattingly of GetReligion concluded:

Thus, elite newsrooms were no longer interested in doing accurate, fair, objective coverage of about half of the United States of America.

I am actually happy to see the obituaries begin.   Leftist mass media helped put Obama in office and keep him there.   They nearly delivered the White House to Hillary.   They have opposed President Trump in every particular, revealing that they only care about scoring political points.   They do not care about what is good for America or the American people, nor do they particularly care about the accuracy of the information that they sell as “news.”   As Leftists, they are anti-American and anti-Christian.   They oppose everything I value.   They are the Opposition Party.

They needed killin’.

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12 thoughts on “Killing Journalism”

  1. MJBubba:
    “It’s almost as if the effort to undo Trump has had an unexpected effect — that Trump has somehow broken the news media.” — Peter Boyle

    Great quote, Bubba.

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  2. Bryan G. Stephens:
    I want him to burn with pain. He blames Trump? It is his ilk that got us here.

    Yes, and he is one of the good journalists, or, at least smart people that I follow think he has done much better than the average journalist at actually presenting both sides of culture war issues fairly.

    I have a follow-up post in the works.

    What could happen to save journalism from itself?

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  3. I was listening to Christian talk radio this afternoon (Radio Tupelo, aka American Family Radio).   They were discussing the low estate of mass media journalism, from their point of view as Christian niche media journalism.   They remarked on the slump in the legacy networks’ ratings in the wake of the Mueller Report.   Then they played a montage of journalists congratulating themselves for how much of their predictions were proved true in the Mueller Report.   The Christian talkers were outraged at the blatant chutzpah of Leftist journalists taking a bow for their many lies, distortions, bad predictions and stupid speculations.

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  4. MJBubba:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    I want him to burn with pain. He blames Trump? It is his ilk that got us here.

    Yes, and he is one of the good journalists, or, at least smart people that I follow think he has done much better than the average journalist at actually presenting both sides of culture war issues fairly.

    I have a follow-up post in the works.

    What could happen to save journalism from itself?

    My suggestion would be introduce local reporting. My hometown has its own little paper. It wasn’t much but everybody read it and that is what maintained that small town folksy charm. Too much now is metro centric. Where my hometown could get news about itself, it now only has the Dallas Morning News. Same here in Fort Washington MD where we only have the Washington Compost. The notion of beat reporters needs to be revised. And blow up Twitter/Facebook.

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  5. Terry Mattingly has a blog post up in which he complains about media coverage of the struggle within the United Methodist Church.   As an aside, he includes this remark in his introduction:

    it used to be perfectly normal to see a top editor at an American newspaper defend old-school virtues like balance, fairness and showing respect for people on both sides of hot-button debates. But recently, this has not been the norm — especially when dealing with news about religion and culture.

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  6. Robert A. McReynolds:

    MJBubba:

    What could happen to save journalism from itself?

    My suggestion would be introduce local reporting. My hometown has its own little paper. It wasn’t much but everybody read it and that is what maintained that small town folksy charm. Too much now is metro centric. Where my hometown could get news about itself, it now only has the Dallas Morning News. Same here in Fort Washington MD where we only have the Washington Compost. The notion of beat reporters needs to be revised. And blow up Twitter/Facebook.

    Consolidations have bundled small town newspapers into regional combines.   There are five or six small-town papers in our region that all belong to one regional newspaper company.   Those communities are better off than the towns whose newspapers now belong to one or another of the big media giants.

    And I am really surprised that Memphis, with 1.2 million people, now has a newspaper that has its layout work and a majority of its content produced in another state.   (Of course, in Memphis, we still have one of those “alternative newspapers” (a free weekly), and we also have a local paper that is published twice each week and targets the urban black demographic.   So, we are not a “journalism desert,” at least not yet.)

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  7. We have in our gilded age of affluence from the global hegemon era post WW2 created many professions that exist as handmaidens of power- lawyers, politicians, civil servants , journalists and such.

    Many of these have themselves devolved into self reverential decadence , keeping the machine that feeds them running rather than providing any value.

    Our system values credentials over results.

    We either switch back to results or become serfs of the countries that do.

    When journalists die off and are replaced by content based reporters freelancing with the technology, this will fix itself. It may not be in English.

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  8. MJBubba, this is a magnificent post.  Well-thought out and well-written.

    I regret that I have but one like to give.

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