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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Changing their tune

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation held their annual awards dinner. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not there. Instead, he was the interviewee at Fox and Friends, where he revealed that he had been notified that he would be the recipient of their signature award and had been invited to the Foundation’s annual banquet, but then he was notified that they were rescinding the award and he was dis-invited.

The return of hostages isn’t partisan. It’s not political. This is an American activity,” he said.

We worked with Democrat members of Congress on this. This is not partisan.

And yet, it sounds like some in the media, who were underwriting this event – sponsors for the event said ‘if Pompeo is there, we won’t be.’”

In January, he had received an apologetic note from Mr. Foley’s widow, who was sorry that the Foundation had decided to make the change. The change they had made was that they decided to give their premier award to someone else instead of Secretary Pompeo, after they had originally sent him a notice that he would be the recipient. Evidently she revealed that it was pressure from the keynote speaker and some of her friends that caused the Foundation to drop Secretary Pompeo.

The keynote speaker was Christiane Amanpour of CNN, and her pals were all media people.

Mike Pompeo wrote a gracious response to Mrs. Foley and did not say anything in public about the disinvitation until the week of the dinner.

Since James W. Foley had been a journalist, and since the Foundation has promoted journalism about Americans that are held as political prisoners around the world, the Foundation has a lot of connections to media and gets a lot of support from media. James W. Foley had been held hostage and ultimately was the subject of an ISIS beheading video.

Rather than honor the Trump Administration for diligent work to free political prisoners and hostages, the Foundation instead slammed the Trump Administration.  The Foundation denied Secretary Pompeo’s account. They are saying that they rescinded the award because of Administration indifference to the murder of Jamal Kashoggi:

The decision with respect to the James W. Foley Hostage Advocate award is being mischaracterized by some media outlets. While it is accurate that our foundation intended to present our hostage freedom award to Secretary Pompeo, and we extended the invitation to him on November 19, we ultimately decided we could not present the award as planned due to the dramatic change in circumstances when the Administration did not press for genuine accountability from the Saudi government for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

We communicated the reason for this decision to the Secretary’s team on January 11. Our decision had nothing to do with whether we received media pressure. In addition to advocating for the safe return of American hostages abroad, the protection of free speech and promotion of journalists’ safety is a key pillar of our foundation and this award would have been in conflict with that key principle.

We thank Secretary Pompeo for his extraordinary efforts to bring Americans home and are grateful for all that he and this administration have accomplished to prioritize the return of our citizens. In particular we are thankful for the time he recently dedicated to meeting with families of American hostages. We look forward to working closely with Secretary Pompeo and this administration on these efforts to bring Americans safely home.

Of course, it is not “some media outlets” that characterized the rescission as due to media pressure. That was what Secretary Pompeo said.

Secretary Pompeo is entirely deserving of the award. Kashoggi is just an excuse. Kashoggi was employed by the Washington Post, but he was being paid for by a grant from Qatar and had been putting out a series of hit pieces against the Saudi ruling family. Now it is sort of a complicated mess that Prince Salman chose to go full Bond Villain and commission the gruesome assassination on Turkish soil. He managed to poke Turkey, Qatar, the Trump Administration and western journalism all at the same time, plus put all his enemies on notice to lie low.

Kashoggi is just an excuse, however. Consider the record that prompted the Foundation to select Pompeo in the first place. The Trump Administration has obtained releases for as many political prisoners in two years as the Obama Administration managed in eight years, and without paying huge ransoms or releasing terrorists from Guantanamo. The Washington Examiner provided a copy of Secretary Pompeo’s letter to Mrs. Foley, with this excerpt:

This work has been accomplished without the concessions that only encourage more hostage taking by the kidnappers and terrorists.”

Here is another quote from Secretary Pompeo’s letter, via the Washington Examiner:

I understand that the Foundation decided to rescind the Freedom Award and my invitation to attend the 2019 James W. Foley Freedom Awards due to pressure from its media partners and your fear, stated in your letter, that some guests at the dinner would not show my office proper respect if I attended,” wrote Pompeo.

How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity? The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans. I regret that pressure of such a cynical and abominable nature was brought to bear on you and John,” he added in a reference also to James Foley’s father.

I absolutely expect “cynical and abominable” from CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times. They are the Enemy of the People.

Secretary Pompeo and President Trump deserve accolades for their work on this front.   The Washington Examiner reports that President Trump takes an active interest and gets twice-weekly updates on political prisoners.   We saw President Trump looking fresh and excited at 1:00 am when he went to greet the plane arriving with hostages released from North Korea.

MAGA

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Media v Evangelicals 2018 part 7

Things have been sort of quiet since my last installment in this series, what with our mass media consumed 24/7 by Trump, Russians, Mueller, Manafort, and Michael Cohen. However there were a few items that might have slipped your notice.

A historian had a book tour. Eerdmans Publishing hooked John Fea up with a tour to promote Believe Me: The Evangelical Road To Donald Trump. This got a mild round of approving articles in the usual spaces. The book is evidently pretty dry, because if it had any juice he would have been treated to a higher-profile tour.

An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past.  As insightful as it is timely, Fea’s  Believe Me  challenges Christians to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

The book is loaded with all the old slanders against traditionalist Christians from the 18th century as well as more recent slanders. I can tell this from reviews, comments and an interview with the author; I have not read the book. It has become tedium that mass media like to pass along repetitive instances of liberal “Christians” criticizing traditionalist Christians using Bible passages.

Along that same line there was a book by a liberal Evangelical pastor named Rob Schenck, who told his personal testimony about how he converted from pro-life to pro-abortion. SSDD.

I saw a few new articles from some of my favorites about the press’s general ignorance of religion and religious issues. They are clueless and it shows. Sometimes their ignorance is good for a laugh.

The most recent instance of note was a long feature in the Washington Post. It is a profile of the Trump voters in a Baptist church in Alabama.

The presidency of Donald Trump has created unavoidable moral dilemmas not just for the members of First Baptist in Luverne but for a distinct subset of Christians who are overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly evangelical and more uniformly pro-Trump than any other part of the American electorate.”

Gee, well, I suppose we can guess where this one is headed, can’t we?

So of course it is larded with the buzzwords you would expect. “Awkwardness” “predicament,” “self-reflection” and “compromising” give way to “whiffing on the big moral questions.” Problematic race history issues in the Southern Baptist Church are dredged up, just to whip up the outragey feels of this mess. Along the way is mixed in a journalism smattering of local color quotes of country Baptist people saying Christian things and saying country things and commenting on President Trump.

In a really nice turn, the reporter (Stephanie McCrummen) gave some space to a member who gave a great statement that is perhaps representative:

There was Terry Drew, who sat in the seventh pew on the left side, who knew and agreed with Trump’s position, and knew that supporting him involved a blatant moral compromise.

I hate it,” he said. “My wife and I talk about it all the time. We rationalize the immoral things away. We don’t like it, but we look at the alternative, and think it could be worse than this.”

The only way to understand how a Christian like him could support a man who boasted about grabbing women’s crotches, Terry said, was to understand how he felt about the person Trump was still constantly bringing up in his speeches and who loomed large in Terry’s thoughts: Hillary Clinton, whom Terry saw as “sinister” and “evil” and “I’d say, of Satan.”

She hates me,” Terry said, sitting in [Pastor] Crum’s office one day. “She has contempt for people like me, … and people who love God and believe in the Second Amendment. I think if she had her way it would be a dangerous country for the likes of me.”

Way to go, Washington Post. Him who has ears, let him hear. You may mock and scoff at these rubes all you like, but they see clearly what the Nevers on the Coast missed by a mile.

This long feature has a sub-plot about Pastor Crum preaching a series on the Ten Commandments, with a buildup to his sermon on Adultery. In the end the reporter was disappointed, as her readers will be, that Pastor Crum did not preach about President Trump. But in the end I think this feature is worth reading, with a very uneven mix of quotes from parishioners. In the early going I thought it was going to be simply another hit job, but it is better than that. You can still tell that the viewpoint of these simple Christians is foreign to the reporter and her organization.

I will put links in the comments. One link will be to media criticism of a Frank Bruni editorial in the New York Times, in which he describes what a dangerous ogre the theocrat Mike Pence is, on account of he believes things that traditionalist Christians always believed. Typical.

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Oscars low ratings

The Oscars is one of those shows that has become a touchstone of popular culture.  Because movies are such an important element of modern American culture, many people entertain themselves by following who is nominated and then anticipating the awards and the patter of the show’s hosts, along with snippets from the films and some video and stage presentations.   It is supposed to be a star-studded celebration of celebrities associated with films, and it generally delivers that.   (I have not watched the Oscars in many years, and am speaking from memory.)

The big news that came out of this year’s Oscars show was the low ratings of the show.   Conservatives blamed the Oscars, saying many former viewers tuned out because they are tired of the tedious and tendentious speechifying and moralizing that have become hallmarks of the show in recent years. Leftist mass media blamed President Trump.

Here is the Washington Post, who were so incensed that Trump voters mostly skipped the Oscars that they lowered themselves to quoting Breitbart News:

John Nolte of Breitbart News said the “writing was on the wall for this ratings catastrophe,” calling Kimmel, this year’s host, one of the most “divisive and polarizing figures in the country” and a “Trump-hating Democrat.”

“On top of insulting Trump voters, this Oscar telecast also promised to be a lecture in favor of gun control (by elitists protected by hundreds of armed guards) and against sexual harassment (by elitists who are either harassers or enablers),” Nolte wrote. “As the early ratings show, even Democrats were not interested in watching that kind of self-serving hypocrisy.”

You should read the entire article.  They quote from several other conservative sources, and complain bitterly about conservative gloating over the low ratings of the Oscars show.  Of course, this is what unnerves them the most:

Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!

 

 

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