From Charlottesville to Hurricane Irma, the liberal media are determined to leverage the tragedy of the day to inflame the American people against President Trump. In Irma’s wake, CNN decided to shift coverage from the hurricane’s havoc to politics, attacking the president’s stance on climate change. One CNN headline read: “Trump dismisses climate change questions by contradicting himself on hurricanes.”
After Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, MSNBC criticized Trump for visiting the city too soon — despite blaming President George W. Bush for visiting New Orleans too late after Hurricane Katrina. Other outlets blasted first lady Melania Trump for wearing high heels on the plane to Houston (she changed into sneakers on the ground). I don’t recall the same media outrage at Michelle Obama for sending fundraising emails during Hurricane Sandy or wearing $540 shoes to a food bank.
But let’s be honest: Who really believes the media would be satisfied by anything when it comes to this White House? And that’s the problem.
After the deadly Charlottesville attack, mainstream news outlets attacked the president for not condemning white supremacy fast enough or strong enough, despite doing so the same day and on several occasions in the days that followed. A typically biased CNN headline described his initial statement on Charlottesville — which condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence” — as “incredibly unpresidential.” Presumably, President Obama’s refusal to condemn radical Islam after numerous terrorist attacks — from Benghazi to Orlando — was incredibly presidential.
Throughout coverage of the blistering anti-speech riots in Berkeley and Boston, Trump unfairly took heat for blaming the rise in violence on “many sides,” which is technically true but uncomfortable for liberals to hear.
The liberal media perpetuate political bias so forcefully and unrelentingly, it’s gone from subtle background noise to the entirety of their narrative. Is it any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
As conservatives have argued for decades, the overwhelming majority of journalists are liberal. Less than 10 percent of journalists are registered Republicans. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with editorializing liberal or conservative viewpoints — open debate is a social good — unless you portray yourself as an objective reporter of the news and not on the opinion pages.
Politically vocal journalists have increasingly become overtly biased faux-journalists shredding their own credibility. This was best articulated in last December’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment featuring Liz Spayd, the New York Times’ public editor, who acknowledged many of her colleagues “go over the line” covering Trump.
Editorial bias is even more overt. A recent glance at the New York Times’ opinion page found an editorial smearing Trump as “foolish” and an op-ed column calling him “hateful.” Another accused the president of “betray(ing) historic U.S. values.” In 2016, more than 240 editorial boards endorsed Hillary Clinton, compared to Trump’s 19 endorsements.
At the same time, the liberal media not-so-subtly frames stories to reinforce their “#HateTrump” narrative. Consider two recent Harvey-related headlines. ABC News headlined: “Trump thanks Texas officials for hurricane response, barely addresses victims.” CNN followed suit: “Trump wins praise in Texas, but keeps empathy at bay.”
In both cases, there was no need for a qualifier — President Obama wouldn’t have received one. But those few words, in headlines and sprinkled throughout a story, reinforce the negative bias journalists wish to convey.
This covert framing goes even further: The rampant inclusion of unverified facts and sources and the exclusion of verified ones. Just consider CNN’s retracted story falsely connecting former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci to the Senate’s Russia investigations. Three journalists involved lost their jobs. Many Russia-related stories have relied exclusively on unverified documents or anonymous sources, while others have omitted key evidence to support Trump’s position. Countless 2016 coverage failed to include Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia, including her husband’s $500,000 speech in Moscow paid for by an investment bank “with links to the Kremlin.”
Free speech and a free press are essential to a vibrant democracy. But the liberal media far too often resembles a collection of rabid mouthpieces spouting more rabid bias — because they understand it sells. Ironically, the same charge the mainstream media endlessly levies against outsider news outlets — that websites like Breitbart or the Daily Caller only cater to clicks — applies to them on a much broader scale. That’s why we continue to hear about the alleged and wholly unsubstantiated Russia collusion story, or how all racism everywhere is now the president’s fault, or the great horror that is women’s fashion in a hurricane zone.
Our largest newspapers and most-watched cable networks cannot credibly extol their essential function while simultaneously abandoning it for rabid anti-Trumpism — and then complain when Americans stop trusting the media.