Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Precipitous Decline of the American Media

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. These words should be blazoned over the great office towers that contain the giants of American media.

While it is certainly true that you can make fools out of a lot of the people a lot of the time, comes the reckoning, and it is not pretty.

Unfortunately, for our media giants, the American people have their number. These venerable and august institutions have lost the trust of the American people. In fact, as Joe Concha reports, based on a Reuters Institute study, the American media is last in the world when it comes to being trustworthy.  (via Maggie’s Farm) Then again, if you read the media you might also want to conclude that our media is first in the world in worthlessness.

As the ratings of MSNBC and CNN tank, we can cheer for the free market. What the idiots running the media cannot do for themselves, the marketplace seems apt to do. That is, hitting these media companies where it hurts, on the bottom line. You can only spend so much time lying to people before the people catch on. And, dare we say, you can only spend so much time ginning up negative emotion before people tire of the shtick.

Obviously, the Reuters report only covers mainstream media outlets. As for the lying that passes for fact checking on social media-- surely they will eventually lose all credibility.

Of course, to be totally fair, the media has become the propaganda wing of the Democratic Party. Why, it was only yesterday-- or the day before-- when media commentators breathlessly announced, echoing a Biden administration talking point, that the Republican Party favored defunding the police. The reason, Republicans had voted against a recent piece of legislation that contained some funding for local police. 

No one mentioned that a miniscule portion of police funding comes from the federal government in the best of times. No one mentioned that the riotous insurrection against the police and against government authority had been ongoing since last spring-- well before the legislation was even a gleam in Joe Biden’s eye. No one mentioned that police officers are retiring at unprecedented numbers, and this, long before the Biden legislation. No one in the mainstream media mentioned the fact that the people committing the crimes are certainly not members of QAnon or the Proud Boys. No one mentioned that the cities suffering the most were being run by Democrat mayors and prosecutors. No one mentioned any relevant details. Apparently, the mere fact that some Biden administration apparatchiks dreamed up a talking point sufficed for our ever more dishonest media. They repeated it like the parrots they are.

Only a certifiable idiot could have dreamed this up. Only certifiable idiots could have believed it. Even if we graciously imagine that the news commentators who were hawking the story did not believe it, what does this tell us of the general intelligence level of their audience?

Anyway, Concha reports:

The U.S. media is the least trustworthy in the world, according to a comprehensive new Reuters Institute survey encompassing 46 countries. 

Yes, you read that right. The country with among the most resources in this arena – human, technical and otherwise – finished dead last. Finland ranked the highest, with a 65 percent trust rating. In Kenya, the trust rating clocked in at 61 percent. 

But here in the U.S.A., the home of global media giants including the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, we’re trusted by a whopping 29 percent of those reading and watching. 

Is anyone really surprised? Because in looking at polls over the past few years (even pre-Donald Trump) we’ve been trending in this dubious direction for some time.  

For example, one Axios/Survey Monkey poll in 2019 found that nearly 8-in-10 independent voters said they believed that news organizations report news “they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading.” 

Ninety-two percent of Republicans felt the same way, as did even a majority of Democrats. 

Which means readers and viewers believe that the "mistakes" we so often see, particularly in the political media that dominates the national landscape, are not happening because of human error, which is a convenient excuse offered up from left-leaning "journalists" when "bombshell" reports end up being false, fake or purposely misleading. 

The point is, news media are no longer interested in reporting the facts. They have become propaganda organs, purveying rightthink. It used to be called dogma.

One ought to remark that while we are all up in arms about state media censorship in certain foreign countries-- guess which one-- we would take a giant step toward an international free press by seeing our own media set an example of honest, objective fair reporting.

As of now, such is not the case. And nearly everyone knows it. It used to be, Concha opines, that the public trusted Walter Cronkite and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and Bernard Shaw. No more:

Fast forward to 2021, and the likes of Chris Cuomo, Jim Acosta, Brian Williams and Yamiche Alcindor are given the same prestigious titles of anchor or correspondent. 

These aren’t anchors, of course, they’re patently partisan opinion hosts. All share their feelings, their opinions – which always support the blue team – and pass it off as objective news reporting. Which, of course, is an insult to those who have eyes and ears and brains. 

How can the media regain the trust of the people? Concha says that it cannot. Perhaps he is being slightly too pessimistic, but still, one place to start, he writes, is for major American newspapers to act as though they know that there are two political parties. They might endorse Republicans-- something that they never do.

And trust is like toothpaste: Once it’s out of the tube, it’s impossible to regain. Example: The New York Times hasn't endorsed a Republican presidential candidate in 65 years, which means the so-called paper of record endorsed Walter Mondale in 1984 and Michael Dukakis in 1988, who lost a combined 89 states. 

Talk about being out of touch. The Washington Post has never endorsed a Republican presidential candidate in its history. CNN – once a beacon of solid, objective reporting in the Bernard Shaw/Gulf Wars era – has become a parody of itself in losing nearly 75 percent of its audience since the beginning of the year, an unprecedented drop. 

In other words, don’t expect the new Cronkites and Brinkleys of the world to swoop in and save journalism in the U.S. anytime soon. 

Behind it all is a systematic disdain for facts. It is almost as though the millennial generation that has come to infest America’s newsrooms has overdosed on therapy. They do not care about facts. They care about feelings.

Concha concludes:

Not exactly facts first, but feelings first. 

The U.S. is the least-trusted country of 46 when it comes to the way consumers view the news. If that isn't a wake-up call for the industry, I’m not sure what would be.  

Feelings first.

Seriously, at a time when we all want there to be less sexual harassment in the workplace, do we really imagine that placing more of an emphasis on feelings will promote good professional relations. Or does the emphasis on feelings make it more likely for Jim to confess to Beverly that he has feelings for her-- and that he feels compelled to express them, because he cannot just bottle them up.

Obviously, those who live to express their feelings have no concern whatever for whether the feelings are reciprocated.

Go figure.


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised. The average journalism major these days seems to be a 20 something, feminist leaning woman, with no clue about how anything works in the world. It's all about feeelings, nothing else matters.

Look at the MSM reporting on any big news story. Well over half of the report will deal with how some random passerby no one knows, felt about what happened.

David Foster said...

It should always be noted that most of these media organizations are *not* free-standing companies, but are subsidiaries of something else, that something being ultimately responsible for their performance.

MSNBC is owned by Comcast

CNN is owned by AT&T; if the deal currently in process goes through, it will be owned by Discovery

ABC is owned by Disney

The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos as an individual.

Sam L. said...

As I keep saying, I don't KNOW if the media is/are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party, or it it's the other way round, but it's OBVIOUS that they are in CAHOOTS...and sleep in the same beds.

RE: TV "news". I don't watch or listen to TV "news". If I did, I might have an aneurysm.

As for the NYT and the WaPoo, as I keep saying, I despise, detest, and totally distrust them.

"The point is, news media are no longer interested in reporting the facts. They have become propaganda organs, purveying rightthink. It used to be called dogma." It's not "right think" it's "LEFT-think".

CNN: The Crap "News" network...

Anonymous said...

I recently read a statement by google in our national newspaper. They were going to fund and train 35000 journalists. What that will amount to in practise is yet to be seen.

Sam L. said...

Anon. with any luck, your "national newspaper" will go broke.