As the news media completes its credibility death spiral and transitions from objective reporting to subjective editorializing, it’s worth looking at the various types of “journalists” who enabled the descent.
I’ve spent years exploring and documenting the media’s credibility crisis, only to have much of my work destroyed forever by partisan forces like those at Twitter who wipe out right-minded accounts — and all of their content — on a whim. But these pages at my website still maintain a respectable paper trail of media bias auditing and analysis. And ultimately, the most meaningful conclusions are here…
Media bias in 2019 isn’t about absence of fact. It’s about the prominence of partisan characterization. The fact might be “John went to the store for milk.” That’s the fact. At Fox News, that story becomes “John went to the store for milk because he wants to provide for his family.” At CNN, the story is “John went to the store for milk because he doesn’t trust his wife to do it.” And all of those things might be true. It might be true that John wants to provide for his family, and that he doesn’t trust his wife to get the right milk. But those elements of the story are subjective in nature, and not actually part of the straight news. The straight news, simply, is that John went to the store for milk. But you won’t hear that straight news story anymore. And while liberals will complain that Fox News often tells their version from a right-minded perspective, conservatives note that NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, virtually all of our nation’s newspapers and literally all of academia and Hollywood — are all in lock-step telling stories from a decidedly left-minded perspective. And they do it 24×7 in every facet of everyone’s lives, even when we’re not looking for news or politics.
This is why honest observers will note that while Fox News does tend toward a right-minded bias, it’s far more troubling and destructive that literally every other form of media, including entertainment, tells the story with left-minded bias. (And they get a lot of help from the liberal partisans in academia who are similarly destroying the credibility of once-revered colleges and universities.)
Moreover, Fox News admits their partisanship in primetime by letting opinion hosts run the show(s). CNN, on the other hand, claims with a straight face that Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper are impartial and unbiased journalists delivering straight news. It’s laughable, and it’s the foremost reason the media’s credibility is completely shot for a generation or more.
And it’s not just a CNN problem. Yes, CNN is the most glaring and easy to pick on because they’re so wildly over-the-top with their partisanship, dishonesty and bias. But it’s a problem that plagues virtually the entire media institution. They have all transitioned from being credible, impartial, unbiased, straight news mediums — to almost entirely subjective and opinion-based propagandists who spend 2% of the time reporting actual facts, and the remaining 98% framing and characterizing those facts to fit their partisan narratives/agendas.
So what’s the psychology behind the individual “journalists” who drove and enabled the media’s credibility crisis? Well I’ve spent some time thinking about it and landed on these three subsets…
1) They know they’re being dishonest and partisan but claim (without evidence) to be impartial because their partisan ideology eclipses any sense of journalistic integrity
2) They’re so tightly bonded to their own sanctimony that they truly believe they’re being honest and non-partisan (this nears a state of psychosis which can also be seen in the atrocious behavior of their otherwise lucid supporters)
3) They know they’re being dishonest and partisan but can’t stop or admit it because it will destroy their own career(s)
The vast majority of today’s partisan hacks masquerading as impartial journalists no doubt fall into the first two categories. It’s hard to believe that any could survive very long in the third category, but there must be at least a few out there who actually know what they’re doing and don’t like it, but see no path forward in their chosen careers without enabling the charade.
Regardless, those are the three psychological buckets that most of today’s allegedly impartial media must fall into. If you can think of others, let me know! But amid my hiatus from the painfully redundant and seemingly futile world of media analysis and political activism, this is something I thought about that felt worth jotting down on paper.
If you voted for President Trump then you already know the media is largely the opposition party; they have become nothing more than anti-Trump propagandists, dwarfing the Democrat party in ferocity, stamina and scope. And at some point it’s not a bad idea to know your opposition. In terms of the individual members of the media community, now you have a little more to work with in terms of the DNA that allows them to so casually lie to the American people and destroy the credibility of the entire media institution…
Group 1 is aware of their bias but happy to lie about it because they think what they’re doing is morally just. (These are the traditional liberals, as many in the grassroots and leadership roles adopt the same ends-justify-the-means rationalizations.)
Group 2 is so deeply consumed by their partisan leanings that they can’t even cope with the reality that they’re manufacturing propaganda as opposed to reporting straight news. (These are the more dangerous liberals who are so married to their beliefs that they’ll often promote violence and attack free speech all in the name of “progress.”)
Group 3 is the least egregious and also the least densely-populated category. They’re hostages who toe a line they dare not step out of lest they be ostracized from the industry and forced to find new careers. (This group may or may not be liberal at all, but they’re entirely neutered either way. They’re witnesses to the media’s Trump-era trust descent, yet they say nothing. They’re also not true believers in, or sufficiently committed to, the other two groups’ partisan mission. They have no credibility on either side of the debate, and are effectively impaled on fence they’ve chosen to ride.)
So which group do your least favorite media hacks fall into? And if you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask them. Because we all see it happening. We’re all witnesses to it. Now it’s time to name it, and start calling it out.
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