Two recent articles have underlined the collapse in objectivity, factual reporting and trustworthiness of the news media.
Victor Davis Hanson asks, “Do the media even exist?“
The problem is not that reporters are human and therefore sometimes err. The rub is not even that they are poorly educated or rarely write well … The crisis instead is that they are now almost always wrong, and predictably wrong because they are lazy and biased—and they deny it to the point of self-delusion. The result is that, for all practical purposes, journalists no longer exist for the general public as sources of news.
More than half the country now assumes that the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, the networks, and the cable news outlets are culpable not of merely failing to tell the truth but of being incapable of telling the truth. Even if they wished to, or had the skills to report empirically and dispassionately, they simply cannot, given their investments in the progressive agenda, and its investments in them. In other words, they are owned—creatures of that agenda.
. . .
To understand the media coverage of the greatest economic self-inflicted wound in American history is simple: as long the virus remains active, Trump is cast as culpable for the spread of the epidemic by not locking down the country earlier and longer; once the virus disappears, Trump caused the ensuing depression by locking down the country too early and far too long.
Every story until Election Day will serve those two master media themes. After Journolist, the John Podesta email archive, the serial CNN fables, the daily White House correspondents circus, and Trump Derangement Syndrome, no one can believe the news anymore—to the extent Americans still read and watch it.
There’s more at the link, including many examples of journalistic malfeasance.
Supporting Mr. Hanson’s contention, Daniel Greenfield points out that many journalists being sponsored to work in local news media are, in fact, political activists first, and journalists second.
While Report for America claims that it’s funding local journalism, what it’s actually doing is embedding social justice activists in local papers who are often targeted at pursuing a narrow political agenda.
Leah Willingham was placed at the Associated Press to focus on the “Mississippi state legislature” and its “actions affecting the poor”, Kyeland Jackson was planted in Twin Cities Public Television to cover the “causes, effects and solutions to racial disparities in Minnesota”, Shivani Patel was dispatched to the Ventura County Star to write about “equity in education in the county”, and Devna Bose was shoved into The Charlotte Observer to report on “poor and minority communities in prosperous Charlotte”.
The agenda is often built into the very description of what Report for America’s activists are doing. Or at least it is to Report for America’s donors who are told what the activists they fund are doing. But ordinary readers of local publications and stations are often not told that what they’re reading isn’t real local reporting: it’s the work of activists funded by a national organization and its wealthy backers.
The lack of transparency is dishonest, unethical, and a new low even in the era of fake news.
The left-wing foundations and donors aren’t funding journalism, they’re buying coverage that fits their agenda. And local newspapers are renting out their newsrooms to wealthy left-wing organizations. Beyond the usual radical foundations like the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project has poured millions of dollars into RFA.
. . .
Facebook has often been accused of spreading fake news. Here it, along with the Google News Initiative, which kicked in $400,000, is literally financing a fake news project which pays half the salaries of the reporters it embeds in local newsrooms, while its own funding comes from wealthy left-wing groups.
Most newspapers are happy with the arrangement: it’s the readers who are cheated.
Facebook has claimed that its Journalism Project will fight fake news, instead it’s funding it. If the social media monopoly giant wanted to support journalism, it could do so in any number of ways. By financing Report for America’s activism, it’s helping fund papers on the condition that they run propaganda.
This isn’t philanthropy, it’s politics.
Again, more at the link.
Both articles underline the fact that we can no longer depend on or trust any news report at face value. We now have to verify it, sift through evidence for or against the claims made in the report, and make an informed judgment about what’s believable – and what isn’t. Sadly, the average voter can’t or won’t take the time or trouble to do that . . . which is perilous indeed for the survival of our democracy – and is, of course, the reason behind the manipulation of our news media in the first place.