The media is not virtuous

In this “sparring” with CNN, a CNN reporter asks the President “are you concerned that you’re undermining people’s in faith in the 1st amendment, the freedom of the press, the press in this country when you call stories you don’t like fake news.”

 

Leading with “1st amendment” and “freedom of the press” are red herring fallacies meant to disguise and equate the reporter’s key whiny gripe — “undermining people’s faith in…the press” —  with threats to two noble institutions of modern society, hoping to piggyback his key gripe on those.

The media should accept responsibility for people’s weakened faith in it.

The CNN reporter wishes people to see the media as a virtuous institution they trust to report facts and act as a watchdog and check for those in power.

But, media isn’t virtuous. It’s a business that makes money by generating ratings so it can sell ads. They package stories with biases and framing that pleases their target audience to keep them coming back.

They report facts most of the time, but often those facts are misleading and non-pertinent. The reporting of Trump’s answer to a debate question just before the election provides a great example.

He said he’d have to “wait-and-see” about whether he’d accept the election results.

The media turned a molehill into a mountain and reported that Trump doesn’t respect the country’s long-standing tradition of peaceful transition of power, and even hinted that Trump may try to incite violence if he loses (though he never hinted at that).

But, there were two key problems with this.

Anyone with a memory longer than 16-years remembers the “hanging chad” debacle of the 2000 election, when Democrats didn’t accept the election result without a court battle, and many to this day still do not accept the results of that election.

Second, the tables were turned in just two weeks when Clinton lost and many on the left, even those who overreacted to Trump’s answer, flipped their lids. Suddenly, it was fine — even noble — to question those results even though two weeks prior it wasn’t.

 

The way the CNN reporter framed the question is also good example of why people are and should be losing faith in the media.

The question was meant to paint the media (excluding Fox, of course) as a victim and the President as it’s oppressor. It’s also self-serving.

It showed that the media isn’t yet close to the self-reflection needed to gain people’s faith.  Like a child, they point fingers and try to avoid blame for the problems they’ve caused.

 

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