By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.
Major news organizations work hard every day to earn the distrust of the working-class Americans they so carefully disdain.
Watch an anchor interview an expert on any network for ten minutes, my tolerable limit. Typically, the questions are little more than wildly leading statements driving to a predetermined outcome. In most cases, anchors and too many reporters hoping to get ahead act as if they belong on News Olympus and what they choose to say about things is all that’s truly important for the public to understand. Their frustration shows when the public does not readily get on board with them.
The uncomfortable truth is that what today’s journalists often conveniently leave out or fail to cover is as important as what they dish out in reinforcing their chosen narratives. The “facts” must fit the narrative or they are shuffled aside or dropped. The public has started to figure that out for themselves.
That’s why it is rare moment to find such concerns penned in The Washington Post by Hugh Hewitt, a well-known radio commentator. His conservative bent not withstanding, his outlook gives voice to wide public distrust of the deliberately tone deaf Fourth Estate.
Admittedly, I’m not as optimistic as Hewitt about media reforms because conversations about a return to neutrality are not happening in newsrooms. Today’s journalistic partisans are doubling down on their narratives of the day. They pick the same stories, they walk alike, and they talk alike. No conspiracy is necessary when a consensus will do nicely.
The latest fiasco in coverage of Covid-19, including widespread active and passive censorship was painful to watch. Only highly selected “science” fitting the approved narrative was promoted as legitimate coverage.
The problems facing paycheck-to-paycheck families, along with series spikes, including deaths, in every social problem from suicide, child abuse, family break-ups, loss of homes, loss of medical care and treatment,including health insurance, treatment for serious illness such as cancer and heart disease, to family violence and crime were warmed over as necessary “discomforts” as if people only wanted a trip to the beach. Facts were often buried, bulldozed, and misrepresented to prop up a strictly narrow catechism and narrative.
These were the problems many Americans witnessed, which only fueled the fires of the country’s unrest. The problems haven’t reached their peak yet, but its coming.
Why is the media culpable? Why are trust levels at historical rock bottom when the Americans are asked about these network talking heads and their select nanny experts?
Hugh Hewitt says it succinctly:
“The crisis is that the vast majority of Americans believe, with good reason, that all talking heads on television are somewhere on the political spectrum and that all the journalists, producers and executives standing behind them bend the news to fit their politics.”