(RightWing.org) – There was a time when millions of Americans turned to the three big news networks every evening to get their news. Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings, from CBS and ABC respectively, were staples of trusted sources of information in the 1970s and 1980s. However, something began to change in the 2000s.
During the 2000 campaign between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, CBS’s Dan Rather misrepresented Bush’s military service in the National Guard to hurt his candidacy, knowing that it was wrong. It ultimately ruined Rather’s career when he admitted to making a “mistake in judgment.” The documents Rather used to indict Bush in a court of public opinion were proven to be fake.
For decades, the public knew the media was liberal, and it was widely accepted until they stopped being a government watchdog and became partisan hacks during President Donald Trump’s first term.
The Media No Longer a Watchdog
In the early years of the country, the media was a tool of political parties. For example, the New York Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton. His purpose for the paper was not objective journalism. It was to put out propaganda and a narrative in support of Federalism. Almost all newspapers in the early years of the country were founded to espouse political positions and create support for a given political agenda.
However, as the practice of journalism matured, journalists tried to set aside their personal feelings and report the news as objectively as possible. The subjectivity was oftentimes not in the reporting itself, but in deciding what to report.
Today, the media doesn’t just attack Republicans ferociously. It also plays cover for Democrats. The media has stopped being the watchdog that the government needs to ensure accountability. Instead, it’s an extension of the Democratic Party rooted in left-leaning political philosophy that has to win at all costs.
The media attacks on President Trump regarding Russian Collusion, impeachment, and taking his words out of context to fit a narrative likely played a role in the 2020 election. Political news in print, on TV, and online oftentimes inflamed passions against the president. Instead of reporting the news, they became the voice of the anti-Trump resistance.
They purposefully buried the Biden family pay for play scandal over the last month. They claimed there was no verifiable proof to suggest that the Bidens did anything wrong. That’s easy to assert and is technically true when the media refuses to verify if the story is true or not – that’s the other side of the coin.
Journalists Hurt Their Reputations
According to a Pew Research study in February 2020, 73% of Americans said it was important for journalists to act as a watchdog over politicians and government officials. If you ask the public what they think of the media, many may say they think more highly of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Okay, that might be slightly exaggerated. However, only 30% believed the media acts as a watchdog. This fell in line with suggestions that partisan Democrats liked the media’s reporting of Trump.
In 2017, fact-checkers determined that 96% of donations from journalists were given to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. This has the chilling effect of demonstrating to the public that the media isn’t objective in their reporting. To make matters worse, the Media Research Center proved a negative bias. In 2017, the media coverage of President Trump was 97% negative. In 2018, it was 90% negative.
What this could demonstrate is that the media is no longer the watchdog it was meant to be. Instead, it’s reverted to being a tool of a political party. That neither serves them nor the public well.
In the future, when a major scandal that deserves the media’s attention occurs, millions of Americans will tune out the media just when they need it the most. Distrust of the news is destructive to the health of a vibrant nation.
The question is, is it too late for the media to regain the people’s trust?
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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