Accuracy in Media

With Donald Trump claiming that he has been treated extremely unfairly by the press, the mainstream media are fighting back. He has often referred to The New York Times as “dishonest” and “failing.” And the Times seems to be pulling out all the stops in its efforts to discredit him. There is no doubt that this is the most vitriolic and hate-filled campaign season in the television era.

But now Times columnist Jim Rutenberg and others are suggesting that their normal journalistic standards are being tested. Normally, journalists argue, they would be equally hard on both sides. But in this case, Donald Trump is so uniquely crude, provocative, and dishonest that reporters can’t and shouldn’t be expected to stay neutral.

“If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that,” writes Rutenberg in “Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism.” “You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.”

“But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply?” continues Rutenberg. “And if they don’t, what should take their place?”

The mainstream media have been in the tank for Democratic presidential candidates for many elections. Consider, for example, the treatment of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) when he ran against then-candidate Barack Obama. “In 2008…journalists swooned over the prospect of Barack Obama as the first black president, and coordinated to discuss attacks on Obama’s critics,” notes Joel Pollak for Breitbart. “In one particularly noxious episode, a photographer working for the Atlantic photoshopped a cover image she had shot to cast McCain as a bloodthirsty monster.”

Later, when Mitt Romney ran for president against the incumbent Obama, “journalists plotted together to make Mitt Romney the target of Benghazi coverage, rather than Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—and CNN’s Candy Crowley infamously threw the second presidential debate to Obama,” writes Pollak.

Chris Cuomo of CNN spilled the beans a couple of years back, saying, “We [in the media] couldn’t help [Hillary] any more than we have.” His co-host laughed and agreed, saying “I know, I know.” Cuomo then added, “She’s got just a free ride so far from the media. We’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign.” It’s even more true today than it was back then.

Trump, on the other hand, has been compared to Nazi sympathizers and appeasers, called a racist, a demagogue, irrational, hateful—and even eager to use nuclear weapons. CNN’s Brian Stelter accused Trump of using “coded language” and “dog whistles” when speaking about Obama. Taking a candidate’s words at face value is the type of non-confrontational, hands off media treatment reserved for Hillary Clinton.

“It is journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment,” writes Rutenberg. He is saying, in not so many words, that journalists have a mandate to pre-judge what society will say about a president at the end of his term—before he even takes office. This is crystal ball punditry masking itself as journalism.

In another New York Times column, Thomas Friedman spews his hatred toward Trump: “Forget politics; he is a disgusting human being,” argues Friedman. “His children should be ashamed of him. I only pray that he is not simply defeated, but that he loses all 50 states so that the message goes out across the land—unambiguously, loud and clear: The likes of you should never come this way again.” Friedman writes opinion pieces for the Times, but is probably speaking for almost everyone at the paper.

He and Rutenberg are excusing blatant media bias under the assumption that Trump is uniquely hateful, and has brought this treatment down upon himself. Friedman cites Trump followers as having called to “lock [Hillary] up”—ignoring that irate Bernie Sanders supporters have called for the same thing.

“As for your question about Hillary Clinton, and you guys spoke about this a little bit today, too, when he takes up so much oxygen that the fear is, and I mentioned this in the column, that she doesn’t get looked at enough,” said Rutenberg on Morning Joe. Yes, he does acknowledge in the article that “her use of a private email server for, in some cases, top-secret national security information…warrants scrutiny, along with her entire record. But,” he explains, “the candidates do not produce news at the same rate.”

Again, it is somehow Trump’s fault that his opponent is favored by the media. Clearly, Trump has been his own worst enemy at times, failing to capitalize on days that Hillary should have been the story for having been caught in another lie. The truth is, Hillary Clinton gets a pass from the mainstream media because she is their favored candidate. She has lied over and over again about sending and receiving classified material on her homebrew server and pay-for-play as secretary of state, but the media often give these falsehoods a pass. Mishandling classified material as recklessly as she did for four years should disqualify her from becoming president.

Yes, Mrs. Clinton earned four Pinocchios from The Washington Post for misrepresenting FBI Director James Comey’s comments about her handling of classified information on her server. So why does she largely get a pass from the liberal media, as opposed to the rough treatment that the press has given Mr. Trump, tarring him as a veritable monster? Trump does get some positive press, and Hillary gets pummeled at times from talk radio, certain conservative websites, and Fox News. But it pales in comparison to the incessant drumbeat against Trump.

Reporters, like those at The New York Times, must believe that history will absolve them for rooting for the Democratic candidate—and saving the world from a Trump presidency.

In his column Friedman compares Trump’s “Second Amendment” comment about Hillary Clinton to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. “But there are always people down the line who don’t hear the caveats,” Friedman writes. “They just hear the big message: The man is illegitimate, the man is a threat to the nation, the man is the equivalent of a Nazi war criminal. Well, you know what we do with people like that, don’t you? We kill them.”

In reality, these are exactly the charges regularly expressed against Trump. There was, in fact, a failed attempt to assassinate him. Yet The Washington Post excused the lackluster coverage of this assassination attempt as Trump’s fault for not pushing for greater coverage. “If Trump wanted to make this episode big news, he could do it,” reports Callum Borchers for the Post.

No matter the excuse, the mainstream media will continue to perpetuate their double standard towards presidential candidates. Contrary to the rhetoric, it’s all about helping one particular candidate win—and ensuring that the other one loses. Rutenberg’s assertion that the press faces tough questions about whether to remain objective in this election is false. The press has not, and will not, be objective this presidential cycle.




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Comments

  • When has the media wanted to be ‘neutral?’

    Wayne

  • Jack Parsons

    Once-secret e-mails belonging to Democrat Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton expose the involvement of Obama’s then-secretary of state in shipping weapons to jihadists, including to terrorists in the Islamic State, or ISIS. Clinton played a key role in funneling weaponry from Libya, which she helped destroy alongside jihadist allies on the ground, to Obama-backed terror groups in Syria.
    One e-mail reveals that an effort by Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to create a gold-backed currency for the region was among the key reasons globalists supported killing Gadhafi and destroying Libya. Other e-mails reveal that the Obama administration knowingly supported al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, hoping to create an Islamic State. Another shows that Clinton knew her Libyan “rebels” were massacring blacks as part of an “ethnic cleansing” campaign, along with other war crimes. So far, though, the press has largely ignored the scandals, and in some especially bizarre cases has even tried to deny reality.
    Ironic considering that the pop media “..view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous..”. A case of white is black and black is white.

  • Greg_Deane ?????? ?????????

    The New York Times is just the worst of an entire industry that prides itself on objectivity it doesn’t have and hasn’t since the Kennedy’s took the White House. Since them, ‘progressive reforms’ have created a virtue out of deceit and myth-mongering, and the cultural Marxists have invented the crime of “populism” which is perpetrated when a politician has the temerity to represent the electorate as it wishes. The best way to get media outlets to reform is to ignore them. Of course, by not reading them or watching them I won’t know if they reformed, but they might improve to hang on to their rump audiences, or go bankrupt and close down.

  • The Dutchman

    Today’s lame stream medias no longer report the news, they only report their opinion of events after the dumbocraps approve it!

  • Paul T Whelan Sr.

    Bull… the media is no where near neutral and don’t even try. I only caught a few minutes at the end of Trumps speech on “Law and order” the other night, but was excited that he called out the Democrats for things like destroying the inner cities with welfare and food stamp excesses instead of jobs. I could tell it had been an honest history of the Democrats rule. I can’t wait to watch the entire speech. I turned on ABC a few minutes later to hear them gushing over Hillary’s rally for several minutes. Then… they splashed up a picture of Trump and mentioned he also had a rally. That was it! I read a report last week from the Media Research Center that all the big news agencies are run by liberals that donate big time to the Democratic party and the Clinton foundation. If Trump does not win, we will never have another Non-Democrat in the white house. The Constitution (which I have read!) will not survive another President like Obama.

  • Once again, your article confirms the utter trash and garbage that has emerged from the New York Slimes. First, nobody should use Rutenberg or the despicable, vile Friedman to set the bar on fair reporting. This, moreover, has nothing to do with Trump. The history of the Slimes’ and other media stooges biased & dishonest reporting started long before the arrival of Trump. Indeed, after the shooting of the armed Black man in Milwaukee, the Slimes’ immediately reported that the decedent was unarmed. This report had all the earmarks of a vile Obama “news” report. And then the Candy Crowley stooge performance.
    What people like Rutenberg are totally clueless about is that the acclaim Trump has received is traceable, not only to the Washington politicians , but also to the media stooges, who have ignored what’s going on in the U.S. The media frauds would rather bend over for the vile Obama and his continuing lies, deceiving Americans, rather than learning about n the decay Obama has brought about in the last 8 years. Trump’s greatest sin is tha at at he exposed the fraud perpetrated in Washington, long covered up by the White House press stooges. Watching them at a press conference is the same as SNL Remember Margaret Brennan.

    What is also comical is Morning Joe and his sidekick, the elitist snot nose, Mica, purporting to conduct tough questioning of Rutenberg. This is like Valerie Jarrett conducting an interview of Obama.

    Again, the so called conduct of the media is helping to make the US a banana republic, run on the basis of garbage propaganda. Idi Amin would be proud.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    “The mainstream media have been in the tank for Democratic presidential candidates for many elections.”

    Good article…right up until you typed that BS sentence.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    You’re a really special type of stupid, aren’t you? You have bought into the right wing nonsense hook, line and sinker. I have to give you that. Nothing you say is even remotely true. The beautiful thing is that it’s idiots like you who gave up Donald Trump, GOP Nominee. You have guaranteed at least 8 more years of Democrats in the White House. Well played, dummy.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    “I only caught a few minutes at the end of Trumps speech on “Law and order” the other night, but was excited that he called out the Democrats for things like destroying the inner cities with welfare and food stamp excesses instead of jobs.”

    Yeah, but intelligent people know that what Drumpf said was utter nonsense and the networks have finally started covering it as such. Have fun losing in November.

  • gene456

    So the normally “unbiased” media (Are you freaking KIDDING us?) is attacking Trump solely because he says they’re biased, and for no other reason. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

    That’s like saying a husband is violent only because the wife says he’s violent.

    PLEASE! We were not born yesterday.

    BTW, Aronoff. List for us all the Republican Presidential candidates the New York Times has endorsed. Case closed.

  • gene456

    That’s the question I had as well. I think the authoe means it facetiously, though I think it IS a misleading title.

  • gene456

    LOL!! You think so, eh? Take a look at the Trump rallies in contrast to those for Cankles – there’s no comparison. You’re in for one HELL of a surprise this fall, turkey.

  • michael corbin

    So the candidates don’t produce news at the same rate. What about the quality of the news. In one you have a candidate that slings mud back at he people that throw it his way.
    Hillary’s news, Clinton foundation accused of money laundering.State Dept. making deals that benefit Hillary and her family(Does selling our uranium,destroying emails eve after being ordered by a Fed. judge to be turned over, illegal server the blatant lies about Benghazi and calling the families liars.
    Really there’s a comparison? Or is just personal like Friedman said, forget politics.
    Typical libs defending typical libs, plain and simple.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    Trump rallies? Seriously? Look at the NUMBERS, you numbskull! Even the most recent Fox “News” poll shows him getting trounced. HE is already blaming the media and “cheating” for the loss that he knows is coming. Wake the hell up!

  • G.B.

    I am pretty sure that the MSM goes after Republicans it has nothing to do with the man, it has to do with the party.

    The difference with The Donald is that he fights back. The MSM is not used to Republicans calling them out for their bias.

  • NERDWORLD PROBLEMS

    So even from their own mouths, he hasn’t done anything to prevent them from being fair or honest, they just don’t think they should have to be because they don’t like him. That also goes for any other conservative in the country, they just can’t be fair or honest about them either, because they don’t like them. On the other hand, they just love them some liberal folks, can’t get enough of them really. So that means they can’t be fair or honest about them either because they shouldn’t be held to the same standards as normal humans, now should they. The ends justify the means and they simply must win at all costs, so they have to help them, right?

  • Taurnil Oronar

    I don’t believe your headline for a second and you just want me to swallow a boat load of bilge.

  • Gaye

    wonderful column! hits the nail directly on the head. thank goodness you’re out there, Roger. people like me depend on people like you to tell it like it REALLY is. as for tom Friedman, how dare he compare mr trump to a “Nazi War Criminal.”. obviously, as smart as he believes he is, he’s not THAT smart OR sensitive to holocaust history or he would never, I repeat NEVER, make such an abominable statement. to compare Donald trump to those monsters displays pure unadulterated ignorance of all of Holocaust History. I’ll bet, if the truth be known, he’s a George Soros fan or maybe even his buddy. shame on you, mr Friedman, shame on you!

  • This double standard needs to be destroyed…and I will do all that I can to help destroy it.

  • Gz7

    Hey, they’re looking for you!

  • logic4Uall

    Iron…the polls gauge a few hundred well picked, Trump’s rally garners thousands in attendance…HRC luckey to break 500….NO comparison.

  • logic4Uall

    more rationalization as to the reason, no, the excuse for biased reporting. This is called cognitive dissonance…all liberal pundits have it in abundance.

  • IronChefSandwiches

    The fact that you use “logic” as part of your screen name while not using any is … ironic?

    I suggest you take a statistics class so you can understand the science behind polling.

    Oh, and attendance at rallies? Bernie had more at his than Trump. He didn’t even win the nomination. Rally attendance is meaningless.

  • Steven Barrett

    You want a truly or as close to a truly genuine, or in Maddowesque, “really, really, really,” unbiased media? The next time you head out to go grocery shopping, reach no further for the least challenging thing put to the presses. It’s called a “shopper.” Well, you might not like the prices. So who do you complain to? The stores who paid for most of the ads you’re not crabbing about for being dishonest?

    Good luck there. At least a regular paper, however “biased” it might be or not, depending on how seriously its owners take seriously their claims to put out only the most “fair and balanced” reporting will usually have some space set aside for “letters to the editor.” Outside of that, good luck, unless you’re dealing with a radio or television station. And the FCC will get involved only if there’s enough credible complaints.

    Let’s face it, there is no such thing as a free and unbiased source of news. At least not in a country that takes its freedom of expression seriously. It’s one of the smaller prices we’ve asked anybody to pay for the precious freedom so many of our ancestors have fought and died for and so many of our bravest advocates and their clients have gone to court to defend. We only need to complain, go support another store that’s paying for most of the paper we love to hate the most. In other words, we only need to actually do so little. But don’t we like to whine, pout and sit on our asses on election days while harking at our radios even if there’s nobody listening to us but our pets.

  • terry1956

    Why destroy it?
    Don’t destroy the media, do not even censure it, expand the media options big time.
    One of several ways call for eliminating the unconstitutional FCC.
    In no way shape or form does the constitution give ownership or control over allocation of that ownership to the federal government and even if the constitution allowed the congress to have that authority it would be highly unproductive to continue to allow congress to have that authority in a similar fashion that while article 1 section 8 allows congress to establish post offices it is extremely foolish for congress to do so.

  • terry1956

    Is it true that as a teen Soros sold out his fellow Jewish people going to concentration camps by buying their stuff for pennies on the dollar?

  • terry1956

    Well while the sentence is to general if it had said most of the MSM it would have been right and many of the MSM will admit it.

  • terry1956

    I read about a recent poll that possibly sounds legit and scientifically sounder than most of 50,000 people 33% republicans, 33% democrats and 33% independents.
    Trump got at or near a super majority.
    The trouble is 1,000 people were polled in each of the 50 states and electoral votes are not allocated equally between each state unless no one gets a majority and the selection goes to the US House.
    Still if that was a legit and sound poll it would show that a super majority of the states favor Trump over Hillary.
    I still suspect Hillary will win but because of health reasons or trial by senate or possible trial by senate Kane will be the president before 2020. More likely the first because this is not 1919 or even 1945 a sick president out of their mind will not be able to get away with it like Wilson and FDR did.
    I also suspect that if Trump wins he will be run out of office before 2020 and Pence will be president because enough Republicans will be willing to go alone with a majority of the democrats in the House to impeach him and there will be more than two thirds of the US Senate willing to convict him and remove him from office.

  • terry1956

    Hitler drew very large numbers in rally before the election but he did not get a majority of the voters did he?
    Slick Willy drew large crowds but he did not get a majority of the voters, although yes he got a majority of the electoral votes.
    Obama drew large crowds in 2008 but he did not get a majority of those able to vote to vote for him and in fact in the primary season only 15% did but only 10% voted for Romney in the 2012 primary season.
    Is it safe to say that combined Trump and Hillary got less than 50 million votes?
    If so then they got less than the combined 08 primary of Obama and the 12 of Romney and I suspect they got less than 40 million or less than 20% of those able to vote.
    What likely is right about most of the polls is that a majority does not want either Hillary or Trump for president.

  • terry1956

    Well there are other options to Trump or Hillary and if enough voters voted for those others in enough states it could throw the election pick to the House with an equal vote for each state represented in the US House and a majority likely would be a republican but it might not be Trump.
    I doubt that happens and I think it is pretty sure that Hillary or Trump will be the next president and I suspect the odds will be with Hillary but Kane will take over in two to three years because of Hillary resigning because of poor health or a good chance of being removed from office by congress and facing criminal charges afterwards or both.
    Of course she will do like Nixon and get the VP to approve a pardon in exchange for leaving office, then the Clinton foundation can continue to make big money.
    If Trump is elected then I really suspect he will step down in 2 to 4 years or be removed by congress and Pence will be president.
    Now if Trump gets in and just does window dressing on the trade deals and immigration he likely will get through the 4 years without much trouble from the establishment in congress although it is less likely he will get a second term.

  • Steven Barrett

    Damn hard to be “neutral” if you have to wonder if you’ll be sportin’ a welt or two on your noggin when you return to your desk to finish your newscopy. Herman, with your “symbol” are you trying to fool the rest of us in to thinking you’re an egghead? I’m 64 years beyond the point where you could further jibe me as being born yesterday. C’mon, who’s writing you stuff. Are you “channeling” Archie Bunker by any chance?

  • IronChefSandwiches

    That’s…not how polling works, dude.