Accuracy in Media

Saritha Prabhu is a columnist for The Tennesseean newspaper in Nashville and no fan of President Trump.

But Prabhu has had to admit Trump was right on an important point – the American media is hopelessly biased in favor of the left.

“I’m a liberal Democrat who didn’t realize for a long time that our mainstream media is biased,” Prabhu wrote in a piece for The Federalist. “I lived in a kind of information bubble, but like most bubble-dwellers, I didn’t know I was living in one.”

Prabhu, who immigrated to the U.S. from India 16 years ago, said her “awakening came accidentally when I realized in 2016 that I just couldn’t support Hillary Clinton.” She ended up casting a protest vote for Gary Johnson because she thought Clinton was “arrogant, entitled, corrupt and dishonest.”

As the year went on, she became “quietly incensed.” She couldn’t help noticing repeatedly how the mainstream media was “shielding and enabling Clinton in her dissembling and media avoidance.” Commentators on the big liberal networks – CNN and NBC – as well as the New York Times either ignored or made light of Clinton’s problems with the private email server, compromising state secrets and questionable multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Yes, conservative outlets seemed to shill for the Republicans – Sean Hannity comically so for Donald Trump, she said. “But the mainstream media’s bias is something else, and it affects me personally. It leaves me feeling angry, betrayed, frustrated.”

Prabhu said as a media consumer she expected news to be objective, honest and fair-minded. She understood commentators and pundits take sides, but she said they’re “still expected to be fair, honest and rational.”

But that’s not what happened in 2016, she said. “The minute journalists take sides and favor one side over the other, and try to actively effect a desired outcome, they lose credibility with their viewers and readers. Once lost, that credibility can’t be regained.”

The New York Times’ columnists, she said, wrote anti-Trump columns throughout 2016 and “acted like Hillary’s problems were happening in a galaxy far away.”

She singled out columnist Paul Krugman for being particularly mean-spirited and biased. He “especially, lost credibility in my eyes for literally becoming a Hillary shill in 2016, insisting repeatedly that her email troubles were overblown and a right-wing concoction.”

Rachel Maddow was no better. Prabhu said she couldn’t bear to watch her then and still can’t. “She’s a fine journalist who has wide knowledge and command of the facts, but her relentless, overdone partisanship was and is too much for me.”

The mainstream media, “shamed and humbled by Trump’s electoral victory,” then attacked post-election with everything it had. They “overplayed their hand, and not a little,” she wrote. “They’ve joined the “Resistance” and see themselves as grand defenders of democracy, as brave protectors of norms and institutions.”

This explains the excessive preening by reporters, she said. “It is painful to watch CNN’s Jim Acosta often preen and editorialize on-air even though he is a White House correspondent and his job is to report,” she wrote. “It is painful to watch White House reporter April Ryan ask an overwrought question, such as ‘Does this administration think that slavery is wrong?’”

She said what’s worse is the way liberals lap this stuff up … “so bubble-oriented that they don’t recognize the journalistic malpractice going on before their very eyes.”

As evidence, she pointed to the coverage of the Donna Brazile story, when the former head of the Democratic National Committee charged Clinton had effectively taken control of the party a year before the election, dimming the prospects of any challenger overtaking her for the nomination. The networks ignored it. The New York Times “especially outdid itself,” burying the story within a story titled, “Hillary Clinton Gets an Award and Tears are Shed.”

“By not giving this story the coverage it deserved in the initial days, the mainstream media, in some ways, confirmed to me what President Trump has been saying for some time: that they are often dishonest and biased. I still watch CNN and enjoy the Times’ non-political articles. But I watch and read their political coverage with cynical, distrusting eyes.”

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