BREAKING (BROKEN) NEWS
Posted November 30, 2016on:
Let’s face it, it’s not as if The Media has ever really been entirely a responsible being. Yellow Journalism has always existed and often some of it has been controlled by the rotten likes of William Randolph Hearst. But today’s public trust of The Media (“Lamestream!” and otherwise) is down to 32%. This is down from its highest rating of 72% in 1976. Frankly, I’m surprised the current number is as high as 32%. We have watched The Media descend into a bloody feeding frenzy of click-bait headlines (BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation) and ratings-grabbing reality TV style programming. Everything on CNN is BREAKING NEWS! All the time!!!!!! Even when all they’re showing is a bear that broke into some lady’s fridge and ate all her fish or a Trump rally without any editing or commentary. BREAKING NEWS! I suppose it’s possible that at any moment the bear will start singing “Hallelujah!” and Trump will say something reasonable, which would indeed be Breaking News! Alas, the headlines often turn out to be false (no, half of those Clinton met did not give money to Clinton Foundation) and the coverage lacking in integrity (Trump never did say anything reasonable), and all we have is a broken news media to show for it.
While HRC’s relationship with the media is known to be controversial, it’s Trump’s relationship with the media that they should have been worried about. They allowed themselves get locked up in pens at Trump’s rallies, listened to Trump taunt them from the stage, especially female reporters (NBC’s Katy Tur received multiple public shellackings and at one point needed Secret Service to escort her to her car from a rally because she no longer felt safe from Trump’s supporters,) got physically assaulted at Trump rallies and heard Trump’s constant threats that he will sue one media outlet or another for coverage he doesn’t like by expanding libel laws. But all they worried about were Hillary Clinton’s press conferences. This was big big news for weeks, yuuuge news. Even though Clinton always travelled with the full press pool and spoke to them daily and gave individual interviews, they were really worried about press conferences. It was Breaking News for weeks! Well, fast forward and Trump hasn’t held a press conference since July. And he dodges the press pool altogether as President-Elect (vomit) when he wants to because, well, why wouldn’t he! The Media is annoyed now. Maybe Trump doesn’t like them as much as they thought? SAD!
Trump’s two years worth of attacks on the press and their integrity should have given them a clue that perhaps Trump was not their friend. But they only seem to have gotten a clue when the President-Elect (barf) invited them to an off-the-record meeting at
Isengard Trump Tower. The brightest stars of TV news came out. George Stephanopoulos and Wolf Blitzer were there, and there’s David Muir and Charlie Rose! And look, it’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt! And head of CNN Jeff Zucker, the man who was head of NBC when Trump started firing people for ratings. They ran to this thing like it was an orgy. And then it turned into an execution. “It was like a fucking firing squad!” was how one person inside characterized it. (There’s shooting at both orgies and executions, so I can see how everybody got their signals mixed.)
Trump apparently said: “’We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’” This is all allegedly because the meeting was off-the-record. So The Media isn’t commenting. But you can bet your pattootie Trump’s people were the ones who leaked this to the NY Post within minutes. The headlines from Breitbart and Drudge were appropriately gleeful. “Baghdad Kellyanne” Conway, everybody’s favorite contrarian, argued things weren’t as intense as all that. “… no he did not explode in anger. He’s the president-elect. He won … winning solves a lot of problems. Winning makes a lot of statements.” (Yes, yes it does Baghdad Kellyanne. Lots of statements have been made, though I wonder what Baghdad Kellyanne thinks the statements are when HRC is winning the popular vote by 2,000,000 and counting. What statement does that make Baghdad Kellyanne? Kellyanne? Bueller?)
I wonder what the hallowed names of TV news like Rose, Blitzer and Holt think when the President-Elect (vomit) of the United States calls them liars to their face when they’ve tried to use every word except “liar” when covering Drumpf’s lies.When Trump tells Zucker in person “I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed.” What does Zucker, who employed journalist-assaulting Corey Lewandowski as a commentator while Lewandowski remained on Trump’s payroll, what does Zucker think? (He doesn’t think anything of it, actually). Did Zucker know Lewandowski and Kellyanne Conway were still working together throughout the campaign? Conway tweeted a photo of herself, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and Lewandowski, 4 days before the election with the tag: “Team Work.” Hmm…. Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey. What does Jeffrey think? I think we have two options. Either Zucker is an idiot or he knows exactly what is happening and is ok with it because CNN is making big boatloads of money off their Trump coverage. About a billion dollars worth. CBS head honcho Les Moonves said: “”It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS…The money’s rolling in and this is fun.” I hope everybody is having as much fun as Zucker and Moonves!
So with our illustrious TV news anchors and executives executed neutered by the President-Elect (vomit) – what do we have left? I’d say we can expect nothing from the boob tube, it has truly been boobified beyond repair, Lamestream to infinity. I’m afraid print journalism is our only hope. The NY Times, so flawed in so many ways (it’s hard to like a newspaper that continued to employ Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd… though they also still employ Paul Krugman.) Anyway, the Times also met with Drumpf, but they insisted that the meeting be on-the-record. Drumpf, still fresh off the TV Media massacre of 2016, attacked the “failing NY Times” on Twitter, cancelled the meeting, then re-scheduled it again. All in a matter of hours. Classic Trump! (Does anyone else think he’ll order the launch of a nuke, then change his mind? Will he change it quickly enough to cancel the nuke? Can a nuke be cancelled after it’s been launched? Stay tuned, it will be covered on Breaking News!) Then when Drumpf finally met with the failing NY Times, he said: “I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.” He then called them “a jewel.” (Charles Blow was having none of it. He refused to attend the meeting with Drumpf and then wrote in an op-ed: “You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.” Anybody care to guess what
Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd thinks?) I wonder if the Times meeting being recorded had anything to do with Drumpf’s fawning tone vs. the off-the-record TV luminaries meeting where he told them all to just go ahead and die? All I know is Drumpf is already up to #7 of this handy “Despots and the Media” Guide. He’s already making his own videos, bypassing the media altogether. Kind of like those videos Osama bin Laden used to make. In the meantime I can’t wait for Trump’s next Tweet about the failing NY Times. It will be tremendous.
Christiane Amanpour, accepting the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award at the Committee To Protect Journalists ceremony, delivered a blistering speech directed at fellow journalists. She had a lot of great things to say about The Media, its failures in the 2016 election, and what it must do to redeem itself.
So I feel that right now we face an existential crisis. A real threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Now, more than ever, I genuinely believe that we need to recommit to real reporting across a real nation and a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril….
Never equate victim and aggressor. Never create a false moral or factual equivalence. Because then, if you do, particularly in situations like that, you are party and accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.
So I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth. We have to be prepared to fight, especially hard, right now, for the truth, because this is a world where the Oxford English dictionary just last week announced its word for 2016, and that is, ‘post-truth’.
What’s on your mind Widdershins? Do you love The Media as much as it loves you? This is an open thread.
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