Don’t Let Big Media Off The Hook
03 May 2017
If reactions on social media are any indication, too many are giving The New York Times and other prominent news outlets a relative pass for their obsessive, irresponsible Hillary coverage while being forgiving of their elevating Trump with no more than pale vetting. To make money, they turned one of the most important decisions of our lifetime into a game show. Now Americans are living the reality while rich, privileged media types like Andrea Mitchell feign shock as they retreat to tony high-rise condos. Media apologists, to cover the stain of their actions, pretend they “just didn’t know how to cover Trump.” Simple: Don’t let him phone in interviews. Don’t elevate him with $2 billion of free airtime. When he lies, you call it a lie. And share the proof. Loudly. Immediately. Easy.
Hillary Clinton ran a gutsy, progressive inclusive campaign focused on policy. She released 30+ years of full tax returns and was more honest than any other 2016 candidate, per the Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact. Yet she was excoriated daily.
The New York Times’ Vendetta against Hillary Clinton is well documented (read here, here and here). Yet to this day, owners of “the paper of record” fall back on snobbery, defensively eschewing wrongdoing.
In the “can you believe this” department, The New York Times just hired climate change denier Bret Stephens to write for them. To further complement the “election” of Trump, The New York Times has penned countless articles on “understanding” the Trump voter, while ignoring Clinton’s voters who outnumbered his by nearly 3 million. Therefore, I feel required to keep repeating that despite horrid media bias, rogue FBI Director Comey, GOP smear and Russian interference in our electoral process, Hillary Clinton won more votes than any white male in history. For this, she was labeled the worst candidate EVAH.
But before we subscribe to NYT and others’ revisionist history, let’s remember, The New York Times is the same organization that made the case for the Iraq War, so there’s no pretending they are sainted. This is not to disparage some great reporters who work for them, but their quality is a given and does not address the larger problem of the paper’s political desk. Such a prestigious organization can get just about anyone they want to work for them. A better question is whom do they choose to hire and why.
Longtime Politico reporter Maggie Haberman regularly wrote about Hillary with a subtle but clear negative bent. Why do you think the Times hired Haberman to cover Hillary in the 2016 election cycle? No one is saying she isn’t a good reporter otherwise, but the medium is the message – and The New York Times got the negative message it wanted. Maureen Dowd, one of NYT’s most powerful columnists has bashed Hillary to the point of frenzy for many years. Don’t you think she would be admonished, reined in, even fired if she were not delivering the result the owners of The New York Times desired?
Relentless character assassination is a powerful brainwashing tool, as is mainstream media’s normalization of the demagogic Trump.
While The Nation’s Joan Walsh castigated NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet for numerous recent transgressions, hiring Stephens among them, she still swears she will “not give up” on the paper. Much as I respect her, I disagree with her choice. People who continue to behave shamelessly have no shame. If they did, they wouldn’t do what they’re doing. So the only way to make them “feel” anything is in the pocketbook. In other words, #GrabYourWallet.
#Resistance is working: marching, calling, writing, attending town halls to challenge Congressional representatives, and yes, the #GrabYourWallet movement. Why can’t the same work with mainstream media?
If you want change, you must starve the beast. If I protest a politician, yet keep voting for him, my appeals are worthless. Once he knows he has my vote, I am but a “notch on the bedpost” – and he just stopped listening.
If subscribers en masse reject one media outlet, like perhaps, The New York Times, demanding an end to sexist coverage, for example, might that not have a chilling effect elsewhere?
Of course there is no guarantee such a tactic will work but just ask Fox News how they liked the recent scandals about sexual harassment and their improper treatment of people of color? Ailes, O’Reilly and Shine are gone. Not because the organization has shame. But because they were losing money. Their “brand” was being harmed.
Every time “respected” media outlets like WaPo or NYT, CNN, NBC, ABC castigated Hillary over “optics” or pushed false equivalencies between the most qualified candidate in a generation and the dishonest, erratic Trump, they were driving the narrative and the news – not reporting it. Network and major newspaper owners are not clueless puppets blown sideways through life. I don’t buy for a moment they were blindsided by a demagogue. Even if media operatives never believed such a man could be elected*, he picked off 16 other Republican contenders easily. They had to see the writing on the wall. These are educated people perfectly capable of doing proper vetting and in depth reportage if they so choose.
But they’re not going to choose fairness without pressure.
Please spend, or don’t spend, your dollars accordingly.
Anita Finlay is the bestselling author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin — the untold story of Hillary’s 2008 campaign and the bias that, to this day, plagues women who dare to lead. #1 on Amazon’s Women in Politics books for 16 weeks.
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