Just in time for a day full of misreporting from the organizations we rely on to deliver the news, conservative/libertarian group Prager U has released another superb video explaining why mainstream reporting has killed our trust in it.
Prager U teamed up with the author of The Smear, Sharyl Attkisson, who highlighted the fact that the age of unbiased, nonpartisan reporting is not only gone, but that reporting with bias is often encouraged and rewarded.
“First, firewalls that once strictly separated news from opinion have been replaced by hopelessly blurred lines. Once-forbidden practices, such as editorializing within straight news reports and the inclusion of opinions as if fact, are not only tolerated—they’re encouraged,” said Attkisson. “The result: It’s never been harder for Americans to separate news that’s real from news that’s not.”
Attkisson gave the example of a recent New York Times piece where Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey interviewed Trump’s ex-girlfriend, Rowanne Lane. The story not only took Lane’s quotes out of context — a thing Lane called out when the story was published — but provided their own quotes and presented them as facts:
Once the story was published, she publicly accused the Times of misleading her, writing a “hit piece” against Trump and putting a “negative connotation” on what—she said—was “not…a negative experience.”
No matter where you stand, this was a huge development in terms of journalism: the main source behind front-page national news discredited the entire premise of the story.
“You’d expect something like that to rock the whole news organization and prompt investigations, a retraction, and re-examination of policies,” said Attkisson. “Yet, I can find no record of any of that. The Times and their reporters never even apologized or printed a correction.”
Attkisson also highlighted the blatant bias when it comes to how they treat gaffes from politicians on the left vs. the right.
In May 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said he had visited 57 states. Since there are only 50 states, everyone knew what he meant. He meant to say was that he had visited 47 states. The remark, nothing more than a verbal gaffe, drew little attention. And it didn’t deserve more. But when Sarah Palin made a comparable gaffe, saying, “We’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies,” she was relentlessly ridiculed and mocked in the media even though everyone knew she meant to say “South Korean allies.”
Attkisson says there’s a solution, but it first has to come with the honesty the mainstream media is sorely lacking. Admitting to your bias, and being open that you’re reporting from a partisan angle will go a long way to helping the general public regain a smidgeon of trust.
Until that admission happens, nothing can be changed.
“I’m frequently asked, “Can the news be fixed?” The answer is yes…but the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that we have one,” said Attkisson. “Until we do that, nothing can change.”