If there is anything I learned from the Greg Gianforte debacle it’s that a significant portion of the American electorate not only distrust the media, they downright loathe the media.
Distrust of the media is nothing new, and I happen to agree that much of the distrust stems from their sometimes sloppy and lazy work. Reporters and journalists can argue all they want that there isn’t a bias against Republicans and conservatives, but there is. I don’t use the term “liberal media” because that denotes coordination. And while a segment of the public believes it, I don’t.
However, the biases of the reporters sometimes come out in their reporting. Sometimes it is subtle. For example, most journalists will not describe pro-life individuals as “pro-life.” They will more often than not call them “anti-abortion.” On the flip side, they never refer to the opposing side as “pro-abortion.” They are called “pro-choice” or they’re said to “support abortion rights.”
In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza wrote a profile of Sally Yates and recalled when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He writes:
Yates faced nine senators, eight of them men, who at times lectured her about her responsibilities.
“Are you familiar with 8 U.S.C. Section 1182?” Senator Ted Cruz asked.
“Not off the top of my head, no,” Yates replied.
“It is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement, and that led to your termination. So it—it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute.”
Cruz read a portion of the law, which vested the President with the authority to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants,” and gave a self-satisfied grin.
I saw the same testimony. First of all, Sally Yates is a capable and intelligent woman who pretty much ran the Justice Department in the final months of the Obama administration. Surely the fact that men were questioning her has no bearing on her ability to testify. Also, senators of both parties, regardless of gender, love preening for the camera. They were hardly lecturing her. And Ted Cruz always has a self-satisfied grin on his face.
That’s bias. It’s subtle, but it is there.
Bias also exists in how much coverage a story garners from the press. The I.R.S. scandal, for example, was criminally under-reported with conservative media outlets leading the way. That nobody received punishment for what they did is unconscionable, and if they’d gone after that story with the zeal and vigor they’ve covered President Trump, the afflicted parties might have seen justice done.
So there is more than enough reason to distrust the media and be skeptical of their reporting. But what I have witnessed going back to the start of the general election campaign in 2016 is a hostility like I’ve never seen before. People at Trump rallies cursed at and spat at reporters. Trump declared the media the “enemy of the American people.” News sources such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post had the “fake news” label slapped on them.
But it wasn’t only mainstream media news sources that Trump fans detested and dismissed. Conservative news outlets became part of the “enemy.” Two outlets in particular, RedState and National Review, were at the forefront of the conservative movement in rejecting Donald Trump as a candidate for President. It resulted in a strong backlash from Trump supporters who started calling authors at both sites, “RINO’s,” “cucks,” “liberals,” and many other absurd names. The people who were saying these things couldn’t fathom the irony of supporting a long-time Manhattan Democrat while calling others liberals.
My fellow RedState writers, as well as those at National Review, got slapped with the laughable accusation of being anti-Trump for the money. The people who jumped aboard the Trump train cashed in. If anything, being opposed to Trump cost people money.
The anger and hostility towards the media didn’t die down after Trump’s inauguration. If anything, the anger and vitriol only increased. Some people have so insulated themselves by reading only pro-Trump websites such as Breitbart and Gateway Pundit that almost any news originating from other sources is deemed “fake news” and ignored.
The anger comes through on social media. Here is a message I received on my professional Facebook page after using a Hannity meme frequently used here on RedState:
WHO’S IDEA WAS IT TO POST THAT PICTURE OF HANNITY WEARING TIN FOIL HAT AND DROOLING ? IT IS APPALLING, BETWEEN FALSE HEADLINES AND THIS THAT SITE WILL BE LOSING VIEWERS !!!!!!!!!!
The following is a comment left by somebody on Facebook in reply to an article I posted:
JAY CARUSO IS A RABID SODOMITE WHO WRITES FOR THE COMMUNIST-MARXIST RAG RED STATE, A PUBLICATION FOUNDED FROM THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KREMLIN. THIS BASTARD IS AN AMERICA HATER EXTRADANAIR (ISN’T ANYONE WHO CONTRIBUTES TO THIS MARXIST RAG RED STATE?) I HAVE ALSO READ ON VARIOUS REPORTS THAT ANTI-AMERICAN CARUSO ALSO HAS BEEN CAUGHT “PLAYING WITH HIMSELF” WHILE OOGLING OVER A PHOTO OF BARACK OBAM,A, aka: “GOD,” WHILE SITTING ON THE TOILET.
Granted, I laughed at this comment, but it’s indicative of what I see from people all the time if they’re pro-Trump. It’s why I wasn’t surprised when I saw people defend Greg Gianforte’s assault on reporter Ben Jacobs.
That’s where we are at this point. There is a segment of Trump voters who will not trust anything written about President Trump if the story or article paints him in a negative light. People are free of course, to believe what they want. But Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s words remain:
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
If that’s too difficult for people to handle, they can continue to ignore the truth for their reality. But it will come back to bite them in the end.