A writer at the New York Post on Sunday literally unloaded on his colleagues in journalism, accusing the New York Times and Washington Post of having “jettisoned all pretense of fair play” in their coverage of presidential politics, taking a decided tilt against Republican Donald Trump.
Author Michael Goodwin declared that what is happening “before our eyes” is what he called “the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.” And that was just for openers.
There is a strong perception, at least on the political right, that the “mainstream press” is not really “mainstream” at all, but decidedly biased toward liberal politics and policies in general, and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in particular.
“Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent,” Goodwin wrote in an essay that covered a lot of bases.
In the first 785 of his 1,152 words, Goodwin didn’t just indict today’s journalists, he verbally gutted them with a dull knife. For example, he singled out the NY Times for being “so out of the closet as a Clinton shill that it is giving itself permission to violate any semblance of evenhandedness in its news pages as well as its opinion pages.”
Goodwin’s remarks might be dismissed as the rant of some disenfranchised hack, but for this passage:
“Liberal bias in journalism is often baked into the cake. The traditional ethos of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable leads to demands that government solve every problem. Favoring big government, then, becomes routine among most journalists, especially young ones.
“I know because I was one of them. I started at the Times while the Vietnam War and civil rights movement raged, and was full of certainty about right and wrong.”
He cites an Aug. 7 column by the NY Times’ Jim Rutenberg as more evidence. Rutenberg writes about “our shifting media landscape,” and in this particular column, he took a plow to that landscape.
“Covering Mr. Trump as an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate is more than just a shock to the journalistic system,” Rutenberg wrote. “It threatens to throw the advantage to his news conference-averse opponent, Hillary Clinton, who should draw plenty more tough-minded coverage herself.”
Rutenberg pulled no punches in his critique of Clinton’s rare appearance opposite Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” In that interview, Clinton claimed that FBI Director James Comey had essentially cleared her of wrongdoing in the e-mail scandal. Rutenberg said Clinton’s assertions amounted to “a grossly misleading interpretation of an F.B.I. report that pointed up various falsehoods in her public explanation.”
“And, most broadly,” Rutenberg added, “it upsets balance, that idealistic form of journalism with a capital ‘J’ we’ve been trained to always strive for.
“But let’s face it,” he acknowledged, “Balance has been on vacation since Mr. Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy.”
For his part, Goodwin on Sunday perhaps wrote the epitaph of American journalism: “By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards. No future producer, editor, reporter or anchor can be expected to meet a test of fairness when that standard has been trashed in such willful and blatant fashion.”
If Goodwin and Rutenberg are correct, it may very well be the proverbial “cold day in Hell” before “mainstream America” ever again accepts any news as entirely credible, even the weather report.
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