A new Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday found that only 30 percent of U.S. voters thought this year’s coverage of the presidential campaign was good or excellent, and this comes as a CBS digital writer ripped his own profession for its “unbearable smugness” while covering the campaign.
According to Rasmussen, “Republicans and unaffiliated voters are far more critical of media coverage than Democrats are…” The survey also found that people are just as critical of social media, and about half of those who turned to cable news and internet sites were left wanting.
And then comes political correspondent Will Rahn, managing director, politics, for CBS News Digital, who acknowledges up front, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory.”
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Here’s more of Rahn’s brutally honest assessment:
“The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.
“And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.”
Almost as if to underscore Rahn’s justification for verbally eating his own, another writer unleashed a fury of vituperation in The New Yorker, calling Trump’s election “nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.”
David Remnick shows no pretense of balance.
“Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy,” says Remnick. “On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”
The campaign of 2016 may have irreparably damaged, if not fatally wounded, the American news media. Stacked side-by-side, Rahn’s reflection and Remnick’s rant amount to damning evidence that the American public – citizens who depend upon journalists for critical, accurate and objective information on which they base their decisions – have been woefully and perhaps willfully cheated.
Rahn put it best: “Our theme now should be humility. We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover.”
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