One hardly has to read past the fold of the front page to find examples of absurdist attacks on conservatives by the mainstream media these days. The over-the-top criticism of the First Lady’s high heels as she departed Washington DC to visit Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The recent New York Times article asserting Vice President Mike Pence is planting seeds for a 2020 presidential campaign. The piece by the same outlet commenting on White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders style and lack of suits or jackets. Reuter’s decision to live stream Sean Spicer’s home following his resignation… this list is endless.
In the wake of an untold number of fake news stories and regular derision aimed at conservatives, many Americans are struggling to trust the long-held, invisible role of the media. Mainstream media journalists believe the next four years may unfold a once in a life-time opportunity to wield their craft, but for most Americans, the Fourth Estate no longer seems to serve the purpose of bettering our nation as it once did.
No surprise, a recent Pew Research Center poll found that eighty-five percent of Republicans say the news media has a negative effect on our country.
But where Republicans struggle with regular assault from the mainstream media, it is apparent that Democrats in fact do not. The Pew study found that over the last year alone, the Democrats’ view of the effect mainstream media has on our society has become more positive.
So where is this disconnect coming from?
The stark and growing divide is a direct reflection of the rift between the two parties. It is the American tradition to full-heartedly support a free and open press, but this tradition comes with the expectation that the Fourth Estate has a dispassionate yearning for the truth. Hard questions are welcomed when no one gets a free pass. So where was the mainstream media during the Obama Administration? Where was the mainstream media during scandal after scandal from Hillary Clinton?
This divide must serve as a call upon the mainstream media to do some soul-searching. As the media works to redefine itself in an age of technology, responsible journalists must consider their role in the widening gulf between conservatives and liberals. If civility is dead, who pushed her off the cliff?
As the gulf grows – many mainstream media journalists at outlets like the New York Times and MSNBC have become unashamed of their need to not report the narrative but control it.
Recently, Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski notoriously stated, “[President Trump] is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, President Trump could have undermined the messaging so much that he could actually control exactly what people think – and that is our job.”
No one should be controlling what American’s think, but least of all commentators like Mika Brzezinski.
These comments are a prime example of the mainstream media thinking they know what is best for Americans. But even Democratic leaders are coming around to the fact that they lost the 2016 election due to their inability to listen to the American people—the only people who know what they need best.
Republicans, however, have been listening to their base—those who have grown to distrust the media and institutions—for a long time. And more than just listening, Republicans have doggedly pursued goals to make the lives of Americans better.
Here, the proof is in the pudding. Republicans hold the White House, both the House and the Senate, 34 governorships (following West Virginia Governor Jim Justice recently joining the GOP), 25 state government trifectas, and 68 of 99 state legislative chambers. So why does the mainstream media feel justified in spinning narratives that certainly seem to target a majority simply for disagreeing with their ideals?
One thing that must be said is that there are indeed many honest and dedicated journalists who do not fit into nor identify with this new mold of mainstream media. But truly, we must ask ourselves, where did the rest of the honest, common-sense journalists go?
Perhaps the only thing Americans can all agree upon is that journalism is not what it used to be.