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The Media Are the Problem

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

From the moment Donald Trump took office, the key word from Democrats in Washington has been “Resist.” They’ve enlisted the support of the willing “Destroy Trump” media to keep ridiculous fake news assaults alive.

Yes, there is evidence of Russia attempting to influence the election, but there’s no evidence that it impacted even one vote. What is seldom reported by the media is that there is absolutely no evidence of any crime by Trump or his administration in participating in any form of conspiracy or collusion.

Newt Gingrich observes that the liberal “attack media” seems to have one controlling mantra—“Trump has done something terrible; we just don’t know what it is yet.” The media has circulated claims by unnamed sources, but when Trump challenged the media to supply actual sources, no sources or concrete evidence has been supplied.

In recent congressional hearings, both former CIA Director John Brennan and the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have testified that though Trump’s campaign team has conversed with Russian officials, there has been no evidence of collusion. Director Brennan has testified that he himself had shared classified information with Russians and with other partners in fighting terrorism when it serves the goal of defeating known terrorists. As President, it would be expected that Trump will have done so as circumstances warrant.

Certainly, Trump’s communication style gives the media ammunition to fuel some negative coverage. But beyond Trump’s own style, he came to Washington to drain the swamp, and the swamp is fighting back. Leaks are rampant.

Matt Drudge observed by Twitter, "We never got one damaging leak out of Obama White House staff in 8 yrs. Under Trump, they appear hourly….” And those leaks are used by the mainline media to reinforce Trump’s incompetence. The result is a seemingly constant stream of negative news about Trump and his administration.

A MRC/YouGov post-election poll of what actual voters thought about the media’s influence on the 2016 presidential race found some collaborative findings. Fully sixty-nine percent of voters did not believe the news media was honest and truthful. Seventy-eight percent believed the news coverage of the campaign was biased with nearly a 3-to-1 majority believing the media were for Clinton 59% to 21% for Trump. Even 32% of Clinton voters thought the media were biased for Clinton.

Since taking office, President Trump has claimed that he has been “treated worse or more unfairly” than any politician in history. A report released recently by the Harvard Kennedy School gave him some support for that charge. The study found that eighty percent of the news coverage in Trump’s first 100 days was negative.

Thomas Patterson, the author of the report, noted: “In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative, and it reached 90 percent negative at its peak…. CNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting—negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks.” Fox News was the only outlier, covering Trump positively only 48 percent of the time. Their claim of “balanced news” may be more accurate than many would believe.

Opinion pieces are to provide a point of view; a perspective that takes a position on a given cause or politician. With limited space, columnists selectively search for evidence to support their position. Opinion pieces take stands; they do not claim to report news.

Reporters are expected to report the relevant facts in every story they cover. As citizens, we need sources that provide both sides on stories about what is happening in our national and state capitals. Instead, too many news stories are one-sided opinion pieces. The facts and quotations shared marshal support for one position and create doubt on the other.

Stories applaud those who affirm man-made climate change and work to save the earth, while, at the same time, portraying climate change deniers as biased researchers supported by greedy carbon-fuel producers. Do they ever mention the funding available from private and government sources that come to those who keep ”proving” the grave cost of man-made climate change? Of course not.

You could argue that the negative coverage of Trump may not be bias. To many, his decisions and comments deserve such coverage. It is not just what is shared; it’s the positive coverage left out. So if media bias is there, it’s up to every citizen to ask the question—am I getting both sides of this story? On this day we celebrate those who have paid the ultimate price for a free press, maybe it’s time we all actually demand that from our favorite media sources.

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