Can We Talk About the Media?

November 15, 2022

As climate impacts bear down, it’s clear to everyone paying attention that one of the greatest system failures in this fulminating tragedy has been the media. The responses to the recent apocalyptically bad takes leading up to the election only deepen the questions I’ve wrestled with for decades.
What the fuck is wrong with these people?

Former Media Matters writer Parker Malloy is worth a look.

And in 2020, when Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump and the Democrats retook control of the Senate, news outlets responded by… moving even more to the right. NBC hired former Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes, National Revieweditor-in-chief and author of the book Liberal Fascism Jonah Goldberg got a job with CNN, Trump aide and former writer at World Net Daily (an outlet best known for spreading right-wing conspiracy theories about vaccines and Obama’s birth certificate) Alyssa Farah landed at CNN and ABC’s The View, and former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was hired by CBS to “make sure that we are getting access to both sides of the aisle” and calling Mulvaney’s hiring “a priority because we know the Republicans are going to take over, most likely, in the midterms,” and adding that “a lot of the people that we’re bringing in are helping us in terms of access to that side of the equation.”

No matter how things go, the answer is the same: move to the right. I’ve written about this before.

Looking at the way the 2022 midterms were covered, it’s clear that the press is less in touch with the public than it was in 2016. It’s time they course correct (but they won’t).

Check out some of the below articles by CNN’s Chris Cillizza in the run-up to the midterms. “The bottom is dropping out of the 2022 election for Democrats,” “5 very scary numbers for Democrats in the new CNN poll,” “The Senate playing field is moving toward Republicans,” “Joe Biden’s head-scratching democracy speech,” “Did Democrats place a losing bet on abortion?” and “Why the midterms are going to be great for Donald Trump.”

There’s nothing particularly new or noteworthy about the observation that a solid chunk of the American mainstream press desperately want to see Republicans succeed and not-so-secretly pine for the days of Donald Trump giving their celebrity a bit of a boost with a bit of briefing room kayfabe about them being the “enemy of the people.”

Oliver Willissummed this up in his Oliver Willis Explains Substack: “Mainstream Media Misses Trump, And They Want Him To Win.” They see Biden as “boring,” they miss the attention, they miss the revenue, and they miss being treated like heroes for doing the bare minimum amount of work.

On July 11, 2021, the Times published a piece by Michael Shear, a White House correspondent for the paper, titled, “Voters Chose Boring Over Bombast. They Got Biden’s Penchant for Pontificating.” Shear, you may or may not recall, was the same guy who used the occasion of Jen Psaki’s second official press briefing to complain that Biden had not offered a “fig leaf” to the Republican Party by agreeing to leave some of Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ executive orders in place.

The mainstream media has been consistently moving to the right. If outlets like NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, and NPR don’t take deliberate steps to correct the right-wing bias they introduced following Trump’s 2016 win (and reinforced after 2018 and 2020), then they will have indisputably ceased to be news organizations at all and will instead function simply as corporate infotainment vectors — more than they already are, that is.


One Response to “Can We Talk About the Media?”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    “What the fuck is wrong with these people?”

    Eyeballs and clicks, m’dear. Eyeballs and clicks.

    And advertisers.

    And owners.

    Never use the term “journalism” in the same breath as the NYT, because they have nothing to do with one another.

    If you aren’t familiar with the New York Times Pitchbot (@DougJBalloon), you might want to check it out.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: