Summary: Large numbers of journalists have joined the Clinton campaign. They pay for their political adventure with the credibility of their profession. So far their attacks on Trump have been in vain. Here’s why they have failed.
Paul Krugman speaks with intelligence and wit for the US liberal community. Blind to populism, he cannot understand why Clinton and Trump are almost tied in the polls. But he has found an answer, explained in a series of posts. He blames the press. “Why Are The Media Objectively Pro-Trump?” “How Did The Race Get Close?” “The Falsity of False Equivalence“.
That seems odd, since the vast majority of US journalists visibly hate Trump as they have few major political figures in the modern era. But Krugman and others call for journalists to attack Trump even more strongly. That seems odd. Where can they go after calling Trump an authoritarian, fascist, racist, and sexist Hitler? However, they are trying.
However the law of equivalent exchange tells us that we cannot get something for nothing. We must give something of equal value to gain anything. Journalists enlist in the war against Trump, what have they given up in return? Their credibility with Republicans. They become Clinton’s shocktroops; the cost is another hit to the credibility of their profession.
See this graph from Gallup’s dirge for the news media: “Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low“. In one year Republicans’ trust in the news media has fallen from 32% to 14%. What will it be in the 2017 survey?
Why has the news media not turned Americans against Trump?
Gallup: how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media — such as newspapers, T.V. and radio — when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly? Answer, as of September: 32%. In September Gallup has asked people if they find each candidate honest and trustworthy.
- Trump: 33%.
- Clinton: 35%.
Journalists have our society’s big megaphones, but that does not mean that we believe what they tell us. Campaign 2016 has proven this. An institution trusted by 14% of Republicans and 30% cannot effectively convince either group to dislike Trump.
Another month of advocacy will erode away even more of the press’ credibility. The news media is a beleaguered institution. The public’s trust is their lifeblood. They’re bleeding to death. Becoming liberal warriors is a bad career move because it alienates a large fraction of their audience.
What’s wrong with truth-telling?
In practice this gives us fact checking, obsession with sound bites and celebrity trivia, relentless exaggeration (Trump is a fascist), red baiting (Trump is a tool of Putin), and a relentless focus on the election as a horse race. Lost in this are the issues.
Campaign 2016 has brought the resurgence of populism and progressivism — which (unmentioned by journalists) overlap. Long-suppressed issues have surfaced, such as mass immigration and globalization — which journalists still suppress (they’re popular, and so ruin journalists’ anti-Trump narrative). Vital issues are ignored, such as our failed wars since 9/11 (all those neo-con warmongers supporting Clinton ruin her narrative).
These provide ample potential for real journalism. But we’ve seen little of it so far in Campaign 2016.
Who else don’t we trust?
Gallup has even worse news which might explain the circus-like nature of Campaign 2016. We do not trust our institutions. We do not trust out leaders. We do not trust ourselves. This makes effective self-government difficult — or impossible. Campaign 2016 has done nothing to change these things.
On November 9 let’s begin thinking about Campaign 2020. Here are ideas about ways to make it work for America.
For More Information
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts information & disinformation – new media & old, about journalism, about the news media, about campaign 2016, and especially these…
- A new news media emerges for our new world, unseen and unexpected.
- Must the old media die for the new media to flourish?
- Clay Shirky is brilliant and American – hence often delusionally flattering — about the fate of journalism.
- Journalists suffer from the crisis crisis, warping America’s vision.
- Zero Hedge is a model publisher for 21st C America. Be afraid.
- The long slow crash of journalism. How will it affect us?
- Gallup sounds the death knell for the news media. Disruption coming!
To learn more about the dying news media, and what comes next
Both of these are well worth reading. Here is the forward from Amusing Ourselves to Death.