A cornerstone of a truly free society is the presence of a vigilant news media, one that is willing to hold powerful government officials accountable when they abuse their offices for their own personal gain or the advancement of corrupt special interests. A sign a society is on the path to tyranny is when the overwhelming majority of a nation’s journalists are committed to doing whatever they can to destroy one political group while they work feverishly to cover up the scandals of another.
Which of these two scenarios sounds more like America today?
To say that there is a conspiracy to destroy the Trump administration would be a gross understatement. The media’s collusion with left-wing politicians and groups hell-bent on avenging Hillary Clinton’s election defeat is at an all-time high. Never before in the United States have journalists been so eager to adopt conspiracy theories and hurl unsubstantiated negative media at a sitting president—or anyone, for that matter. When the growth in internet media and cable news is taken into account, it’s very possible President Trump has received more negative attention over the past year than any person has ever had to endure in the history of mankind.
And no, this isn’t partisanship. Consider the following evidence: A recent study of media bias conducted by the Media Research Center (MRC) found television coverage of the Trump administration on the evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC was historically slanted against Trump in 2017. Of the 99 hours of airtime discussing Trump—which, by the way, is much more coverage than President Obama received in his final year in office—only about 10 percent involved positive statements. In some months, negative coverage reached as high as 93 percent.
MRC claims these figures are unprecedented for a first-year president.
If you support high taxes, more regulations on businesses, and enjoyed the Obama world apology tour, then perhaps you’re thinking, “Of course Trump’s coverage was negative! His policies are terrible.”
In order for this logic to hold, however, the media would have to actually spend time discussing President Trump’s policies, rather than gossip, alleged Russian collusion, and the president’s Twitter feed. Here, too, the Media Research Center found the media came up way short. According to MRC, “More than two-fifths of evening news coverage of the Trump administration (43%, or 42 hours, 37 minutes) centered on various controversies associated with the President and his top aides. The Russia investigation was the networks’ favorite topic, with an astonishing 20 hours, 34 minutes of coverage, or more than one-fifth of all Trump coverage last year.”
Further, when the media did focus on Trump’s policies, they mostly avoided those areas where Trump has been most successful, such as the tremendous economic growth Americans have enjoyed since Trump was elected.
MRC reports the “five most-frequently covered policy issues [were] the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare (475 minutes); the nuclear showdown with North Korea (364 minutes); immigration policy, including ramped-up deportations and a potential border wall (258 minutes); the temporary travel ban and the ensuing court fight (251 minutes); and the ultimately successful push for comprehensive tax reform (222 minutes).”
Meanwhile, unemployment for minorities and working-class Americans has reached historic lows, the value of the stock market has risen by $6.9 trillion, food stamp enrollment has plummeted, Medicaid rolls are dropping, hundreds of thousands of employees have received additional salary bonuses after Congress and Trump passed their tax reform legislation, housing prices are up 6.2 percent, and the list goes on and on and on.
Perhaps most revealing of all is the media’s decision to cover stories that would have once been deemed laughable, embarrassing, or, on occasion, even offensive. For instance, in May 2017, CNN published an article titled “Trump gets 2 scoops of ice cream, everyone else gets 1 – and other top lines from his Time interview.”
In November, CNN reported, “Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond,” a story in which the entire lede is designed to make readers think Trump somehow foolishly erred in overfeeding fish while on a trip to Japan. In reality, he was simply following the lead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a fact buried in the fifth paragraph of the article that CNN tried to conceal by selectively editing the story’s video.
Then there’s last week’s “big scandal”: Trump’s weight. Apparently, media outlets aren’t buying the height/weight listed by the president’s doctor following his first official physical in office, leading to endless speculation about Trump’s “real” weight, height, and body mass index. I know you’re sick of hearing “what about Hillary?” arguments, but can you imagine the intense backlash that would occur if the body mass index of a President Hillary Clinton were ever called into question? Even those who loathe Trump must admit that this sort of thing would never be tolerated by the mainstream media under different circumstances.
More than slightly reasonable arguments can be made about some of the things the president has said, done, and tweeted, but fair-minded people must acknowledge that mainstream press bias is worse than ever—and there’s absolutely no sign of the situation reversing course in the near future.
This is not only disheartening, it’s incredibly dangerous. The news media is losing whatever credibility it had left, making it harder than ever for the public to discover the truth about the nation’s most important issues.
Justin Haskins is a pro-liberty writer, editor, research fellow, and the editor-in-chief of the New Revere Daily Press and CrazyThingsLiberalsSay.com. Haskins has been published hundreds of times in major digital and print publications, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Forbes, FoxNews.com, Newsweek, and National Review, among many others. His writing has also been featured or discussed by The Rush Limbaugh Show, Glenn Beck Radio Program, the Fox News Channel, The New York Times, Drudge Report, and Newsmax, which named Haskins one of “Top 30 Republicans Under 30” in 2017. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Dr. Jacquelyn, and his dog Roxy. Follow him on Twitter @JustinTHaskins.