Another Bookworm Beat looking at the daily news, including the daily propaganda from former news outlets, all of which is endlessly fascinating
It’s not Trump’s foibles, but the media’s failures, that account for his low numbers. NeverTrumpers, looking at the chasm between Trump’s out-sized positive accomplishments in areas that matter to conservatives and to ordinary Americans, are inclined to blame Trump’s out-sized personality for his poor ratings. I disagree. The problem is definitely the media. In the old days, media outlets led with news: the economy did this, this happened overseas, the president struck this trade deal, etc. It was solid stuff of the type that’s boring to children and adolescents, but that kept the American public generally informed about their country’s health.
In the Trump era, the news is “mean girl” stuff aimed straight at children and adolescents. Whether on TV or in the print/online media, front page news has almost nothing to do with old-fashioned reporting and everything to do with breathlessly maligning Trump for saying this or that. His grammar, his clothes, his stumbles, his past . . . all are reported with breathless enthusiasm, as if any of that matters to the heartbeat of a nation that once stood astride the world like a colossus.
Because ordinary people — the ones who scan the front page and aren’t wedded to information the way we political junkies are — hear only the mean-girl bitch gossip, and are entirely unaware of the actual news, they’re incapable of judging Trump on his accomplishments as president. All that they can do is judge him by the carefully calibrated, low, extremely vicious standards of adolescent gossip.
The Founders venerated a free media, one that they envisioned having outlets representing all sorts of political views, because they thought this freedom and intellectual variety informed the citizenry and stood as a bulwark against government tyranny. They could never have imagined a monolithic, one-party media machine that turned its back on actual reporting and confined itself entirely to savage personal attacks on a political figure. [Read more…]