Commentary: Mainstream Media Is a Watchdog on Republicans, But a Lapdog for Democrats

Kathleen Sebelius
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This week mainstream media reporters nationwide took a posture against President Donald Trump and asserted they act with integrity and objectivity and that his attacks on them are attacks on democracy itself.

Hook people in the mainstream media up to polygraph machines and ask them if they really believe that. They’ll pass with flying colors.

But as someone who spent nearly 10 years in the mainstream press, I witnessed things that tell me people in the media aren’t necessarily looking out for you and your best interests.

The year was 2006, and I had a newspaper job in Central Florida.

The Congressional mid-term elections were coming. That election was a topic at one morning staff meeting.

One reporter said far more Democrats than Republicans in the county were voting early, obviously a bad sign for the GOP. He wanted to do a story. Our editor shot him down flat.

“If you publish that story then it might prompt more Republicans to get out and vote early, and I don’t want to see that happen,” our editor, who is now deceased, said at the time.

This was a corporate-owned daily newspaper that served thousands of people every day.

A few weeks later Democrats won big in those mid-terms. The morning after, my editor and my city editor congratulated one another for their big win and high-fived each other in the newsroom.

Having right-of-center views and working in the mainstream media is a sometimes-lonely expedition. You must keep your political views to yourself while you listen to your colleagues prattle on about how all Republicans are stupid and how all Tea Partiers are Nazis. If your views somehow get revealed then you get asked why you don’t have a Hitler moustache.

During one job interview in 2003, at another corporate-owned paper — a corporation you’ve heard of — my potential boss made clear his disdain for all Republicans.

He even asked me the following:

“Don’t you think Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft deserve to get lined up in front of a firing squad and shot to death?”

Yeah, that really happened. No exaggeration.

Thank goodness I didn’t get that job.

Newsbusters.org, by the way, does a great job documenting media bias at the national level every day.

The science of why so many people in the press lean left eludes me and I’m not qualified to comment on it. I just believe it’s a real phenomenon.

Years later, while working for the old Tennessee Watchdog, I learned media bias has less to do with one’s political beliefs and more to do with the questions a reporter does or does not ask.

Case in point — in 2013 I covered a press conference in Memphis where then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius promoted Obamacare.

The reporters, from a variety of television, radio, and newspaper outlets, lodged softballs, asking her, among other things, “What can you do to make sure as many people as possible get the benefits as quickly as possible?”

Another question — “Has all the criticism of this law from people on the right taken a toll on you personally?”

When it was my turn, I asked Sebelius what she would say to all the people whose health insurance costs were going up as a direct result of this law?

Clearly, I didn’t get the memo that I was only supposed to ask friendly questions. Pardon me for looking out for the folks.

Sebelius gazed at me with a deer-in-the-headlights look for the better part of 30 seconds, not at all knowing what to say. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, brushed her away from the podium and let me know I was out of line for asking that question.

If reporters don’t ask questions you want asked then they aren’t looking out for you.

If half the country didn’t already perceive that these reporters hold Republicans to a higher standard than Democrats then maybe we could consider their complaints about Trump more credible.

A lot of their bias is a result of groupthink — or reporters and editors fraternizing only with people who think like them.

People in the mainstream media have a right to defend themselves against Trump’s attacks. Conversely, Trump, if he doesn’t use his power to bully or intimidate anyone, has a right to defend himself against a media that treats him unfairly.

But Trump should also take a scalpel and refer to the mainstream media not as fake, but, instead, as biased or slanted.

By using that more precise terminology he might force mainstream media reporters to evaluate their own conduct and serve not as a watchdog on anyone in government — but on themselves and all their colleagues.

There’s no balance in the supposedly objective mainstream media.

The press withholds certain information from the voters.

The press, it is widely believed, looks out for the best interests of one political party over the other.

That, in and of itself, is the true attack on democracy.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist and occasional commentator at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Thoughts to “Commentary: Mainstream Media Is a Watchdog on Republicans, But a Lapdog for Democrats”

  1. Ralph

    In a recent survey of 1500 universities nationwide, the journalism school faculty members voted Democrat vs. Republican by a 20:1 margin, for history faculty it was 35:1. Current faculty members sit on selection committees as to who gains a faculty seat. Do the math.

    Suggested reading:

    “American Pravda” – James O’Keefe
    “Smear” – Sharyl Attkisson
    “One-Party Classroom” – David Horowitz

  2. Donna Locke

    A number of former newspaper reporters and editors became immigration-control activists. I’m one. A couple lead the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA. One is in Chicago; worked for a newspaper up there. Others are scattered around the country. Most are baby-boomer journalists and ex-journalists who saw what was happening. Most had known true journalism earlier in their lives and careers.

    When I became publicly involved in immigration control in the late 1990s, I tried to get related stories and commentary published and was shot down every time by big and small newspapers. My daughter had been injured by an illegal-alien driver, and I couldn’t get even that story in. People had been killed. Couldn’t get that in either. Not as pieces critical of immigration policy and illegal aliens. Finally, I took video that had been shot undercover in California, and laid it on an editor’s desk. Nothing was said, but the next time I sent something, it was published. So-called journalists were terribly ignorant about immigration, about what was going on in this country, and there was fear of being insensitive and politically incorrect, especially when specific ethnic groups were mentioned.

    Very few of the so-called journalists I’ve dealt with on this issue have behaved like journalists. One who did was a Latino reporter working for a Latino news service. She asked good questions and wrote a fair piece, trying to include as much relevant info as she could to present a full picture. A couple of others did fairly good, balanced reporting. The rest, pfft. One in Atlanta told me there were “obstacles” to getting such facts published. I’ll say! The public was kept in the dark until Georgia had more illegal aliens than Arizona had.

    Getting opinion pieces from our perspective into mainstream newspapers is like begging for crumbs from the master’s table. They’ll run ten editorials and op-eds from the open-borders people to our one. Their narrow news stories read as if the reporters are hooked up to IV feeds from the Mexican government, La Raza, and the SPLC, all of which are con artists getting rich by telling us not to believe our lyin’ eyes. Slinging the “racist” label doesn’t work anymore, by the way, and it never worked on many of us.

    That is just immigration. We could point to other issues as well, especially if Trump is involved. The mainstream media have done so much damage to this country by deliberate commission and omission that I consider their actions evil. They are instruments in weakening and destroying this nation upon which so much depends.

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