Media Bias? What Media Bias? Trust Us, We’re Saving the Country.

The country’s most powerful media voices—the New York Times, the Washington Post, the important magazines, the big digital sites—are in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump got 10 percent of the vote in Manhattan and 4 percent of the vote in Washington, D.C.

The Washington reaction was mostly shock—31 states voted for Trump? That TV clown is our next president? How did this happen?

Another reaction in Washington was we don’t want him here. This is our city and there’s nothing about him we like. (Along with the disdain, there was some journalistic looking in the mirror: How did we miss this? Are we out of touch with the country?)

Since then the reaction at the Washington Post mostly has been we we’re going to get this guy—we got Nixon and we’re going to get Trump. Endless headlines and columns attacking every stylistic and substantive shortcoming possible. He can’t even spell! His hair is a joke!

In the digital world, negativity sells, getting an emotional reaction sells. Clickbait? Trump is maybe the best political target ever.

Thoughtfulness and complexity? That’s what books are for.

Isn’t there are lot of good journalism? Yes, but not as much of it as there once was. And it’s harder to find.

As for editing, more and more journalism, especially on the digital side, suggests that no editor was there to say: Are you sure you want to say it this way? Isn’t it more complicated than that?

 

Comments

  1. Ted Van Dyk says:

    No, Jack, as you have written before: The trend among both editors and writers has become to embrace a narrative—and then seek supporting material to fill it out. Trump will pass. But media bias, in many directions, wil tend to continue. Not fake news but bad news.

  2. If you read the Washington Post newspaper every day, you’ll get the feeling that the paper is increasingly aimed at a digital audience—lots of negativity, lots of clickbait from the front page to the many columnists to the obits. And you sense a growing journalistic arrogance: We’re owned by the richest man in the world. It’s the old we’re very rich so we must be smarter and better than you attitude.

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