Hugh Hewitt on the Media’s Credibility Problem: “From story selection to story framing, bias leaps off the page.”

From a Washington Post column by Hugh Hewitt headlined “The media has a big credibility problem”:

An alarming number of Americans are “vaccine-hesitant,” polls show, and my Post colleague, James Hohmann, worries about that — and about government efforts to pay citizens to do what they ought to do for the common good.

Hohmann and others worry that government incentives create what economists call a “moral hazard” — the situation that results when an individual or company engages in conduct that is incongruent with the actual costs of that choice. Example: If the government pays off student loans, borrowers may run up loan indebtedness on the assumption someone else will pay it off….

Plenty of experts warn about the risks of being unvaccinated, and the media is pretty dutiful about carrying those warnings. Still, many millions delay. Why?

Some of it may be distrust of government. Some might be distrust of science or a measure of politics. But some may not trust the media carrying the warnings about covid.

Why experts have slipped in their collective trustworthiness is a different column, but I have a useful explainer on why media struggles against the crumbling of its reliability. It is contained in a podcast I did recently with the New York Times’ Jane Coaston….

Coaston answered a long string of my questions about her “intuitions” about the views and votes of Manhattan-Beltway media elites. It’s no surprise when a center-right conservative, or just a plain old partisan Republican, says, “The media cannot be trusted because it’s very biased to the left and an extension of the Democratic Party.” That’s dog-bites-man stuff. When a credentialed New York Times journalist provides an arsenal of ammunition for the argument, that’s worth pausing over.

Because what Coaston assumes about media views is exactly what the vast majority of Donald Trump voters believe — and what large swaths of President Biden believers know as well: The news media is, as I like to say, “far, far, far left and an extension of the Democratic Party.” Most people know this to be so. No wonder the collective chorus of elite media has difficulty making a dent except on the like-minded. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a hundred times, shame on me….

Coaston isn’t the first candid journalist on this subject. Some years ago, longtime Post reporter (and now New York Times opinion columnist) Thomas Edsall told me that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in newsrooms by a margin of between 15 and 25 to 1. That was in 2006.

Judging by Coaston’s guesses, that margin has gotten more lopsided.

This isn’t a plea for fairness. What has been monetized cannot be un-monetized quickly. Instead, it is a plea for change. Hire a hundred more Coastons — and demand the same sort of rigorous candor and disclosure from them about their views — and trust will rebuild. It’s the denial of deep bias that is cancerous.

Just before Coaston appeared, fellow conservatives Matt Continetti and Fred Barnes joined me to discuss the same subject. Continetti is younger than I am; Barnes is older. But we all agreed media bias has grown worse in recent years. From story selection to story framing, bias leaps off the page or screen and cannot be escaped. The hazard of this vast tilt left is the belief among millions — perhaps a majority — of Americans that media cannot be trusted….

Speak Your Mind