In eight years of lipstick cover-ups, traditional media never called out President Barack Obama for his numerous blunders at home or abroad. They were disingenuously enchanted by what books he read and how many basketball dunks he could make. The media coddled his literary and historical miscues and embellished his golfing rather than reporting on him detonating foreign policy. They wrote human interest stories of the Obama family vacations and never critiqued how much it cost taxpayers. His faux pas and bad manners with foreign dignitaries and rogue nations were dismissed as non-news. To them, Obama was a shining star that lit up the skies of D.C. greater than the star of Bethlehem.
The chameleon media turned more progressive each day and ordained Obama as the savior of the world’s climate. Obama, a fellow chameleon, had a revelation, climate change was destroying the earth. He told reporters he wanted to put a Fred Flintstone car in every garage and use recycled popcorn oil to fuel Air Force One. That became headline news from coast to coast.
Reporters were obsessed with what his favorite color was, the music he liked and food he ate. We learned Obama loved all Chicago teams but the Cubs and watched reruns of Mash. They even revealed what style of underwear he wore. The media had a love affair with Obama’s dogs Bo and Sunny until one bit a White House visitor.
The press took an avid interest in organic agriculture when the former first lady planted a $4 million victory garden in the White House south lawn. Although the press praised that a great deal of this was funded by seed and fertilizer companies, they failed to tell the rest of the story. The ground had to be decontaminated from toxins at the expense of our tax dollars. Obama hired a full-time organic garden engineer to insure the plants remained free from infestation since they could not use insect killer. The media avidly took pictures of Michelle Obama in the White House garden wearing her Gucci sneakers.
When Donald Trump threw a monkey wrench at the progressive machine, those Americas who had turned their backs to traditional media never thought yellow journalism could get worse. Yet they watched the media bash Trump the day he filed campaign papers. This was not lefty liberalism run amok. This was new media politics. They treated Trump’s candidacy as a circus stunt and lauded him as a bad carnival barker. The more media bashing they did the higher his pole numbers went. So did their ratings, even moreso than when they helped “invent” Obama. They shot themselves in the foot and profited.
The candidate progressives hated most was attracting more legitimate voters than their favorite son. Newspapers jumped on the bash-Trump campaign. And a willing Trump fueled this knowing he had no money to finance his road show. Although media coverage was blatantly obtuse, he used their attack dogs to buy headlines. As Trump racked up caucus victories, the media had more egg on their faces than Hillary Clinton on Election Day. Political scientists ascertain media gave Trump over $3 billion in free advertising at the expense of reporting news. This new age of journalism, birthed with Obama, dropped the pretense of reporting political news. Each invented story backfired like a high school jalopy. By Election Day, Trump was christened a demagogue, the nation’s worst racist supported by extremists who would start a nuclear war if he was elected while he rode their demagoguery to victory.
Since the day Trump was elected, not an hour goes by that another calumnious story bashing him appears on the AP. Trump double dares them to keep it up as they squander all public credibility. The media has been committing euthanasia since they fell in love with Obama and accelerated it with their distain for Donald Trump. Dr. Jack Kevorkian would be proud of them.
The destruction of credible traditional media is evidenced on the front page, the back page, and the culture pages in today’s soap opera tabloids. It has consumed the broadcast market like a skid row wino inhales a bottle of cheap booze.
Every news story since the coronation of Obama has been an opinion masquerading as news. And every opinion has run the same direction: praise for Obama and distain for Trump. Thus began the spate of stories, which continues today, in which the media habitually calls Trump an un-American liar in its news pages. This is about-face from praising Obama despite “you can keep your doctor” and the “Benghazi attack.” They spent eight years cheerleading Obama, rarely reporting a smidgen of corruption or dishonesty. Since Trump announced his decision to crusade, they’ve spent two-plus years making up stories and reporting half truths instead of real news. At least they proved they are equal opportunity liars.
There was a time when the Fourth Estate was considered the watchdog of government whose duty was to protect the freedom of a nation by reporting factual events that informed their readers of dangers to their liberty. They had a reputation for having higher standards than any government or any elected official. Those ethics and standards developed over decades as reporters and editors gained public trust. Their commitment to reporting news as news was the flagship of a free press. But standards are like laws. They guide your behavior in good times and bad and it takes credibility to continually adhere to them. Disavowing allegiance to their sacred duty is the most cowardly act a professional journalist can commit. Yesterday’s standards are now double standards.
Can the traditional media ever recover from over a decade of euthanasia? The answer is no. At the beginning of the 2008 presidential campaign, the media tumbled off their plain of ethics faster than Mr. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. It shattered their credibility into a million pieces and can never be put back together again. The election of Trump confirmed the moral ethics and commandments of truth in reporting we learned in journalism school have vanished like a New Mexico hot air balloon in a wind storm.
The great author Midge Decter once wrote, “You have to join the side you’re on.” The press is no longer the living jury of the nation. It has become its hangman. But the future of journalism is not dead! New age communications have provided a forum for reporting and discussing news for both professional and upcoming journalists. They are joined by 501 watchdogs and others who found a home on social media, blogs, and internet provinces to practice their trade. And as daily newspapers continue to lose revenue and go belly up, the new Fourth Estate will continue to consume the sacred role they abdicated.
Freedom of the press is no longer limited to those who own one. The new free press belongs to those who choose to honor it.
Honesty in reporting is wisdom.
William Haupt III