CEO’s Letter: The Media Trump Card
By Elliot H. Clark, CEO
I don’t do political columns and I am I come to neither praise or bury any candidate, to paraphrase Shakespeare. I come to ask, bluntly, what the heck is going on?
I was thinking about the contents of this column the other night driving home when I passed an accident on the side of the road. It was well off to the side, yet traffic slowed to a crawl as “rubber neckers” struggled to get a look at the EMS teams ministering to the unfortunate vehicle occupants along the highway’s shoulder. And then it hit me. It was the perfect metaphor for the current presidential election and ghouls slowing down their cars to catch a glimpse of the miracle of life saving or catch a glimpse of life ending were our own (much maligned) media outlets.
Yes, I am in the media and I will address that later, but I am not news media, I am trade media and there is a difference. There are, however, exactly the same standards of journalistic integrity. I feel like a bit of a voyeur fixated on the bad behavior of others and, while, unable to look away, I also am filled with revulsion.
The current Trump campaign is rife with hyperbolic comments. Some of the comments are, at the least, disturbing. Some of the comments are being reported out of context by some outlets. We literally have our most important national referendum being turned into a reality TV show. The problem is the news media is obsessed with the “tone” and it has completely lost sight of the ‘issues.”
Why? Could it be that almost every major news outlet is now a partisan outlet? How many times can you hear Chris Cuomo on CNN’s morning show do an attack interview by starting out with “Well, Senator, isn’t true that, blah, blah, blah” as though his viewpoint is incontrovertible fact instead of a liberal ideology cloaked as objectivity. Don’t get me wrong, the “news” magazines in evening on Fox are a group of opposing viewpoint attack hounds. And MSNBC makes no sense to anyone other than the far wing of the Progressives.
The reason this is a corporate responsibility issue is they all claim to be providing news journalism not opinion journalism. To address you idiots in my audience, let’s go to our panel of excited, sarcastic partisan experts to explain everything to you like a bunch of five year olds. OK, I know you are not idiots and neither am I—just tell me the facts; I don’t need a panel of experts to interpret it for me. Saying you are one thing like, um, “fair and balanced” or a “Cable News Network” and being something entirely different is what product liability suits are all about. Why don’t we all sue the mass media? Since it will never be reported anywhere, what is the down side?
So nothing has highlighted this issue like the Pro-Trumpers and the Anti-Trumpers. Facts, policy issues, and responsible coverage of critical issues is out the window to over-cover the next titillating sound bite. It is a feast of partisan attacks and defenses. It a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
By the way, this column is opinion journalism on my part and, at least, I admit it.
Posted August 13, 2015 in 25115