The Press Is Responsible For Its Own Troubles [OPINION]
The New York Times is concerned that President Trump's "deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric" is "dangerous" and could be putting journalists in harm's way. The paper says it has had to place armed security guards at the front door. Oh, boo hoo!
Press coverage of Trump's administration has been almost unanimously negative. Rumors and speculation have largely replaced solid reporting. Facts are ignored if they are favorable to the administration. What used to be considered editorial content is now disguised as news copy, and is frequently slanted against the administration. Much of what is printed is based on leaked information and is too often incorrect. Corrections that used to appear buried in the back of newspapers frequently do not appear at all.
Some of the older newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe, backed by wire services such as AP and UPI, once set the standard for news coverage. But in the high-speed world of the internet, newspapers have quickly lost their relevance and simply do not know how to compete. Publishers are too stubborn to change. Many actually thought that the internet was a fad.
They've become lost in an ideology rather than a quest for fairness in truth.
Television news has become a circus of innuendo and opinion. Like the newspapers, network news is a dying breed that simply cannot compete against the 24-7 cable channels or the internet. When news breaks, the public turns to Fox or CNN and no longer to ABC, CBS or NBC. Scandals involving highly-paid celebrity news anchors on the networks have also contributed to their demise. Television news anchors and reporters are perceived as phony and unlikable by many.
The cable news networks have abandoned any pretense that they are "fair and balanced," and evening opinion programs often turn into screech fests with cheerleaders rooting for one side or the other.
Information consumers that are less trusting of traditional media sources realize that they have options. They rely on their phones, watches, tablets and other devices to stay informed. Nationally syndicated radio and alternative media have replaced traditional media sources as the primary means of obtaining information for many. Social media allows them to share what they've learned with each other.
The public is considerably more media savvy and largely rejects traditional coverage as unfair and biased. Yet, the traditional press blames the administration for its problems. When the masses jeer the press, the press blames Trump, as though the president has the ability to shift public opinion against the media. As if the public is too stupid to make a determination between fair and unfair press coverage.
If people are angry at the press, it's because they don't like to be lied to or misled.
That the traditional media is agenda-driven is nothing new. That the news consumer is rejecting that agenda and is pushing back is new. The press blames Trump, and by doing, so refuses to acknowledge its role in its own demise.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.