For years, journalists and pundits have been running around saying that “liberal bias” is a fiction invented by conservatives to deny reality. But in another indication of just how dramatic Donald Trump’s impact has been, we are now seeing journalists freely admit to the public that they have abandoned those precious ethics they clung to for so long. Or at least, pretended to cling to.
Funny, though, how easy it was for them to cast off the constraints of objectivity. Jim Rutenberg, writing for The New York Times this week, didn’t seem to be experiencing all that much inner turmoil when he defended the media’s coverage of the Republican nominee.
“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?” Rutenberg asks.
Rutenberg may appear to be struggling, but the illusion of his dilemma is written all over this opening paragraph. This is not a sincere personal crisis. This is, at best, a cynical attempt to defend himself and his colleagues from the criticism they rightfully deserve. It’s an attempt to say, Hey, would you expect us to be objective if an asteroid were headed straight for Earth?
Rutenberg’s inability to detect his own false premises means one of two things. One, he’s deliberately crafting an argument to persuade readers and lying about his motivations. Perhaps.
But more likely, he is completely blind to it. He – just like so many other New York liberals – is so ensconced in the bubble that he doesn’t even remember that he’s inside it. He’s a drone, trapped inside the Matrix. He slaps these labels on Trump, his supporters, conservatism, Republicans…and once they’re on, he forgets that they’re covering up the truth.
In his article, Rutenberg quotes Carolyn Ryan, the Times’ senior politics editor:
“If you have a nominee who expresses warmth toward one of our most mischievous and menacing adversaries, a nominee who shatters all the norms about how our leaders treat families whose sons died for our country, a nominee proposing to rethink the alliances that have guided our foreign policy for 60 years, that demands coverage – copious and aggressive coverage.”
No argument about that.
The problem is that Ryan and Rutenberg (and virtually everyone else who works for the liberal media) have already made up their minds about Trump and his policies. They’ve thrown them in the “very bad” category, and all of their coverage flows from that place.
This does a disservice to the American public, but that’s the least of their worries. It’s doubtful they care at all about that, actually.
What they do care about – or what they should care about, at least – is the grave disservice they’re doing to their own profession.
But hey, they’re admitting it. That’s a start.