The Media Failed By Giving People What They Want
Concerned about deep political divisions ripping apart the United States? Relax—there’s at least one issue on which there’s an emerging consensus across the political spectrum.
That is that the press has failed.
President Trump, in his remarks on January 6 before a mob of his supporters disrupted Congress, said, “We don’t have a free and fair press. Our media is not free. It’s not fair. It suppresses thought. It suppresses speech, and it’s become the enemy of the people. It’s become the enemy of the people. It’s the biggest problem we have in this country.”
It was not just Trump and the Republicans expressing this view. President Obama’s statement on “today’s violence at the Capitol” said, “for two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth—that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20.” The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, returning to the Senate floor after the disruption, denounced what he called “a demagogic president, the people who enable him, the captive media that parrots his lies.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times Magazine, tweeted, “Trump placed open white nationalists all throughout his admin from the beginning and we—mainstream media, polite society—normalized that and we should all be absolutely appalled.” She named one “mainstream media” outlet in particular: “MSNBC was running Trump’s speeches in full and giving platform to disinformation trolls from Trump Administration almost his entire presidency.”
The president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, tweeted, “The obsession of white journalists w/understanding white Trump voters blinded them to pursuing the more informed perspective of Black people, whose vantage point provides a clear look at precisely what is broken in American democracy.”
James and Kathryn Murdoch, in a statement, said, “Spreading disinformation—whether about the election, public health or climate change—has real-world consequences. Many
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