As a card-carrying member of the news media for the better part of 25 years, it’s become incredibly apparent that my chosen profession has lost its way, much like our congresscritters.
We’ve forgotten the simple things that should be a standard part of every story, in the mad rush to get any story of note out in the miasma of information that constitutes news these days. Newscasters and writers alike forget to question everything that is spewed out as fact, particularly when the spewer is working for the agency that generated the facts in the first place.
Jobless rates come to mind here.
However, I’m more concerned about a trend where the press is making hay with certain information that it did not bother to question — and sometimes even contradicted itself (we’re looking at you, Ben Smith) — in the past.
The idea that the news is fair anymore has become a quaint, archaic notion. There are two examples that show this clearly, at least to me: the personal email server of Hillary Clinton, and the citizenship status of Ted Cruz.
There have been investigations galore into the personal email server that was used by Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. Of course, Clinton is claiming it’s just the GOP “grasping at straws” in their latest attempt to knock her from her pedestal.
Yet not once has the mainstream media asked the question as to why was such a server used, particularly when it’s kinda against the law. Instead, we shift the blame about this to an overzealous enemy, while simultaneously deeming the issue petty, and the press, in its adoration of all things liberal, swoon and become parrots of party lines.
Even as late as May of last year, that bastion of objectivity, the Daily Kos, published a list of all the scandals that plagued President Bush. But every conservative president since Nixon has been excoriated by the increasingly liberal press for even the hint of impropriety. Who can forget Nixon and Watergate, or Bush 41 and Clarence Thomas, or Reagan and Iran/Contra, or any number of other scandals?
Back then, though, there was a hint of the old fire that journalists had in investigating stories, and they did. The rabidity that was displayed, of course, highlighted a shift in beliefs, but still, bad things were reported, and dug into, and that’s as it should be.
However, particularly in the last few years, that rabidity has been tempered by the press’ adoration of the anointed few (read: Clintons). There’s so much wrong with the behavior of that family that it would take teams of dedicated reporters to root it all out. And it should happen, since it happened in the past.
In the case of Cruz, there is a keen interest displayed by the press in his birthright — whether he’s actually a U.S. citizen or not. And rightly so, since it is a matter of law that only U.S. born citizens can be presidents.
Yet here’s the thing. When then-candidate Barack Obama was running for president, the press went out of its way to make it a non-story, and even accepted some ridiculous half-certificate and tongue-in-cheek explanations about Obama’s citizenship.
The press accepted this — no questions asked. Then, the press dogged any and every one who brought it up after.
Seems to me, then, that when the mainstream media gives up its responsibility for any reason, it can’t pick it back up. Fairness and objectivity have been tossed out in favor of cheerleading, and that means only one thing: since you didn’t do it then, you can’t do it now.