Perspectives: From the president to the Bundys, the political press is becoming obsolete

Image courtesy of Vecteezy.com, St. George News

OPINION — Joseph Sobran once famously observed that we never had to talk about “safe sex” in the days when sex really was safe because it was confined to marriage.

Likewise, the phrase “fake news” was entirely unnecessary when our mass media placed greater value on objectivity over ideologically-driven sensationalism. We’re fast approaching that moment when we must choose whether it’s better to be uninformed or misinformed.

Of all the divisions separating America today, the information divide is becoming one of the most apparent.

It is most evident in the sneering condescension and contempt with which much of the press corps covers the current presidential administration. Last week, several of the nation’s most influential news outlets, including CNN, MSNBC and CBS, breathlessly hyped a bombshell email that would be the smoking gun showing collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The email purportedly offered Donald Trump Jr. a decryption key and access to leaked DNC emails that Wikileaks possessed. What made this so irresistible to these major news outlets as well as many commentators and pundits was that the email was said to have been dated a full 10 days before Wikileaks started promoting access to the emails online.

In the minds of the thoroughly hostile press corps, this would have proven that the Trump campaign was being offered special access to the DNC emails ahead of the rest of the world.

The excitement in the voices of the news anchors and commentators is unmistakable as they speculate how this could be the death blow to Trump’s presidency. However, this particular example of “gotcha” journalism turned out to be false since the email was actually dated well after the leaked DNC emails were made public.

Oops.

How did these major news outlets correct their error? Reluctantly and quietly without a shred of regret or a molecule of transparency as to how so many members of the so-called “real news” could have made the exact same mistake in getting the email date wrong.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald does a phenomenal job of documenting and outlining the growing list of false or misleading Trump/Russian stories that the American press has touted and then had to retract, correct or walk back the original claims.

Naked media bias against Trump and his supporters has been clearly on display since the 2016 campaign.

The American press was shocked and humiliated by Trump’s surprising victory in the general election. All their scary predictions and negative press failed to dissuade voters who were sick and tired of being lectured and scolded by the smug inhabitants of the establishment echo chamber.

Rather than acknowledging their ideological disconnect with large swaths of the American voting public, the political press has instead doubled down on the idea that the savages in flyover country need a more concentrated dose of their sophisticated tutelage.

Is it any wonder that public trust in the mass media is in decline?

Closer to home, that lack of trust in the self-styled “legitimate” media can be seen in the information divide that has emerged in the trial of Cliven Bundy, his sons and a handful of supporters currently underway in Las Vegas.

NPR recently bemoaned that “parallel universes” were emerging in which established news outlets reporting on the case are being upstaged by Bundy family supporters using social media. The narrative is no longer subject to the control or approval of the official gatekeepers of information.

Individuals like John Lamb and social media outlets like Who’s Next are just a couple of numerous sources providing daily live video updates from the trial, complete with the ability to go directly to the source. They provide the people following the trial with enough accuracy and timeliness that even mainstream outlets are beginning to seek out and quote them.

The chief difference between these grassroots correspondents and many of their mass media counterparts is that only the self-styled “legitimate” press is still pretending to be unbiased.

This isn’t to say that the mainstream media is lying in their reporting about the Bundy trial. It simply acknowledges that the narrative they provide is too often incomplete or is sensationalized for the sake of increased clicks or ratings.

Interested bystanders can form a better understanding of what’s happening in the trial by accessing numerous sources that provide a more complete picture than the major press is giving them. Best of all, the immediacy of social media allows this information to be updated as needed without having to wait for press deadlines or regularly scheduled broadcasts.

Viewers and readers still must exercise their own judgement and due diligence in vetting the information they’re given, but that’s something we all should be doing in the first place.

If we’re serious about taking ownership of our worldview, it’s up to each of us to begin by becoming propaganda proof. Technology is making that easier by the day.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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11 Comments

  • Southpaw December 11, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Spot on Bryan. I was in Junior High in the mid 1960’s. In Social Studies class we were told that our journalists had strict guidelines in place for telling the American public the truth. We were told folks living in the USSR were fed propaganda. Two years ago I quit watching all of the national TV news outlets. I do my best to sort through the myriad of news sites online to figure out what’s really going on.

    • Proud Rebel December 11, 2017 at 9:12 am

      While I was several years ahead of you, I was taught the same, about news reports and reporters being, (at least for most,) reliable, and reporters, (at least most of them,) being responsible individuals. It’s a sad fact that no MSM people now care about nothing but ratings, and therefore, money.
      POTUS made lifetime enemies of the MSM by daring to call them out. They will do anything to make him look bad.
      Unfortunately, he can do that all by himself, without any help. 🙁
      There may be some good things that come from the Trump administration. I’m hoping that one of those things is waking people up to the absolute garbage and excrement that MSM is feeding us a daily diet of.
      It doesn’t matter if it’s the so-called media on one side, and the so-called “entertainment”??? of talk radio on the other. None of them put out anything but prescripted garbage.

    • bikeandfish December 11, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      You do see the irony is citing a Brietbart article when supporting a concern for “fake news” and journalistic integrity, correct?

      A couple quotes from your link:

      “continues to sell her soul just to hold on to a demeaning job
      “Corporate fascism is alive and well.”
      “Honest mistakes fall in the range of 50/50. These mistakes all fall 0/100. Which means they are deliberate lies.”
      —This one is especially egregious and illogical.

  • Not_So_Much December 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

    It’s getting more difficult to find and know what the truth is. The primary exception being the Bible.

    • Badshitzoo December 11, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      This all boils down to “Personal Comfort Zones” and the lies you want to hear, are the lies you will tune in to hear every night.
      If you are inclined to believe in the “Good old days” than Bill O’Reilly & Fox is your “Cup of Kool Aid”; nothing wrong with that. Alternatively; if John Stewart, or RMS and a marijuana nightcap make you feel like you belong to that team, more power to ya; however, don’t expect to hear anything new, or learn anything you don’t already know, because you are dwelling in your “comfort zone” of opinion news where reinforcement of your tiny thoughts, ideals and opinions are being regurgitated, and spoon fed to you little birdie’s hour-after-hour, so sooner or later those tiny thoughts will grow big and you’ll want to tell others about them. Eventually, you may even want to force them on others. Your “ideals” should be peaceful & private. Vote on the 1st Tuesday of November; other than that, we should all STFU and keep our opinions to ourselves, because history is violent. The Patriots are down 10 in the 4th. Now we do have a problem!

  • voice of reason December 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I wonder if people who spend the time to read what Bryan writes realize that he is a paid spokesman for the Bundy family?

    • mesaman December 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Would you be willing to reveal your sources in the Bundy family? And don’t forget to state the payment amount he is receiving (or has received). You risk losing what little credibility you still have by ignoring this.

  • bikeandfish December 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    There has been an increase in errors and rush to editorialize news stories with the popularity of cable news and 24/7 news cycles there and on the internet. That is unmistakable.

    But Hyde even leads with a flawed introduction given the fallacious notion that ” the phrase “fake news” was entirely unnecessary when our mass media placed greater value on objectivity over ideologically-driven sensationalism”. Our country has always dealt with sensationalism and ideology in its media, as have most countries including democracies. Just think back to the yellow journalism of the 19th century for evidence of how “media” can distort journalism. But I think that is the key, separating media from journalism, and even opinion from news. Our country relies heavily on pundits and opinion in a way that noticeably distorts perception of actual news.

    For instance, Hyde himself is pointing toward talking heads who sensationalized the misleading story about the wikileaks email. Some of those talking heads are journalist but their motives have always been driven by a broader ethic than print journalist (sadly). This is even more so the case with cable news like MSNBC, FOX or CNN. Just compare the online print editions of CBS versus the television edition Hyde is critiquing. Updated online stories have the edited and retracted stories highlighted from the introduction while video goes viral without editing (inherently).

    Some on the comments are highlighting a basic importance of journalist ethics and integrity but themselves falling for a “fake news” worldview that displays an utter lack of media literacy. Byran Hyde should be ashamed for invoking such a lazy and unAmerican slogan like “fake news” and conflating bots fabrications with mistakes in the media. They aren’t the same in content or character even if both should garner the concern of citizens.

    This is another complicated subject that definitely deserves attention but ironically Hyde actually engages in ” ideologically-driven sensationalism” every week in his column. Lest we forget he is a radio personality turned marketing agent for a regional special interest group with a clear bent toward extreme right-wing fanaticism. He isn’t a journalist any more than Howard Stern or your local blogger. He benefits every week by challenging the media by trying to drive a share of readers and listeners to his own “ideologically-driven” drivel. Instead, maybe Americans need less of these egoistic voices and more traditional news from papers and traditional reporters.

  • Lee Sanders December 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    bikeandfish, it is encouraging to read a rational and well thought out response to the hypocritical and totally biased column attributed to Mr. Hyde. He might get a few “atta-boys” from folks who already think like him, but I haven’t read any intelligent sounding responses from them. One of the first things that really jumped at me from the article was there was no mention of Fox News, Breitbart or Limbaugh and those of his ilk. Of course not, that might have made it an objective and journalistic effort. I do agree with him, when sex was confined to marriage (or one partner) “safe sex” was something that was not discussed.

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