Over two years ago, New York Times media columnist James Rutenberg suggested that “normal standards” didn’t apply when journalists coveredDonald Trump, who had just won the Republican nomination for president. Dean Baquet, the newspaper’s executive editor, publicly agreed.
“Because the Times is the liberal media’s bell cow, the floodgates were flung open to routinely call Trump a liar, a racist and a traitor. Standards of fairness were trashed as nearly every prominent news organization demonized Trump and effectively endorsed Hillary Clinton. This open partisanship was a disgraceful chapter in the history of American journalism,” writes New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin, who added that the “warped coverage continued and became the media wing of the resistance movement.”
Mr. Goodwin dismissed the recent effort by 350 newspapers to collectively discredit or criticize President Trump through editorials, saying the push was driven by “self-interest and rank partisanship masquerading as principle.” Such relentless hostile coverage, the columnist said, damages both the nation and journalism itself by fueling political polarization and denying the public any positive news about the economy and other issues.
That damage to the press is already evident. Mr. Goodwin cited recent, telling poll numbers, such as a significant Gallup/Knight Foundation survey that found 62 percent of Americans now say the news they encounter is biased while 44 percent said it’s inaccurate.
An Axios survey also revealed that 70 percent of the respondents said news organizations report “fake, false or purposefully misleading” information. The survey also found that 92 percent of Republicans don’t trust the press — along with 53 percent of Democrats.
“Yet instead of soberly examining their conduct, most in the media ratchet up the vitriol, apparently believing that screaming louder and longer will lead the public to hate Trump as much as they do. But as the surveys show, their bias is a boomerang. With media behavior undermining public trust more than anything Trump says or does, a return to traditional standards of fairness and a separation of news from opinion are essential. And urgent — for the good of a free press and America,” Mr. Goodwin concludes.
FOR THE LEXICON
“Real news president.”
— Some pushback from the White House, which now refers to President Trump as the “real news president” in a public outreach called “Resolute Reads,” featuring a new collection of daily coverage from a variety of sources that the president “does not want you to miss.”
FAREWELL, MICHELLE WOLF
Not shy about Trump-bashing, comedian Michelle Wolf charmed the press during her appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April — then went on to land a perch on Netflix showcasing her own brand of unscripted comedy.
After 10 weeks, the show is gone. Netflix has pulled the plug on “The Break with Michelle Wolf,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Wolf’s late-night entry failed to garner the kind of viewership that warrants a second season at the streaming giant,” the Reporter noted Sunday. “During the series’ brief run, Wolf herself generated considerable press attention and a handful of segments — including an ‘ICE Is’ recruitment video and a salute to abortions, among others.”
Yes, well. It is interesting to note that veteran comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short are about to embark on a national tour, and they’re leaving their Trump jokes at home.
“Before the election, we did a lot of Trump material, a lot of political material, and it was fine. After the election, you started to hear comments from the audience, whether it was a yay or a boo, and we said, we don’t want that. We’re not here to preach. So we started limiting the divisive political material from the act because you get that on late-night TV. It’s not something you want to pay for. We’re just trying to be funny,” Mr. Martin told IndieWire.com.
“When it comes to politics, you don’t want to make half the audience feel like they’re inappropriate,” added Mr. Short.
‘RESULTS NOT RESISTANCE’
The midterm elections are 11 weeks off, and closing in fast. The GOP, however, is more prepared than it has ever been, according to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.
“The RNC has put the best ground game in place. We have trained over 20,000 field organizers across the country. To give you perspective, that’s four times more than we did in 2016. We have raised record money. We are on the ground. It’s about turning out the vote. We don’t think TV just turns out the vote anymore,” she advised Fox News.
“You actually have to engage with those voters on a person-to-person basis and know, through data, what issue will drive them to the polls. We have economic trends that are at our back. So when we talk about jobs, and the economy, and the results that people are seeing, that is the message we are taking to voters. It is results, not resistance, but we are going to be up on a tough midterm,” Mrs. McDaniel said.
A MELANIA MOMENT
First lady Melania Trump attends a cyberbullying prevention summit on Monday just outside the nation’s capital, organized by Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, an outreach organized by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. Mrs. Trump will address the positive and negative effects of social media on youth — a key issue of her recently introduced “Be Best” campaign.
Mrs. Trump will also serve on a panel with multiple representatives from social media outlets. Curious? C-SPAN will cover the event live at 9:15 a.m. EDT.
POLL DU JOUR
• 71 percent of U.S. voters rate the U.S. economy as “good”; 91 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.
• 45 percent of voters overall say President Trump’s policies are responsible “a great deal” for the state of the economy; 66 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent overall say Trump policies are “somewhat responsible” for the economy; 24 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.
• 19 percent overall say Trump policies are “not very responsible” for the economy; 8 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.
• 8 percent overall say Trump policies are “not at all responsible” for the economy; 1 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A CBS News poll of 4,989 registered U.S voters conducted Aug. 10-16
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
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