Thursday, August 16, 2018

Commentary: Newspapers don't help themselves by coordinating against Trump


If you are a Trump voter who thinks that much of the press is reflexively hostile to the president, 300 of America's leading newspapers want you to know that you might be on to something.
In a self-defeating act of journalistic groupthink, America's editorial pages launched a coordinated protest against President Trump on Thursday, all running negative editorials attacking the president over his #FakeNews rhetoric.
The Boston Globe, who organized the effort, calls it "educating readers" about "an attack on the First Amendment." But to the average American, seeing an editorial in their local paper trashing Trump is called "A day that ends in 'y.'"
Seriously—Who's going to be persuaded by this effort, or be impressed that a few hundred newspapers can hum the same tune? Who's even going to notice?
Well, the newspapers will notice, of course. There's a run on pain pills from all the muscle injuries inflicted by self-indulgent media back-patting. "A Free Press Needs You," a New York Times editorial headline blared on Wednesday, praising themselves for "answering the call" of the Boston Globe and courageously facing the threat that is Donald Trump.
#FakeNews? That phrase is "dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy," the Times intoned. "And calling journalists the 'enemy of the people' is dangerous, period."  
And to prove we aren't the enemy, we in the media are going to band together and go after the guy who keeps saying we are! The same guy we attack every day, seemingly no matter what he does, and in ways we've never attacked a politician before!
That might be an unfair characterization, but it's easy to understand why Trump supporters would see it that way. They remember the Obama administration spying on reporters. They remember Obama White House attempts to have Fox News de-legitimized and removed from traditional media opportunities over its viewpoint. President Obama called out the network by name repeatedly.
How many "Days Of Editorial Rage" did that inspire?
The real danger to the media isn't Trump's attacks—it's his departure. Trump, and the hatred he inspires among the left-of-center, media-consuming public, is a massive fiscal boon to these newspapers.  
The New York Times picked up 41,000 subscribers in just the first week after Trump was elected. They made more that $1 billion in subscription revenue in 2017. The impact of Trump on media revenue has been so huge they call it the "Trump Bump."
Yes, yes, Trump's attacks on the media are over-the-top and wrongheaded. Yes, in some small way he's undermining the credibility of legitimate journalism.  
But here's the headline the Boston Globe missed: The media had largely done that to themselves before he showed up. Believe it or not, the percentage of Americans who say they have a "great deal" of trust in newspapers is actually up since Trump took office. 
Or rather it's up from 8 percent to 12 percent. The percentage of Americans with a great deal or quite a lot of trust in newspapers hasn't hit 30 percent since 2006, according to Gallup. The percent that have little or no trust in them whatsoever hasn't been below 30 percent since 2008.
So what's the point of the editorial-page protest? This avalanche of invective won't move Trump supporters. The Globe, Times, Chronicle, etc. made it clear months ago that these readers weren't valuable to them. And how much self-indulgent virtue signaling can the media do before it loses its charm?


  1. I'm so relieved now that 300 newspapers have reassured me of their objectivity. I mean, they can't ALL be wrong, can they?

    It would have been a lot more convincing had 250 said they were unbiased, 10 said they were biased, and the rest would have admitted to something in between.

    But Every. Single. One? The grey lady protesteth too much.

  2. Any objective person would be against Trump's attacks on the free press. Only fascist wanna-be's like yourself support him.

  3. in other words any unanimous agreement means it cant be true

  4. Isn't there a Gemora that if all convict in a death penalty case that the defendant walks?

  5. You just made my point. Unanimity is suspicious.

  6. It is suspicious only when the facts are not patently obvious.

  7. Reminds me of this scene:


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