The twice impeached, disgraced, insurrection-conspiring former occupant of the Oval Office may have been right about one thing. That is, you cannot trust the news media to represent your concerns, to fight your battle, or even to keep you broadly informed about things you need to know.
Let me make the point more clearly. It is the white owned and operated media of which I speak – not the compassionate, responsible, competent national core of Black journalists. And before you assume partiality for all the wrong reasons, allow me to explain.
Beyond select social media – which unfortunately often does more harm than good – the only sources through which Blacks can reliably obtain news relating to their day-to-day reality are independent and outspoken African-American broadcast personalities and Black-owned newspapers and publications.
It’s complicated but undeniable. There are some news outlets that more favorably cover news of and about the proverbial Black community. Few could argue that MSNBC and CNN are far more conscientious about fairness than the unashamedly ultra-conservative Fox network.
But in truth, none of the major news outlets are unwaveringly committed to coverage sensitive to people of color. These owners, managers and executives are only committed to their news organization being “in the black” – not being fair to Blacks. Company profit trumps integrity (no pun intended).
The owner of CBS confessed after 2016 that the network faced an irresistible offer with the immoral, ungrounded, fact-free circus of a campaign launched by an orange-haired reality show host vying for the presidency. The proposition was ridiculous, both on the surface and on deeper evaluation.
But they ignored his mindless rants and, unlike treatment of any candidate from either party, covered his meandering press conferences and campaign events from gavel to gavel – even when he used his soapbox to attack the news media providing exposure.
Agent Orange rightly estimated that he received billions of dollars in free publicity and promotion from zealous, imbalanced reporting anxious to capture his outrageous outbursts, unfounded allegations against opponents and empty promises based on no platform.
Even in one-on-one interviews, journalists allowed “45” to ramble pointlessly and dominate conversations, rarely confronting the misinformation he so casually spewed on a regular basis.
So, it was no wonder that they downplayed the thousands of lies he told from the White House on a regular basis. It was no wonder that he was allowed to blame his predecessor for whatever went wrong while wrongly taking credit for whatever went right.
For the first time, a president was allowed to tweet his messages to the media and the nation – with no concern for accountability. And even though most of what he asserted was subsequently countered or disproved, it did not change the impact of the original misinformation or assault.
So even without Twitter, the media has resumed covering Trump rallies, and he is not even in office. Unprecedented. Even when the white press feigns indignation as it pretends to condemn his irresponsible and untrue rhetoric, it still provides him the platform – which lends legitimacy to the illegitimate and confuses those incapable of searching for the truth.
This is the same man who claimed Obama wasn’t born in this country, who wanted to execute five wrongly accused men in New York, who wanted to lock up Hillary, who dismissed the significance of the coronavirus and confused the public on the importance of health precautions, who perpetrated THE BIG LIE asserting that he won the 2020 election, and who incited a riot at the nation’s capital – resulting in the death of six.
Despite all that he has done to stoke the flames of race and hatred – to rock the very foundation of our democracy – every time he opens his mouth, the thirsty, white-run news media is right there lapping up every vile word.
Media are complicit in establishing and maintaining the malaise that engulfs our nation. News managers and reporters will continue offering a platform to the unworthy and unqualified in future elections as long as he or she can draw a crowd. Ethics don’t matter.
The bitter truth is that the abject failure of national news media ought to disturb every thinking American – no matter their politics. But people are far too complacent and uninformed, and media won’t change until it becomes unprofitable.