The Media’s March of Madness

The Pew Research Center just released its 11th annual "State of the News Media" report. The section on cable news is informative, but if you happen to be a fan of MSNBC, you may want to have some tissues handy. That far-left network, which shamelessly, tirelessly and loyally promotes President Obama's policies, lost 24% of its prime-time audience last year. 24%! CNN suffered a 13% decline, while Fox News fell by 6%. Despite FNC's small drop, the network still attracted more prime-time viewers than CNN, MSNBC, and HLN … combined!

Of course, some audience decline is to be expected in the year after a big presidential election, but the huge declines at MSNBC and CNN go beyond that. Many Americans have long believed the national press is biased left, but a more damning charge is now being debated: Is the U.S. media actually corrupt? Those who believe it is point to the fawning coverage of Barack Obama, and now to the recent coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

If someone really wanted to assess the "state of the news media," all he or she had to do was tune in cable news over the past few weeks. The moment the jetliner was reported missing, the cable outfits pounced. And with good reason. It was a genuine news story that possibly involved terrorism and tragedy.

But then CNN, desperate for viewers, decided to go round-the-clock and whole-hog. When there was no more news to report, the network resorted to asking guests about the "supernatural" and even "black holes." Not to be outdone, CNN's poor little sister HLN invited a psychic to speculate about the plane's fate. "I see a lot of trees," she said. Unfortunately, CNN and HLN seemed to have missed the forest.

Fox News media analyst Bernie Goldberg pithily described CNN's questioning as "stupendously dumb and jaw-droppingly stupid." Meanwhile, Goldberg's FNC colleague Howie Kurtz worried that media credibility itself was "vanishing into a black hole."

It's worth remembering that when the Founding Fathers granted the press special privileges, they did so with some trepidation. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams loathed the early press in America because it often operated irresponsibly; it was not unusual for money to change hands in the production of a news story. But Jefferson, Adams, and their peers understood that the people needed information in order to make informed decisions in the voting booth. Therefore, the greater good was served by allowing a free press in the hope that the honest journalists would outnumber the dishonest ones.

But we now have a problem. Entire news operations are devoting themselves not to reporting events honestly, but to promoting a certain ideology and ignoring events that interfere with their politics. When a network spends 24 hours a day "reporting" rumors and theories about a missing plane, that leaves exactly zero time for other stories that are crucial. Remember the IRS targeting conservative groups? ObamaCare's dismal numbers and countless delays? Benghazi? How about Vlad the Invader and his annexation of Crimea? You didn't hear much about them over the din of speculation.

News organizations are not supposed to be attack dogs that demonize the Tea Party and conservatives, nor lap dogs that await orders from their masters in the White House press office. The media is intended to be watch dogs, guarding the rest of us against government malfeasance and corruption. But too many media outlets have become corrupt themselves. It's worth pondering what Jefferson and Adams and Madison would think if they were around today. Hey, maybe we'll call a psychic to find out.

  • buckrodgers

    The media has been pro democratic since the Vietnam War, they were part of the love generation, make love not war, white liberals might of joined the civil rights movement, but it was more about keeping them out of Vietnam, then equal rights for minorities or African Americans and their still trying to save the world. most white liberals were sons and daughters of Americans who lived through the depression and world war two, they were brought up in a segregated country were African Americans were still being discriminated against by white America, so it’s ironic that the most stanch supporter of equal rights, probably used their white skin to obtain their and start their liberal careers, then came Vietnam and a lot of middle class whites,ran to college,became conciseance objectors or joined the civil rights movement, while poor whites and minorities fought in a unpopular war, they took over the media,entertainment industry are academia, where they view themselves as the conciseness of America and they grew in power labeling everybody but themselves a bigot, the white master race was officially born and now because of their own bigotry, the white hoods have finally come off, the emperor really has no clothes, The fact is the liberal left has used the race,gender and other cards to cement to remain in power and President Obama is getting ready to change the dynamics of the Democratic Party, by giving African Americans, their most loyal supporters a seat at the table of power, because minorities don’t need the white man to speak for them any longer, especially when you have a man of color, who has seen first hand, how liberal whites have treated minorities in the White House, white Democrats have remained in power with the help of the black vote, so how do white liberals handle a President who controls ninety percent of the African American vote, if African Americans stay home on election day white Democrats who depend on them will lose at the polls while the media and Hollywood put halos on his head and proclaim him to be their god. that’s why liberals hate Fox News and talk radio who don’t follow their strict guidelines on how the news should be reported.

  • Darren Perkins

    Fox hasn’t been much better… I can’t count the number of times this phrase was used by myself: “please just let me know when you find something”. Then the channel is turned to something more informative: reruns of Gilligan’s island.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Gotta love Gilligan’s Island. ;)

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Endless media coverage of a downed foreign plane, but far less on a home grown killer mudslide? The death toll is truly shocking (and sad beyond belief) Let’s ponder a tad less on the fate of flight 370, and spare a little time to pray for these poor folks In Washington State, many who have lost some, (or all), of their loved ones.