by Jerry Newcombe, D.Min.
Here’s a variation of a joke I heard recently that is circulating among conservatives. The pope and Trump were out on a ship and suddenly a gust of wind causes the pontiff’s hat to fly several feet away from the boat on surface of the water. Trump gets out of the boat and walks on water to retrieve the miter.
On a nearby boat are members of the media.
•The next day the headline read in the New York Times declares, “Trump Can't Swim.”
•The Washington Post headline read, “Trump Guilty of Water Pollution.”
•The LA Times headline declares, “Trump Shows Off in Front of Pope.”
•USA Today notes: “Trump Tries to Upstage Jesus.”
And so it goes with the liberal media: it would appear that President Trump cannot win, no matter what he does. Has he had a rocky start to his presidency or has he been working diligently to fulfil his campaign promises? Or are both true at the same time?
Not that I think he walks on water, but is it any wonder that Trump so often takes his case to tens of millions of followers through Twitter? This is his unfiltered voice above the gatekeepers at the mainstream media.
A recent poll by Fox News (2/17/17) found that 68 percent of Americans “think the press has been ‘tougher’ on Trump than Obama.”
The poll also found that a slight majority of Americans give Trump more credence than they do reporters: “By a slim 45-42 percent margin, more voters say they trust the Trump administration to ‘tell the public the truth’ than the reporters who cover the White House.”
Meanwhile, also on 2/17/17, Trump tweeted: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"
As could be expected, this tweet set off a firestorm of controversy. Senator McCain, moderate Republican leader, turned on his party’s current standard-bearer and warned that when government shuts down a free press that’s “how dictators get started.” Of course, whenever a state actively attempts to shut down the media, that is a step toward tyranny.
But everybody knows deep down that the press is hopelessly biased. This is nothing new.
There’s the famous Lichter and Rothman report on liberal media bias. In 1994, S. Robert Lichter, Linda S. Lichter, and Stanley Rothman, with the assistance of Daniel Amundson, wrote up their findings in the Regnery book, Prime Time: How TV Portrays American Culture.
The Lichter-Rothman team had conducted a study of the 104 top television writers, producers, and executives, which confirmed that they are overwhelmingly liberal—for example, 97% were “pro-choice,” 80% were pro-homosexual rights, and 51% didn’t even think there’s anything wrong with extra-marital affairs. Yet here’s the statistic that tells it all: 93% of the media elite at the time of the research never darkened the door of a church or synagogue.
Hence, these are godless people imposing their godless world-view on the media-viewing populace. Gallup reports (12/24/13) that four in ten Americans went to church last week. Note the disparity: 7 percent of the media elite. 40 percent of the American people. And it would be hard to argue that people in television have become less liberal since the time of Lichter-Rothman.
The majority of examples of media bias are seen not so much in what the news media covers, but rather what they choose to ignore. Perhaps this is most seen in coverage related to abortion.
Over the weekend, Norma McCorvey died. She was the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, the infamous 1973 abortion decision by the Supreme Court. If she had never converted to the pro-life side of things, she would be lionized by the media right now. But because she was converted to Christ and the pro-life position, she is virtually ignored by the mainstream media.
Here's another recent example of media bias. TIME Magazine had a cover story (1/30/17) showing a defiant Trump at his inaugural. After several pages on the new president including his aims to destroy the status quo and on those opponents who strive to undermine him, the magazine then had an article entitled, “The President Who Loved.”
Who is that dealing with? President Obama. Even in his post-presidency, the mainstream media continues what veteran CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg once called in a book its “slobbering love affair” with Obama in the 2008 election. Was TIME implying: Trump hates, Obama loves?
Of course, a free and independent press is essential to a free and independent country. But a conservative’s free speech rights include the opportunity to criticize the obvious bias to the left of the main gatekeepers of America’s media.