Recently, while watching a non-mainstream television news program, a strange thing happened; they were reporting the news! When I say news, I mean facts, no opinion. They reported on Spain and their strategy for re-opening the country. There was a segment explaining that France had opened barber shops and salons. They did a piece on China’s opening of Disney World! I did not see nor hear any personal opinions on these news reports, just the facts. I then changed the channel to CNN and MSNBC and the entire vibe was different. The seemingly single-minded message was immediate, clear, and constant; “Trump is wrong, Its Trump’s fault, the Trump administration is responsible for the Corona Virus pandemic”. Look, I am not a against criticizing a president of the United States nor of holding him or her accountable, but the disdain demonstrated against President Trump by the media is broad, personal and appears to be coordinated. For example, the New York Times was forced to come out with a statement apologizing for one of its writers, Don McNeil’s, hate spewed comments on CNN towards Trump and his team. The Times states "In an interview with Christiane Amanpour today, Donald McNeil, Jr. went too far in expressing his personal views. His editors have discussed the issue with him to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and not to offer his own opinions." Now, Mr. McNeil can express his opinion all he wants; on his own time, not while he is acting in his capacity as a journalist. Jill Abramson, the veteran journalist who led the New York Times from 2011 to 2014, says the Times has a financial incentive to bash the president and that the imbalance is helping to erode its credibility. She goes on to say that the paper had become “unmistakably anti-Trump.” The anti-Trump media has turned into the opposition. They attack whatever decision the president makes. Look at the reactions by the news media when Trump simply suggested that “Hydroxychloroquine has shown very encouraging early results. CNN “Trump peddles unsubstantiated hope in dark times”, Washington Post “Trump is giving people false hope of Corona cures. Its all snake oil”, The New Yorker “The meaning of Donald Trump’s coronavirus quackery”, The Boston Globe “Trump is spreading misinformation about the virus- time to take away his microphone”. To call these comments an overreaction is an understatement.
Its estimated that 90% of news media is anti-Trump. I leaned back in my chair and sincerely began to ponder this and ask myself why. As someone who has thirty years’ experience working in Washington DC as a political appointee and as a political consultant, I have seen several presidents come and go. Democrats, Republicans, both liberal and conservative media all knew and recognized that, win or lose a presidential election, they would have the chance to do it all over again in four years. The losers carried themselves for the most part with civility. Truth is that the political infrastructure in Washington makes it difficult for any president to make any real lasting change. Journalist rarely displayed their personal political or policy positions in public. Today, the media’s claws are out as they have openly declared war on Donald Trump. But why?! Trump, as an American citizen certainly has the right to run for office. Prior to becoming a politician, Trump had a good acceptance and career with the media. Even when he first announced his candidacy for president, the news media treated him in, what could be called, a friendly manner. This amicable reception soon vanished, but why?
One reason for this media hatred of Trump is clearly financial. Former Executive Editor of the New York Times Jill Abramson acknowledges a “Trump bump” that saw digital subscriptions during his first six months in office jump by 600,000, to more than 2 million. Trump hating gets ratings. I recall late night TV host Stephen Colbert was about to lose his job because of poor ratings. When Trump became the Republican candidate in 2016 and Colbert decided to become a Trump basher, his ratings began to rise, and he got to keep his job. Colbert owes his livelihood to Donald Trump!
Another reason for the hate of the media towards Trump is fear. Perception is reality whether it is true or not. Trump haters including the media have an image in their minds of Donald Trump; and it is scary. He is going to destroy America. He is against immigrants. He hates blacks, Latinos, Asians, gays, and women. He only cares about the super-rich. Now, none of these are true but it does not matter. This is the image of Trump that anti Trumpers have in their head and they are afraid. People tend to fear what they do not understand and the media for the life of them cannot figure Trump out. Because of this they say no to whatever he proposes knowing that if it comes from Trump, it cannot be good. Trump pulls troops out of Syria, media: “Trump should leave the troops in Syria”. Trump refuses to pull out of Syria, media: Trump should pull out of Syria immediately”. Trump bombs Iran in retaliation for attacks and killing of Americans, media: “Trump is a warmonger”. Trumps does nothing in retaliation for Iranian attacks, media: “Trump is all talk and no action” The media does not know how to react to Trump and certainly don’t know what to expect. This lack of control causes their fear and hate of the president.
My final reason the media hates Trump is that many have gone from journalist to political activist. Many of the news media talking heads are former staff of the Bush, Obama, and Hillary Clinton campaigns. They can’t stop themselves from being political. They bring the same combative attitude and tactics from the political campaign battlefield to the newsroom. they take on Trump with bare knuckle brawls with no concern for the standards of good journalism. Whatever happened to “the pen is mightier than the sword”? The origin of this species may have been when Jorge Ramos of Univision, when questioned about impartiality in the press toward President Trump responded that “at this time the press can no longer remain neutral”.
I hope that we can get beyond this hatred in our country and in the world. I look forward to the day that explicit bias and hate can be removed from our news media. Afterall, the press is given constitutional rights of expression. It would be a boost to society if these rights of expression were used to inform citizens by reporting the facts and allowing us to make our own decisions.
Jerry Pierce Jr. is a member of the board and contributing writer for The Washington Media Group Corp.