Tuesday, March 29, 2016

told-off all over town

New York Times readers were still telling off The Paper Of Record, Friday when I left, with Comments attached to Jim Rutenberg's March 20th column titled "The Mutual Dependence of Donald Trump and the News Media"...

reader comments

John M    Portland, ME
> >  An excellent column and a much-needed critical self-analysis of how the news media, especially the cable "news" networks, have sold their collective journalistic souls to the devil of audience ratings and advertising revenue. 

The painful reality now is that news coverage is no longer decided by professional journalists, but by entertainment executives and producers.

In early 2015, the financially troubled cable networks, faced with two years of air time to fill and with two boring, centrist front runner candidates in Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, made a collective business decision to cover the 2016 presidential election as a reality-TV show, based on entertainment values rather than on journalism.

During the slow summer 2015 ratings season, they then imported Donald Trump, a proven reality-TV star, complete with his own corporate brand and 100% name recognition, and made an unprecedented decision to grant him free, unlimited and unfiltered air time, a privilege granted to no other candidate, in exchange for the higher ratings and advertising he would bring.

Given all this, and the fact that Trump has his own separate set of coverage rules that he negotiated with the networks, it is impossible to see how Hillary will get fair and equal coverage in the general election. 

In contrast to Trump's unfiltered air time, Hillary's air time is confined to heavily-edited one-minute sound bites, sandwiched between two minutes of commentary.

It is certainly not a level playing field.

seeing with open eyes    usa
> >  On super Tuesday the Times covered every candidate's post-results speech, Republican and Democrat, except Bernie Sanders!  Whether this biased use of media influence is for money or to push an agenda favored by stockholders or editorial staff, it is still wrong. 

It is a misuse of power that results in shaping our democracy.  It is in its own way as bad as the GOP refusing to govern.
Be ashamed media people, be very ashamed all of you...

Joe    New York
> >  LOL.  What an extraordinarily shameful rationalization for months of cynical, unforgivable journalistic irresponsibility. 

"We had no choice but to shove Trump and Clinton down your collective throats.  We HAD to ignore Sanders in the process. 

Don't blame us for our corruption. 

Blame the cutthroat business we are in. 

Sure, we refused to report on the issues. 

We refused to do our jobs and spun our rhetoric in incredibly biased ways which provoked spectacular outrage from our readers and we cynically monetized that outrage instead of respecting it and responding to it. 

We are sorry, we cannot afford to be responsible.  Live with it."  Thanks.  I'm sure Trump will be good for you.  Hillary would be good for Wall Street and the Pentagon but she is never going to win and you know it.

Josh    Salaam
> >  Acknowledging you've sold your credibility in favor of ratings does not make it OK.

That the NY Times is aware of how far it's sunk to scoop up eyeballs only makes its abandonment of true journalistic principles all the more inexcusable.

It's clear that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are bad for the majority of Americans, but b/c they are good for the media, that's who we're getting.

> >  The media's obsession with Donald Trump is only one symptom of a far more distressing problem. 

Just as we have seen a dramatic decline in the quality of candidate seeking the highest office in the land - Santorum, Huckabee, Carson, et al - we have also witnessed a dramatic decline in the quality of media coverage. 

The yapping class dominates the coverage.  Take for example CNN, which features Jeffery Lord among its stable of pundits. 

Mr. Lord believes the KKK is the 'terrorist' arm of the Democratic party.  Mr. Lord also believes MoveOn.org is the new KKK.  And no one in authority at CNN - no one charged with ensuring editorial integrity - is the least bit alarmed by this mindless rhetoric. 

Never mind the 24/7 nonsense that is Fox News.  This is an institutional problem, running throughout broadcast and print. 

Just like the candidates themselves, the folks yapping and reporting on the events just aren't very good.  And while the country can survive a few hopeless candidates, it is bound to suffer far greater pains if its media is in decline.

Steve Holt    Ocean City, NJ
> >  While these are doubtless challenging times for the news business, and financial concerns surely play a role in the saturation Trump coverage, I think you're missing a more banal explanation:  the age-old belief held by reporters and editors that they simply have to cover what the other guy is covering, a-k-a Pack Journalism

Reporters (and editors) live in dread of the question "why don't YOU have this story/angle/quote?" 

The Trump phenomenon is just Pack Journalism in a terribly unfortunate mode,

but journalism has failed to address [this problem], especially in political coverage, for eons, and I doubt that an eventual return to financial strength and stability in the news business is going to solve the problem.

chris mosca    Atlanta, GA
> >  It's rich reading this article here, where every day readers can count on at least three or four articles about Trump, mostly detailing inanities and outrages, but never discussing anything of substance. 

Of course, they are always matched by an equal number of articles extolling the inevitability of Ms. Clinton's candidacy.  This has been your course from day one. 

You are as complicit as any other new media in trotting out the slanted information the two major parties are demanding.  I no longer consider you a reliable source for information about the candidates.

David X    new haven  ct
> >  Warnings about Trump's calls to violence are all we need from the news media.

The press can't ignore a man who gathers crowds and espouses violence to them.  Who actually gets people to be violent to each other in his presence.  Who says that he'll pay their legal fees take responsibility for their violence.

I've lived in countries with bullies like that running the show.  They often look like clowns, covered in chest medals and wearing bizarre uniforms and haircuts (i.e. North Korea):  but they're anything but funny when in power.

FT    San Francisco
> >  "It was the perfect boil-down of the disturbing symbiosis between Mr. Trump and the news media."

Mr. Rutenberg did exactly what he decried - talk about Trump and give him a few more thousand dollars of free media coverage.



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