The moderator of NBC’s “Meet The Press” wrote an opinion piece in The Atlantic whining about the rise of the right-wing media outlets and distrust of the mainstream press.
“Some of the wealthiest members of the media are not reporters from mainstream outlets,” Todd said. “Figures such as Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and the trio of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham have attained wealth and power by exploiting the fears of older white people. They are thriving financially by exploiting the very same free-press umbrella they seem determined to undermine.”
Hannity, Tucker and Ingraham all work at Fox News, which is the most-watched cable news network in America. Drudge’s website is one of the most heavily trafficked in the world. They are the very definition of “mainstream.”
The fact that Todd has not realized this is indicative of the problem of the left-wing mainstream press, which cannot accept the fact people distrust them because they are not trustworthy.
“Bashing the media for political gain isn’t new, and neither is manipulating the media to support or oppose a cause,” Todd said. “These practices are at least as old as the Gutenberg press. But antipathy toward the media right now has risen to a level I’ve never personally experienced before. The closest parallel in recent American history is the hostility to reporters in the segregated South in the 1950s and ’60s.”
What does that say about the state of the mainstream press? If animosity towards the media rivals that of Jim Crow, something must be seriously wrong. But according to Todd, that is the fault of the President, who is covered 90% negatively in the media, not the networks who continuously drag him through the mud.
“Much of the current hand-wringing about this rise in press bashing and delegitimization has been focused on the president, who—as every reporter in America sadly knows—has declared the press the ‘enemy of the people,’ he wrote. “But, like much else in the Trump era, Donald Trump didn’t start this fire; he’s only spread it to a potentially more dangerous place.”
Todd ended his grievance piece calling for the left-wing press to fight back against Trump.
“Instead of attacking rivals, or assailing critics—going negative,in the parlance of political campaigns—reporters need to showcase and defend our reporting,” he said. “Every day, we need to do our job, check our facts, strive to be transparent, and say what we’re seeing.”
That sounds like a great plan. Perhaps some honest reporting would lead to less strife between Trump and the media.
Washington Post Op-Ed Writer Asks Why It’s Difficult to “Deprogram Trumpian Conspiracy Theorists”
This “deprogramming” talk is dangerous and it needs to stop.
Professor and Washington Post contributor Brian Klaas recently wrote an op-ed for the paper titled “Why is it so hard to deprogram Trumpist conspriacy theorists?”, speculating that Trump’s base is teeming with “deluded people” who are so out of touch with reality that “reprogramming” them may prove impossible.
The Post published the op-ed Monday. Klaas’ opening paragraph says in part that “for the past four years, the United States was governed by a conspiracy theorist in chief. Whether by retweeting QAnon accounts from the Oval Office or painting himself as the victim of shadowy ‘deep state’ plots at rallies, President Donald Trump injected the toxin of baseless conspiratorial thinking straight into America’s political bloodstream.”
He asserts that the participants of the Capitol storming on January 6 were “insurrectionists” and “conspiracy theorists” and then asks if “we have any hope of deprogramming the millions of Americans who are devoted to dangerous lunacy.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” quipped Klaas, who proceeds to jump into a psychological explanation for why conspiracy theorists believe the things they believe. Part of what makes them so hard to “deprogram,” he says, is an inability for their claims to be falsified, their ever-shifting explanations for why predicted events don’t come to pass, and the social atmosphere of online communities.
Klaas concludes his op-ed as follows: “We can no longer pretend that conspiracy theorists are beneath our attention. They’ve shown they have tremendous capacity to inflict damage on society. Bringing the deluded people who populate Trump’s political base back to reality will be difficult. But to find the right antidote, we need to at least accurately diagnose who has taken the poison. And that means acknowledging that those who sympathize with the Capitol insurrectionists are not far-off lunatics. Some, most likely, are your neighbors.
“And, given the staying power of conspiratorial thinking, they aren’t likely to change their minds anytime soon.”
This is hardly the first time commentators and writers have used “deprogramming” language in recent days. And it reveals a lot about the contempt with which they view Trump supporters. It doesn’t get any more clear that they wish millions of people had their worldviews thoroughly reexamined and minds reprogrammed before they can be considered part of polite society again. That’s extraordinarily dangerous, divisive rhetoric. And it needs to stop.
Did the people who stormed the Capitol do something wrong and did some of them believe in QAnon-type conspiracy theories? Yes and yes. But the left for years has smeared Trump as a dictator and his fervent supporters as fascists; hence they have no moral qualms about lumping together both the Capitol rioters and run-of-the-mill Trump supporters. They essentially think January 2021 is May 1945 and that we all need to be denazified. It’s disturbing and concerning, especially since they’re the ones with all the institutional power.
We’re going to be in for a rough four years, guys.
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