Big League Politics’ Neil W. McCabe was featured Friday on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “The Investigators,” program about journalism in the Age of Trump, where he talked about #fakenews, the mainstream media and the tendency of reporters to keep secrets instead of telling them.
“I think people ought to be concerned if people in the government are going after Facebook over #fakenews,” McCabe said to the show’s host Diane Swain. “You don’t want some bureaucrat deciding what #fakenews is—you want a competing media outlet to go after it.”
McCabe said the solution is the marketplace of ideas.
“Chevrolet and Ford watch each other, so nobody can get away with too much, so that is the antidote to so-called #fakenews,” he said.
McCabe joined Big League Politics as a national political reporter after covering Capitol Hill for Breitbart News. In addition to other journalist positions, such as the DC Bureau chief of One America News Network and staff reporter for The Pilot, Boston’s Catholic paper, he deployed to Iraq for 15 months as a combat historian.
“The truth is that reporters keep more secrets than they ever tell,” he said. “Reporters are actually the ones who hold secrets back from people, because they want to protect relationships, or they don’t think the readers or the audience can handle it.”
“What we’re trying to do is we are saying: ‘We don’t have those relationships and so we’re looking to tell the truth as it is.”
Watch the interview here:
Swain asked McCabe what Canadians should know about the American political coverage, which she said was not as contentious or harsh as it is in the United States.
“People tell me: ‘Why can’t we go back to the 1970s when everyone in Washington got along,” he said.
“Well, in the 1970s, the Democrats railroaded out of the White House a president, who won 49 states,” he said. “I would say, there is always going to be that polarization, that divisiveness.”
In America, politics gets polarized because the White House and the presidency are winner-take-all, he said. “Whereas in a parliamentary system, you can sort of fiddle in the middle.”
Canadians have to understand that the American media is a free-for-all, he said.
“It’s that clash of ideas, but it’s also competing elites, there’s regionalism, I mean, this a big country of 300 million people and it’s all smashing together all the time,” he said.
Despite the vibrancy of the marketplace of ideas, there is an establishment in the United States that controls the government bureaucracy, the media, the universities and the corporate boardrooms, he said.
“They want to hold onto the power that they have.”
“The big media outlets, like the CNNs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, they put out that narrative that carries the day, and that narrative is usually the establishment narrative and it doesn’t always reflect what going on,” he said.