Americans’ regard for journalism is lower than whale poop — and it was plenty low long before Donald J. Trump started his “Fake News” tirades, most of them based on his lies.
Not all of his accusations were false, because responsible journalists do occasionally get things wrong, and when they do, they apologize, usually in the form of corrections.
I’ve had to write my share of them in my day, and I’ve always felt they didn’t hurt my credibility — they enhanced it.
Why? Most people understand people make mistakes, honest mistakes, and they actually have respect for those who own up to it.
Most people, not all.
I remember a stunning 2016 story in The New York Times after Trump was elected.
The newspaper — like many others, including me — was sure he could not be elected. When he was, the Times’ public editor admitted the newspaper was biased, it was way off base, it did not have its finger on the pulse of America (it did have its finger on the pulse of Manhattan’s Upper West Side), and the editor promised the paper would do better.
It didn’t, but that’s another story. The confession was not followed by changed behavior.
Everyone sees events through the prism of their own experience, which is a high-class way of saying their biases. We all have biases, or personal viewpoints, which is a benign way of saying it.
These are sometimes called implicit biases, and are often invoked when discussing racism, the kind of racism people don’t believe they have. Reporters are human and have their biases, which editors are supposed to screen out. The Tuesday Inquirer had one story, a long story, that provided evidence of what I am saying.
Because the first one happens so often, it is deliberate. Talking about progressive support for Jim Kenney’s first race, the reporters said it was because he supported LGBTQ people “and immigrants.”
No, he supported illegal immigrants, who are shielded from ICE by his sanctuary city policy. “Immigrants” don’t need protection from ICE, only illegals do, and for more than a decade the Inquirer has refused to distinguish between those here legally, and those who have violated our borders. That is a lack of candor.
In explaining how Kenney might have lost progressive good will, there was this paragraph (italics added):
“But all that good will was jeopardized in the span of a few days when a militarized police force terrorized a West Philadelphia neighborhood and tear gassed peaceful protestors on I-676.”
Is that what happened, objectively?
Or is this what happened, providing context?:
“But all that good will was jeopardized in the span of a few days when police were called to put down a riot that was terrorizing a West Philadelphia neighborhood and tear gassed protestors who had illegally entered and blocked I-676.”
Every day in the Inquirer there are calls to prosecute the rioters — meaning the ones in D.C. — but it was pretty much crickets following last summer’s riots and looting in Center City.
No, then we were asked to “understand their rage” and how riots are the language of the unheard. As if grabbing boxes of Air Jordans from a Foot Locker is a genuine cry for racial equity. One BLM spokeswoman actually called looting a form of reparations. She spoke for many.
Joe Biden says he wants unity, I sure do, but we will never get it until we have a single standard for judging lawlessness.