It would be amusing if it weren’t so serious.
Seemingly incapable of letting pass even the most trivial challenges, like the media’s invidious comparison between the size of the inaugural crowd and the numbers assembled for the so-called Women’s March on Washington, President Trump responds with a claim that not only can’t be corroborated but is plainly false. He responds similarly to the tiresome and sophomoric criticism of him by Meryl Streep, with the claim that Ms. Streep is an “over-rated” actress.
And he suggests, as an explanation for why he lost the popular vote, that it was because 3 million people voted illegally, rather than the much better explanation that he didn’t even bother to campaign in states like New York and California, where he knew he couldn’t win the electoral vote, and where, as with California’s strange election laws, there wasn’t even a Republican on the ballot for the open Senate seat.
But for all the president’s foibles, it’s the post-election breakdown of the media and entertainment industries that is the most revealing and the most disturbing.
The beginning of wisdom in understanding why this is of such importance is in knowing that the vast majority of Americans » Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on Feb. 8, 2017.
The presidential election has lit a fuse on discussions about the present and future of the mainstream media (MSM). Opinions are hot and heavy, and predictable for the most part according to the political mindset of the commenter.
Some people, for instance, attribute Trump’s win to the media’s extensive coverage of him during the primaries, while others see the influence of so-called “fake news” as a factor. People of these and kindred opinions tend not to see, or acknowledge, any significance in the election results for the future of the MSM.
Other people think that Trump won precisely because he characterized the media as being part of the “corrupt establishment,” with Michael Wolff, for instance, writing in the Hollywood Reporter that the election was not between the Republican and Democratic parties but between the Trump Party and the Media Party. As Wolff puts it, “The media turned itself into the opposition and, accordingly, was voted down.” Many such people, Wolff excluded, tend to see (indeed, hope for) a dismal future for the mainstream media.
Yet other commenters see in the election results the damaging effects on the MSM and the country as a whole of the social media, » Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on Jan. 6, 2017.
The Washington Post has for years been a newspaper that favors Democrats and liberalism generally. This has been seen in the kind and quality of issues covered, and not covered, in its feature and investigative stories, and in its editorials. But not until this year has the paper so grossly abandoned the practice of separating news from opinion in its news stories.
And that is something that, for all his distractions and grandeur, the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, must now correct — that or he needs to accept personally the decline and opprobrium that is coming the Post’s way.
Under normal circumstances the owner of a media company is best advised to steer clear of editorial matters, but that won’t work at the Post any longer. It’s become obvious that, with the election of Donald Trump, none of the editors at the paper can be trusted to uphold even the most basic of journalistic standards.
This has been true since Trump first announced his candidacy, but it has escalated gruesomely since his election. Witness, for instance, what is perhaps the shoddiest piece of feature writing since Rolling Stone published its blatantly false story about a campus rape at the University of Virginia. » Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on Nov. 29, 2016.
There are many losers in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. They include Hollywood, pollsters, the Bush family and the GOP’s donor class, and neocons. But the biggest losers are the mainstream media (MSM) and journalism itself.
And it’s the damage done to journalism, not the fate of pundits or media outlets, that is the most disturbing. After all, it’s been reported for years that Republicans and conservatives in ever larger numbers deem the MSM to be in the Democrats’ and liberals’ corner, and if that perception is okay with media moguls it’s their choice to make — and to live with the consequences in the marketplace.
But when, as happened this year, so much of the media openly and willfully suspended the practice of separating news from opinion, they crossed a boundary of what’s rightly theirs and what’s ours. It’s our right and need to know about civic matters, fully, fairly and accurately, that is the public virtue in journalism and the sine qua non of democracy.
Although virtually all of the MSM violated this boundary in their frantic support of Clinton, some were worse than others. As is often the case, CNN led in this category, » Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on Nov. 15, 2016.
As the mainstream media pillory Donald Trump, and in doing so reveal the hypocrisy lurking in their news standards, Trump’s supporters find themselves caught between the rock of the MSM and the hard place of the conservative intelligentsia. And it may be the latter that are doing the most damage.
Because academia and the legacy media are so hostile to them, intellectuals of the right have for years congregated in think tanks and publications. Places like the libertarian Cato Institute, the conservative National Review and the Wall Street Journal, and the neoconservative Commentary (and more recently the Weekly Standard) have incubated and nurtured some of the best pundits and policy analysts in the country.
Yet today, not one of them supports Donald Trump’s candidacy, and several (particularly the neocons) are in full-throated opposition. Taken together, these “Never Trumpers” fault the GOP nominee for his stands on immigration and international trade, for his personal style, and for his lack of familiarity with, much less fealty to, conservative policy positions.
In other words, they have their reasons. Yet for all of that, there’s a look and feel about their efforts that smacks of vanity. Sadder still, their collective posture reveals an embarrassing lack of discernment » Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on Aug. 31, 2016.
The New York Times’ media columnist, Jim Rutenberg, penned a recent piece suggesting that biased news coverage of Donald Trump, at the Times and among other mainstream media, is justified and rarely observed in the context of other partisan or ideological issues.
Rutenberg’s claim is that because Trump says things that are rude, politically incorrect, or debatable, and “conducting his campaign in ways we’ve not normally seen,” there is no need for news reporters to treat him to objective reporting.
As the gentleman puts it: “It may not always seem fair to Mr. Trump or his supporters. But journalism shouldn’t measure itself against any one campaign’s definition of fairness. It is journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment. To do anything less would be untenable.”
So … by this standard, which has been honored more in the breach than the observance by the Times for years, Rutenberg justifies the open vilification of Trump’s statements in things written not just by opinion writers but by reporters as well.
It’s as fine a piece of hypocrisy clothed in “journalistic idealism” as you’ll ever see, » Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on Aug. 15, 2016.
The news that pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker has been financed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel has sparked many opinions, some of them erroneous, some duplicitous, and some deeply shameful.
Before providing examples of each, a little background. In 2007, Valleywag, a now-defunct blog site then owned by Gawker Media, outed Thiel, against his express wishes, as a homosexual. Though he is in fact gay, Thiel was angry about this, and angry too about what he saw, and sees, as Gawker’s bullying journalism in its coverage of Silicon Valley’s tech industry.
For some apparent combination of these reasons, Thiel subsequently offered to covertly pay for Hogan’s legal fees in connection with the wrestler’s invasion of privacy suit against Gawker. The gravamen of Hogan’s suit is that Gawker published online a secretly taped video of Hogan having sex with the wife of a friend of his. At trial the jury awarded Hogan $140 million.
So right off the bat a couple of things are clear: Neither Hogan’s lawsuit nor Thiel’s payment of his legal fees are First Amendment issues, despite allegations to that effect in stories published by such as the New York Times. >> Read More
Maines is president of The Media Institute. The opinions expressed are his alone and not those of The Media Institute, its board, advisory councils, or contributors. The full version of this article appeared in The Daily Caller on June 9, 2016.
Though it’s not been well analyzed by mainstream reporters, the so-called conservative media have been split down the middle by the Donald Trump phenomenon. Outlets like the Drudge Report, Breitbart, and the Washington Times have been in loud and consistent support, while National Review, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary (the last two the leading journals of neoconservatism) have been in full-throated opposition.
Conservative commentators with other media are also divided, with such as George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Ross Douthat on the anti-Trump side, while Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Goodwin are pro-Trump.
Other right-leaning journals, like The American Spectator and The Daily Caller, also appear to be in Trump’s corner.
Falling somewhere in the middle of all this have been opinion writers like the erudite Victor Davis Hanson and the always-astute Peggy Noonan, both of whom seem likely to part company with those conservatives and neoconservatives who are looking for ways to undermine Trump even if it means the election of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
It will be interesting to see how some of the conservative “NeverTrump” commentators handle the blowback in the days and months ahead. >> Read More
The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on May 23, 2016.
Perhaps the most interesting opinions these days about things economic and political come from David Stockman, the former Republican congressman from Michigan and head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Reagan.
In part, Stockman is the most interesting because he is also the most vitriolic, no mean accomplishment since he competes, in that category, with such as Paul Krugman. Consider, for instance, the following, all but the last example from just this February:
Regarding a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors: “Have you ever heard of Lael Brainard? … In the name of a crude Keynesian economic model that is an insult to even the slow-witted, Brainard and her ilk are conducting a rogue regime of financial repression, manipulation, and unspeakable injustice that will destroy both political democracy and capitalist prosperity as we have known it.”
On central bankers: “There has been an economic coup d’etat in America and most of the world. We are now ruled by about 200 central bankers, monetary apparatchiks and their minions on Wall Street and other financial centers.”
On Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen: “This stupendously naïve old schoolmarm still believes the received Keynesian scriptures as penned by the 1960s-era apostles James (Tobin), John (Galbraith), Paul (Samuelson) and Walter (Heller).” >> Read More
The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on March 7, 2016.
Can there be any further doubt that we have now come to a time when the rightward half of the country perceives much of the mainstream media (the broadcast networks, big city newspapers, etc.) to be carriers of Democratic and/or left-leaning news and opinion?
The media deny this, but their denials – indeed, the very idea that the way to address this matter is to deny or contest it – change nothing. The bottom line is that perhaps one half of the potential audience for these media outlets holds negative opinions about them.
This practice confounds most people’s understanding of the marketing of mass products. Were millions of people, for example, to complain to car makers that the standard radios provided don’t work well enough, the manufacturers would endeavor to fix it to the critics’ satisfaction – not, as the media have done, simply deny that anything’s wrong.
So that’s an important difference between car companies and the legacy media, but what explains it, and what does the future hold for such media?
Understand what’s meant by the first of these questions. It’s not what explains why the reporters and editors don’t care that they are perceived as biased. >> Read More