Updated Octrober 8, 2016
Gunda Trepp, “Wahlkampf in Amerika Die Medien haben ihren Auftrag vergessen; Im amerikanischen Wahlkampf kommen viele Journalisten ihrer Sorgfaltspflicht nicht mehr nach. Sie setzen die erfahrene Clinton und den politischen Dilettanten Trump gleich. Doch diese Komplexitätsreduktion gibt es nicht nur in Amerika. Ein Gastbeitrag,” Freankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8. Oktober 2016.
Updated September 16, 2016
See Margaret Sullivan (Media Columnist), “It’s time for TV news to stop playing the stooge for Donald Trump,” Washington Post, September 16, 2016 (1:46 p.m.)
Voters in the United States must make a momentous choice on November 8, when they choose a president. The issues that face the nation and that must be decided by the next president are daunting.
For the last two days great media attention has been given to Hillary Clinton’s comment at a fundaising event that half of Donald Trumps supporters come from the “the basket of deplorables”. She has since walked back the “half” word in the comment, but not the thrust of her remark.
Donald Trump is a master at throwing bait to the nation’s herd journalists. Here, he launched an ad deploring Clinton’s comment. This ad came from the same man who has made so many despicable comments himself, about John McCain, about the Muslim parents of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, about his intent to torture detainees in the future, and the list goes on.
He continues to repeat the assertion that he opposed the invasion of Iraq, when the evidence shows he did not. Last week on a nationally televised foreign policy forum, Matt Lauer, one of the highest-paid TV jounalists in the U.S., allowed the false assertion to go unchallenged.
This is what the campaign coverage has been like in the U.S. this year.
The real story, however, is not about Trump, or Clinton. Rather, it is about a lazy press corps and media that prefer to report the “he said, she said” story of the day, instead of digging into the issues–every day, in every story–that define the differences between the candidates.
Investigative journalism, where the jounalists and their editors set the agenda, seems to be largely a thing of the past.
To be sure, some newspapers and new organizations do engage in investigative journalism from time to time. Yet such journalism is so unusual that it is usually newsworthy in itself, whereas an element of investigative journalism should be a part of every story.
Every story should be written from a “critical” point of view, and never merely repeat factual assertions that are untrue without citing the contrary evidence.
Among stories published recently was one about Trump donating $25,000 to a state prosecutor who was deciding whether or not to prosecute Trump and one of his enterprises. It was a great story, but one whose follow-up has been obscured by stories like the one on Clinton’s comment about “the basket of deplorables”.
Trump is allowed by the press to question the activities of the Clinton Foundation when Hillary was Secretary of State, over and over, endlessly it seems.
Despite the fact that no malfeasance has ever been found, the press dutifully raises this dead horse every time Donald Trump mentions it, giving further life to a charge based solely on unfounded innuendo. Meanwhile, stories such as Trump’s apparent attempt to improperly influence a prosecutor deciding on a matter affecting him directly are allowed to fall by the wayside.
Jounalists know they are not serving the public interst when they run after Trump’s bait, but they cannot resist the instinctive reaction of runnng with the herd.
Indeed, the worst “deplorabls” in Trump’s “basket of deplorables” are the herd jounalists who are too lazy to write about substantive issues, or too afraid to not come up with the most recent statement by one of the candidates in the latest cycle of “he said, she said” excitement.
If ignorance of substantive issues and positions, or of questions of character and honesty, remains amidst the obscuring fog caused by this herd jounalism, it is clear who the most consequential ” deplorables” are.
They are the herd journalists themselves.
The Trenchant Observer