Reading the New York Times can be a surreal experience. Its reporters and editors sometimes seem to live in a world of their own, far removed from most Americans’ ordinary life.
A great example comes from a recent article penned by Jim Rutenberg, which revolves around a premise most folks would find laughable on its face: That journalists are “neutral” and “unbiased,” and, golly, this Donald Trump fellow is making it SO very hard for reporters to stay that way.
In other words, if the media seems biased against Trump, that’s all Trump’s fault!
In an epic example of “concern trolling,” Rutenberg declares:
If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable. (…)
[I]t upsets balance, that idealistic form of journalism with a capital “J” we’ve been trained to always strive for.
But let’s face it: Balance has been on vacation since Mr. Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy.
And so on. Of course, it will be news to millions of people that “journalism” has been “striving for balance” all this time. After Edward R. Murrow denounced Senator Joseph McCarthy on TV in the 1950s, and then after Watergate in the 1970s, American journalists have thought of themselves as activists and public relations men first and foremost.
Rutenberg actually tries to look like he’s being fair here, admitting (in a tortured attempt at wit) that when it comes to Hillary Clinton, “there are more ‘gates’ affixed to her last name — Travelgate, Whitewatergate, now Emailgate — than there are gates in the Old City of Jerusalem.”
But of course, the main focus of the article is Trump, and why Rutenberg and his colleagues are so “concerned” about his presidency. Twice he mentions Trump asking aloud why America has nuclear weapons if it never uses them. This is clearly intended by the Times to be a chilling question, whereas it probably strikes a lot of sane readers as perfectly reasonable.
In the end, the column backfires. Instead of making Trump seem like the scary one, it reinforces your suspicion that it’s the press, not The Donald, who wield too much power.
Source: New York Times