News reporters should not be partisan Tweeters

Walter Cronkite

Can you imagine Walter Cronkite on Twitter? Neither can I.

Twitter is of course that vulgar platform where people send cryptic messages to their followers. The average length of a Tweet is 33 characters – one short, ungrammatical sentence. The platform was specifically designed for superficiality. It’s a place to be snide, snarky and self-promoting, not a place for reasoned debate or reliable information.

Twitter hosts “commentary” by the likes of Kim Kardashian who has 67 million followers and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has 10 million followers. And CNN anchor Jake Tapper who has three million followers and has posted 227,000 tweets.

Huh?

Yes, that’s right. An anchor of what used to be America’s most trusted news source promotes himself hundreds of times a day with cryptic, snarky Tweets. Many of those cryptic, snarky Tweets seek successfully to provoke cryptic, snarky Tweets in response by President Donald Trump.

Only 41% of the American public trust the news media. Approval ratings for the news media are lower than for the President and for Congress,  A recent poll found with some irony that the most trusted news source in America is the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Lots of factors explain this catastrophic plunge in the public’s trust in their news, including many that aren’t the fault of the industry. Those include the Balkanization of news by the advent of cable and then the internet, the tribalization of politics and declining revenues resulting from advertisers shifting from advertising on the media to advertising on the internet where their advertising can be efficiently focused on their specific market. In today’s newsrooms, the kind of investigative reporting done by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein is non-existent because there’s no money to pay for it.

But some factors are indeed the fault of the industry. Journalism as an occupation has transmuted from a profession to report the news, into political advocates who spin it, usually in one direction. Journalism professors are overwhelmingly hard left, and like many on the left they believe that outcomes are more important than ethics.

Financial pressures on media companies have produced a race to the bottom as they pander to people who don’t really want news, but simply want their feelings reinforced. Indeed, many people actually get their news entirely from social media, where they read what “friends” have posted.

Social media companies themselves learned long ago to customize that “news” to appeal to each individual customer. That’s fine for a company selling clothes, but not so fine for a company selling news. It’s part of the reason the public is so politically divided. They literally see the world differently because different versions of the world are put in front of them by different news sources.

Ethical and responsible news reporters would resist the financial and career temptation to sink into that swamp. It’s one thing for opinionists to post a link to their opinion columns, as I do, but it’s altogether different for news reporters to reveal their bias and shallowness by posting snarky one-liners about current events they’re covering, allegedly unbiasedly. Can you imagine if judges tweeted out snarky one-liners about the cases they’re trying?

But alas, news reporters have not resisted that temptation at all. They revel in it, they count the clicks it produces, they enjoy the personal attention it generates, and they get rewarded for it by their venal bosses.

Walter Cronkite’s sign-off, “And that’s the way it is,” has been transformed by modern news anchors into “And that’s the way I want you to see it.”

People aren’t stupid. They know they’re being gamed. These overtly partisan reporters are ultimately destroying their careers by undermining their credibility. I will not mourn the destruction of their careers. They deserve that outcome. But they are also destroying their profession and their country. That, I will mourn.

14 thoughts on “News reporters should not be partisan Tweeters

  1. “People aren’t stupid. ” That’s the one thing in your article I would argue with. Perhaps “People who read my articles aren’t stupid” would have been more accurate.

  2. Sociobiologists define us as “status-seeking mammals,” which is all we need to know or say about social media. I am no doubt trying to enhance my own status among your cadre of readers by writing this comment.

    But the far greater threat to our well-being is the Big-Brotherization of so-called “news” media by the global powers that own them. Even on FOX News, reporters and anchors are generally referring to Biden as “the President-Elect,” as if to make his coronation-by-usurpation a fait accompli. Implicit in this is the subtle or not-so-subtle power of intimidation, as distinct from the desire simply to get ahead. By conforming to their bosses’ authorized narrative, news personnel will not be “destroying their careers” so much as preserving them. The only thing that will destroy them is our setting fire to the entire New World Order that calls the tune.

    Stand with Trump’s legal team, or kiss America good-bye.

  3. Walter Cronkite was not exactly a paragon of truth. He used CBS assets to aid anti-War Protests and he blatantly lied about TET. There is video somewhere of Edward R. Murrow interviewing Fidel Castro in his Hotel Room in NYC with both patting young Fidel Jr. on the head in his jammies then he’s down the hall, Castro turns and faces the camera and says, “there is not Communism in Cuba” must be right after the Revolution, his first trip to the UN. Media has never sat on the sidelines, it’s just way more prominent and lock step today. Goebbels would be proud.

  4. Dr Beaton, Another good post. I have stopped watching. I barely read any articles because I already know what they will say (so why read it?). Its tragic what the corporate owners have done to journalists. The final nail will be watching them fawn over Biden-Harris and the ostracizing of anyone who asks a hard question. As before, I used to admire lawyers and journalists as professionals; lawyers are hanging in there, but national journalists have fallen hard. They travel too easily between reporter and columnist/pundit (George Stephanopoulos is a joke), and now there’s no line. Did you catch Gov. Cuomo chewing the reporter out? How can that stand? … Side Note: I was an AF officer for 28 years. I saw many officers do bad things and their superiors let them get away with it. There were slaps on the wrist and quietly allowing them to retire. There should have been Courts Martial with no plea bargains, loss of pay and benefits, time in Leavenworth, etc. … a public hanging may be just the thing to straighten all of them out. PS You have to admire a profession where they drum out clowns, like Mike Nifong.

    • Brilliant Mary. I think I’ll be texting this some family members today!

      They had advised me that I was drinking the KoolAid.
      They became mad at me when I told them that Kool Aid comes in many flavorso

  5. Yes the tweets are unprofessional and just another indication of the extreme bias of various reporters. Moreover, in just the last two years, American journalism has taken a deep dive into Goebbels’ territory. Major news sites (MSN, Yahoo, etc.) suddenly stopped allowing readers’ comments, comments which often disagreed with the progressive slant of an article. The WSJ began to heavily moderate readers comments, restricting which articles could have comments and censoring or removing those comments, no matter how well supported by other readers (i.e. hundreds of “likes”) that disagreed with a reporter’s stance. Our host, Mr. Beaton, wrote the most popular column in the Aspen Times, and then a year ago, he was terminated by that paper. The excellent and hugely popular Conservative Treehouse has just been notified that WordPress is de-platforming the site. Then there’s the extreme censoring by social media and the news media of the Hunter/Joe Biden story, a story which everyone knew was not only legitimate, but extremely timely. Glen Greenwald, who founded The Intercept, was forbidden to post an article regarding the Biden family story, and left the Intercept as a result.

    To understate the obvious, this is serious.

    • Indeed, the bias and the censorship are so egregious that one has to ask, what are the stakes here? Why are media so invested in accelerating “the fundamental transformation” of America into a branch office of a totalitarian New World Order? Money? — are there yet greater fortunes to be made? Ideology? — do they really believe that they’re saving the planet? Resentment? — some kind of irrational jealousy and hatred of the role America has played on the international stage since The War? Sociobiology? — is there something about the human hive that strives for the regimented conformity of its worker bees? that hates autonomy?

      Can someone please explain the thinking of the left?!

      • You’re overthinking it, Chad. There’s really no master plan.

        The left loves to hate America simply because they love to hate everything around them that is human-made. Doing so makes these insecure people feel virtuous and superior to other humans. It substitutes for achievement.

        If they were in France, they’d hate France too (in fact they are indeed in France and they do indeed hate France too).

        That’s why they approach problems the way they do. They aren’t really interested in solutions that work. They’re interested in solutions that make them feel good.

        Anyone who gets in the way of their pursuit of self-esteem by imposing solutions that make them feel good, is viciously attacked. They cannot help but take disagreement personally, because their solution is all about them, not about the actual problem at hand. .

        If these people were charged with sending a man to the moon, they’d spend all their time and budget on designing snazzy space suits and recruiting diverse astronauts to wear them. The rocket would never get off the ground, and they would blame their failure on lack of funding by a hateful, racist etc blah blah blah establishment — even while they themselves are indisputably the real establishment.

        It’s the substitution of feel-good for achievement. It’s consciously taught now in schools.

      • Granted, but I’m thinking of people such as Zuckerberg and Dorsey, who have actually built things — big, amazing things. Do they really need to exercise the power of censorship in order to feel good about themselves? Is an animus against America-First populism a prerequisite for self-esteem? Why?

        And couldn’t Pope Francis feel good about himself by being the chief apologist for Christian thought in the modern world (which is his job, after all), instead of apologizing for Christianity as something that needs to accommodate the modern world, by steadily dismantling or distorting its traditions and understandings?
        Does he revel in being thought of as an apostate and heretic by half of the Catholic world?

        You get the idea. There’s something very perverse among the Masters of the Universe.

  6. Intelligent people can discuss, all day long, about the “thinking of the Left” and you, Glenn, say, “There’s no master plan.” We do not agree that the libs/lefties/”progressives”/moral relativists/subjectivists/humanists/secularists/Democrat jackasses have no master plan: At the most fundamental level, even if those libs/lefties/”progressives”/etc know it or not can reach there, consciously or otherwise, they are slaves obeying the “master plan” of Satan, and before you click off thinking that this post is from an uninformed, mystic, Jim Jones replacement, romantic, lost, ideologue (and I might be some of those things, but not uninformed), please think about the most fundamental consideration, THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL CONSIDERATION, for evaluating the genuinely proven, most effective and most successful way of life that the history of man has ever experienced, and that is, simply, natural law. And that is a phenomenon that has resulted in, maybe, too much superficial success.

    Before readers go any further we beg you to study the perversions being now promoted by libs/lefties/”progessives”/moral relativists/subjectivists/humanists/secularists. These perversions, amazingly, are available on line.

    Yes, most of the libs could be of the knee-jerk variety, and they simply react, because of therir heritage or ignorance or whatever, and simply cannot philosophize about the direction to which their cupidity want to take humanity. But there might be a few who could be inspired to rethink their lib/lefty/”progressive”/ etc stupidity. Shall we try to inform?

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