Pete's Prep: Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018

Chuck Todd says the press has to "start fighting back"

The host of NBC's "Meet the Press" (and former Democratic campaign operative), Chuck Todd, says the media "finds itself on the ropes because it allowed a nearly 50-year  campaign of attacks inspired by the chair of Fox News to go unanswered."

He also blames the deterioration of trust in media on conservative media and pundits who have continually point out the errors in reporting that occur daily.

Todd acknowledges there ARE biases that reporters bring to their work, but that they all work to tamp them down and almost never engage in egregious bias:

The charge of media bias can encompass a great many different problems.  Critics, for example, may be pointing to the way that certain  journalists pay more attention to some issues than to others, or  complaining about the unquestioned assumptions reflected in journalists’  work. These are real issues, and most journalists labor to correct  them. At the other extreme, critics may be accusing journalists of  having deliberately and consciously shaped their reporting to serve some  political end. That sort of overt bias is far rarer. Ironically, the best example of this kind of bias airs regularly in prime time on Fox News.   

But  this was the genius of Roger Ailes. He didn’t sweat the nuance; he  exploited it. Errors of omission and commission, inadvertent inattention  and willful disregard, unconscious assumptions and deliberate  distortions—Ailes collapsed all of it into the single charge of bias.

And  what did we reporters do in the face of this cable onslaught that would  eventually turn into a social-media virus and lead us to the election  of the most fact-free presidential candidate in American history?  Nothing.

We did nothing, because we were trained to say nothing.  Good reporters know that they have to let the chips fall where they may,  and that criticism comes with the gig. We know that the loudest  squealers are usually the ones we’ve exposed doing something  untoward—and that eventually they’ll get theirs.

“Don’t engage” is  a phrase I’ve heard internally at NBC over the decade I’ve been here.  And “Don’t engage” was a mantra that I actually believed in. I embraced  it. On most days, I still want to believe that eventually, the truth  will matter. That eventually, folks will see through the silly  name-calling and recognize good reporting.

In  fact, we not only failed to defend our work in real time from this  onslaught; we helped accelerate the campaign to delegitimize the  American press corps. From unforced errors by high-profile anchors to  the biggest missed news story of the 21st century—the lack of weapons of  mass destruction in Iraq—we have handed critics some lethal ammunition.  There’s not a serious journalist alive who hasn’t had one of those  “gulp” moments when you realize that you really messed up. But serious  journalists correct the record, serious journalistic organizations allow  themselves to be held to account, own up to mistakes, and learn from  them so they can do a better job the next time. I’m fully aware that  some entity will try to tarnish this piece simply because I work at a  news organization that, yes—gasp—has made mistakes. Here’s what  comforts me: The record is there for all to see. The same can’t be said  for the manipulators who aren’t playing by any set of serious  journalistic rules.

But what Todd ignores glances over is actually the core of the problem. Across America - and particularly in the major operations in large markets - newsrooms are made up of predominantly Democratic allies. Heck, Chuck Todd worked for Democratic campaigns before going into media, himself. The list of Democrats who made their way from political activity to a high-profile media gig is long.

He's the fish who doesn't know he's wet. It's the universe he swims in.

That being said, he DOES offer a good path forward:

I’m not advocating for a more activist press in the political sense, but  for a more aggressive one. That means having a lower tolerance for  talking points, and a greater willingness to speak plain truths. It  means not allowing ourselves to be spun, and not giving guests or  sources a platform to spin our readers and viewers, even if that angers  them. Access isn’t journalism’s holy grail—facts are.

It's a good path.

Let's hope Todd and his media colleagues take it when covering Democrats as they do when covering Republicans.

Political stunt gets the desired positive coverage

Maybe Mr. Path's Todd path could start with this story:

The way the story is framed is that the Supreme Court nominee knew who this man was before shunning him.

But it's not the case.

This was a media stunt.

From Kemberlee Kaye at Legal Insurrection:

Fred Guttenberg lost a child during Nikolas Cruz’s shooting rampage  in Parkland, Florida. He was also invited to the hearings as a guest of  Sen. Feinstein. Just before the hearings broke for lunch, Guttenberg  approached Kavanaugh and attempted to shake his hand. Kavanaugh declined  and walked away.

This image of Fred Guttenburg extending a hand was all over the  internet, mainly by media who used the image to draw many conclusions  about Kavanaugh. The internet responded in-kind, proving hand-shake  experts are far more common than you might imagine.

Guttenberg Tweeted days ago that he was going to be at the hearing and, "I hope to play a role in ensuring  that this man does not become the next Supreme Court Justice."


To the objective onlooker, the situation looks very different. After months of hysteria and an entire morning of intentional disruption  (all orchestrated to push lawmakers into prematurely ending hearings),  someone approaches Kavanaugh who turns and walks away when security  intervenes.

Not to mention the fact that you can actually see the security escort hop up as soon as Guttenberg approaches Kavanaugh. 

So far, it seems every major media outlet cannot follow Chuck Todd's advice to "not allow ourselves to be spun, and not give guests or sources a platform to spin our readers and viewers, even if that angers  them."

But, wait! There's more!

"Democratic senators set aside decency, dignity, and common sense to join forces with shrieking protesters."

A Mexican woman with a Polish Jew father and grandparents who fled the Holocaust was smeared by leftist moonbats yesterday as a white supremacist, because of the way she folder her arms at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.

Saying something positive about President Trump's tenure makes you like Hitler now, apparently.

A man drove a truck into a FOX-affiliate TV station in Dallas and ranted about treason.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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