Media Divide

If we all, in the United States of America, got the same information, and that information was presented fully, factually and fairly, our country would be much more united. However, that is not what we get.  A recent Gallup poll showed that 84% of Americans blame the media for how divided the country is. 

 A plurality of people (Group 1) who get their news and information from television (about 22 million nightly ), watch the once common, reliable and accepted way to get the news, from television channels ABC, NBC, and CBS.  Those outlets are now left leaning (Pew Research, allsides.com, media bias chart) and those watching, unsuspectingly, get a restricted version of news and information from these main stream outlets.  Along with the news comes a thinly veiled, subtly biased, commentary on that information from anchors and guests designed to promulgate a narrative that demeans President Trump and is meant to undermine the Trump Administration. The echo chamber parody of headline assertions among the newscasts that time and time again occurs, shows that there is a match between those network headline words assertions and the talking points of the Democratic Party leadership in contemporaneous interviews. This message commonality, which I have seen portrayed many times over the last 4 years, reveals an apparently well-coordinated effort among these networks and between them and the democratic party. The apparent ultimate aim of these skewed news presentations is: (1) to harm the Trump Presidency and (2) to help the Democrats politically. That has been the pattern for the last 4 years. The news and information presented is stripped and honed to foster anti-President Trump narrative.  Not only is about 90% of the political / national / international news and information that is presented related to the present administration relayed with a negative connotation, typically and most importantly, news, information and events that would or could give a favorable view of this President is not presented. The lack of presentation of favorable news, of what has been accomplished, is the most distressing and most impactful aspect of the news bias. Listeners who only hear troubling news and blame for it put on President Trump will certainly be disposed to think poorly of the job the president is doing.

The instances that positive information concerning what has been accomplished under the Trump Administration has not been relayed to the listener over the last 4 years are numerous. Most recently the President was nominated for a Noble Peace Prize for the work he and his administration did in getting the Middle East accord between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. And a few days later he received a second Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the economic normalization agreement reached between Kosovo and Serbia. Neither of these nominations were even mentioned on the nightly news on ABC, NBC, and CBS.  Another example was that Donald Trump’s Patriotic 2020 Independence Day speech, on the eve of July 4th at Mt. Rushmore, was not carried by any of the major TV networks. But the next day the network anchors and the anti-Trump newspapers ubiquitously called this fundamentally patriotic speech, which showed respect for America, recognized a diverse array of America’s legends and honored each of the Presidents on Mt. Rushmore, as “divisive”. So, the vast majority of the US population did not get to hear the speech and only heard the headline “Trump makes divisive speech at Mt. Rushmore” which was not in the least the case, unless you consider celebrating your country and a very broad, diverse cross section of its outstanding citizens on July 4 as divisive.  Of course, what was truly divisive and intentionally so was that following day’s mainstream media news coverage.

The persistent negative portrayal of President Trump by ABC, CBS and NBC and the lack of or minimal presentation of the numerous positive results that his administration has achieved for the country economically and in foreign relations (or the false characterization of them) stands in stark contrast to the nature of coverage received by President Obama on these networks. For 8 years, the fawning, flattering, reverential coverage given to all that President Obama said and did, closely resembled the concept we have of “State Run News”. The contrast could not have been more distinct nor the evidence of motive and bias more evident.

The other participants in the “Group 1” United States television news audience are those who watch CNN and MSNBC (a combined total of about 2.5 million people nightly).  These blatantly hate-trump, left, and far left outlets respectively feature anchors who continually, viciously demean, ridicule, mock and deride the President. They cast any news related to President Trump in the most unfavorable light possible, routinely present anti-Trump conjectures from unverified sources as truth and do not present favorable information or any good news that might give some credit to the President.  Their vitriol, rudeness and disrespect toward this president is disgraceful in the extreme. Total rejecting the 2016 Democrat campaign slogans of “Love Trumps Hate” and “When They Go Low We Go High” these two cable news networks have non-stop slandered the President and fed and fostered hate of President Trump. Like some in the democratic party leadership in Congress, (e.g. Adam Schiff) these outlets ascribe to the current “say anything” , the “make any outlandish claim you wish”, and the “any means to the desired end” philosophy of journalism regardless of the truth and do not apologize or correct their claims when evidence to the contrary is exposed. That way they keep people believing the deception that they previously conveyed. A couple of good examples of this perpetuation of a manufactured claim are (1) the mischaracterization of 16 year old Nick Sandman’s benign, passive response to March disruptors at the March for Life and (2) the mischaracterization of Donald Trumps “very fine people” statement at Charlottesville (described subsequently).

By contrast, a second smaller, “Group 2” of television news viewers (about 3 million) get another, completely different version and perspective on the news and information from the conservative leaning outlet, Fox news. Fox’s evening news programs (Special Report with Brett Baier and The Story with Martha MacCallum) do an excellent job of bringing on and interviewing representatives from both parties and experts on either side of the issues.  I find that Fox actually is indeed “fair and balanced” and Fox covers all the relevant news on an issue including that which the news the other media apparently does not want us to hear or see. Like, for example the Middle East accord presentations and signings that were brokered by Jared Kushner and the Trump administration, Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize nominations, the massive crowds at Trump’s rallies and his speeches. 

Both Group1 and Group 2 listeners generally accept what is presented as the truth. ********* No wonder the country is divided.   ********* People in our country hear, believe and defend two different realities. Group 1 can’t see how Group 2 (Trump following deplorables) can possibly think the way they do. Group 2 people see Group 1 people as being manipulated and kept uninformed to help Democrats, to stoke hate and to generate chaos and keep anti-Trump fervor going. The polls show that 70 % of Fox news watchers believe Trump has done an excellent job for our country with respect to the Corona virus. While overall only 23% of Americans considered he did an excellent job. (Of course the other TV outlets convey that Trump has done a terrible job with managing the Corona virus.

News and information transmission is not just obtained from a single television outlet. Some people hear both versions of the news, some get neither, some only hear or see the “negative headlines” and many get their information from social media or word of mouth. Buta good share of these other various news dispersal pipelines likely have television news as their original source.  

Once one has listened to, watched and gained a fuller understanding of all the information concerning any issue or situation and knows the actual facts, it is easy to see the duplicity and intentional bias in the presentation of the scripted / selective news by “mainstream and cable news” outlet anchors. One recent example is the persistent claim/presentation by the mainstream media over the recent weeks / months of rioting, arson, looting, wanton destruction of businesses and injury to hundreds of police officers in several major US cites.  For months the ongoing violence and destruction was labeled and presented as “mostly peaceful protests” by the news media and the democratic leadership. The Republican Party leaders and Fox news were derided and accused of presenting a false narrative. The real facts of the situation were kept from the public.  Then just after the democratic convention, during which the riots and disruption was not mentioned at all, the news media acknowledged the rioting and blamed it on the Trump administration. However, what is most disconcerting and reprehensible is that, unlike most or many of their listeners, the anchors and the “journalists” feeding them information, certainly know all the news and background information and what the truth really is (like for example they knew that there was no Russia collusion by Trump’s team) but they become actors each day, continuing to convey known false narratives and keeping the full truth that they know from their viewers. These anchors are actors, especially those on CNN and MSNBC. They are daily putting on a show of outrage, and condemnation of the President or the Republicans or Fox news, all the while knowing the full story but only presenting a portion of the news and putting forward false narratives that they are instructed to convey each day.

This deception and manipulation of the people of our country in news and information presentation has gone on for almost four years in an effort to damage Donald Trump and the Trump presidency. One of the most damaging, most persistent and most egregious deceptions (because the truth was known right away and Trump’s actual words were recorded), was the deceptions that President Trump called “the white supremacists/Neo-Nazis’ marching at Charlottesville “very fine people” and the companion claim that “Trump has never condemned the white supremacists who support him”. The “very fine people on both sides” was actually a reference to those debating the retention of a Robert E. Lee statue and the condemnation of the white supremacists came in his remarks shortly after.  These incorrect characterizations of what he said have been used to condemn and accuse Trump hundreds of times by celebrities, by the Democratic Congressional leadership and Democratic presidential candidates, and by media anchors. And they knew it all to be false!!  Inexplicably host Chris Wallace, who should of know better, brought up the accusation in the September 29th debate and Joe Biden in a remarkable bit of theatre and drama had Trump saying it as well. (and he was not challenged)  The article by Steven Cortes on March 21, 2019 in the centrist outlet Real Clear Politics, copied below (Trumps words from the transcript in bold) provides a record of what was actually said:

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Trump Didn’t Call Neo-Nazis ‘Fine People.’ Here’s Proof.

COMMENTARY     By Steve Cortes      March 21, 2019

News anchors and pundits have repeated lies about Donald Trump and race so often that some of these narratives seem true, even to Americans who embrace the fruits of the president’s policies.  The most pernicious and pervasive of these lies is the “Charlottesville Hoax,” the fake-news fabrication that he described the neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 as “fine people.”  Just last week I exposed this falsehood, yet again, when CNN contributor Keith Boykin falsely stated, “When violent people were marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, the president said they were ‘very fine people.’” When I objected and detailed that Trump’s “fine people on both sides” observation clearly related to those on both sides of the Confederate monument debate, and specifically excluded the violent supremacists, anchor Erin Burnett interjected, “He [Trump] didn’t say it was on the monument debate at all.  No, they didn’t even try to use that defense. It’s a good one, but no one’s even tried to use it, so you just used it now.” 

My colleagues seem prepared to dispute our own network’s correct contemporaneous reporting and the very clear transcripts of the now-infamous Trump Tower presser on the tragic events of Charlottesville.  Here are the unambiguous actual words of President Trump:   “Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group.  But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.  You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did.  You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”                                                  After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”          As a man charged with publicly explaining Donald Trump’s often meandering and colloquial vernacular in highly adversarial TV settings, I appreciate more than most the sometimes-murky nature of his off-script commentaries.  But these Charlottesville statements leave little room for interpretation.  For any honest person, therefore, to conclude that the president somehow praised the very people he actually derided, reveals a blatant and blinding level of bias.  Nonetheless, countless so-called journalists have furthered this damnable lie.  For example, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace responded that Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists.”  Her NBC colleague Chuck Todd claimed Trump “gave me the wrong kind of chills. Honestly, I’m a bit shaken from what I just heard.” Not to be outdone, print also got in on the act, with the New York Times spewing the blatantly propagandist headline: “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost.” How could the Times possibly reconcile that Trump, who admonished that the supremacists should be “condemned totally” somehow also delivered an “unequivocal boost” to those very same miscreants? But like many fake news narratives, repetition has helped cement this one into a reasonably plausible storyline for all but the most skeptical consumers of news.  In fact, over the weekend, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on why Trump has not given a speech “condemning … white supremacist bigotry.”  Well, Chris, he has, and more than once.  The most powerful version was from the White House following Charlottesville and the heartbreaking death of Heather Heyer.  President Trump’s succinct and direct words: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

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In summary, a snapshot estimate of primetime TV news listeners provides a glimpse on the size of the two groups receiving alternative versions of the news. About 22 million people watch liberal leaning ABC, CBS, and NBC and 2.5 million follow the blatantly hate filled rhetoric against our country’s President from CNN and MSNBC.  About 3 million people get news and opinion from the much-maligned conservative leaning Fox. A 24.5 million to 3 million advantage. Despite that advantage the more complete picture of reality as presented on Fox must help truth and good news get out. Trump’s crowds and the nearly even split in polling in the battle ground states show that to be the case.

For many years, being busy with work and family and only catching a bit of the headline news on TV and in the Denver Post I now realize I was minimally informed, (I primarily looked at the sports pages).  My awakening came when I heard President Obama’s comment, in March of 2012, on the challenge being made to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act , as reported on mainstream TV channels.  His comment which the anchor slavishly touted was: “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.  Claiming, in effect, that the Supreme Court had never overturned any laws passed by Congress, which was clearly wrong.  I knew that statement not to be true, (the first instance was as early as 1803 in Marbury vs Madison), so I went to the Denver Post the next day to see what had been said about this Obama misstatement. Nothing!  Not a word, (even though by then his error had been exposed).  What was in the Denver Post editorial page, was an extensive article that excoriated Speaker of the House, Republican Paul Ryan’s proposed budget to cut Federal spending – accusing him of wanting to “throw granny under the bus”.    

I realized then, and have been observing it ever since, that the left leaning outlets only give you the news that they want you to hear. That is why we are divided, more than half the people watching Television newscasts (and subsequently relay to their friends and family) only part of the news and only part of the stories they do get to here. Further the part they get is skewed to enhance one political party, the Democrats.   

So, it became clear to me after watching Fox news and comparing their coverage to what was being broadcast on mainstream TV and especially on CNN and MSNBC , that if anyone wants to find out what and how much they have been missing they need to watch Fox news. As their slogan says: We Report You Decide. I am quite sure if our country’s citizens all had the benefit of fair, honest, unbiased and complete reporting of the facts of what is going on with respect to every domestic and international issue they would become more knowledgeable and informed about the issues of the day, they would know the truth and the truth would unite the country. 

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