Yesterday we discussed the personal attacks by CNN analysts on spokesmen for the Republican National Convention, including a fake attack on former US Ambassador Nikki Haley. The concern is the increasingly personal attacks against anyone who appears to oppose a narrative in the media. The sticking to an act was evident in a much derided graphic from last night in which Omar Jimenez, correspondent for the CNN National Correspondent, reported live from Kenosha, Wisconsin, with a raging fire in the background about a Chyron reading: “Fiery, but most peaceful protests after the police SHOOT "Not to become" all outsiders ", but to claim that these protests are" fiery (but) peaceful "seems a bit oxymoronic.
In particular, CNN did not add that the protests were all "looting" or "attacking" or "shooting" as well as "fiery".
CNN was also criticized this week when a graphic initially and accurately said, "8 PM CURFEW ORDERED AFTER HUGE PROTESTES ABOUT POLICE FILES OF UNKNOWN BLACK MEN IN WISCONSIN." A few seconds later the message was removed and replaced without the word "violent".
It's not just CNN. We previously discussed how an NBC reporter shouldn't say "rioters" as opposed to "protesters".
I worked as a columnist or commentator for the media for thirty years. I have never seen more consistent oblique reporting than in the past four years, especially when drafting anti-government stories. Recognizing violence or civil unrest is seen by some as undermining the basis for the protests or in support of criticism of Trump's handling of violence by big cities.
Most of us agree that the vast majority of protesters are peaceful (including in Kenosha) and that there are legitimate and important social justice issues that need to be addressed. However, over the past three years we've seen open endorsement or bias in reporting. The objection is directed at those anchors and reporters who routinely frame news for further narration. For those of us who value our journalistic traditions of neutrality and independence, it is difficult to watch large news organizations succumb to pressures to block dissenting views or reports.
That problem was most evident this week when CNN's Don Lemon (who has been repeatedly criticized for vehement anti-Trump rhetoric) stated that the riots must stop because they are starting to work for Trump and are "showing up" in polls.
This follows a long effort to downplay the violence and looting across the country. Indeed, at a violent protest hearing (which I witnessed), Democratic senators insisted that the violence in Portland was due to the presence of federal officials and that the violence would abate immediately after they withdrew. Witnesses indicated that the night before the riot, police in Portland had continued unabated violence. It still goes on.
The fact is, there is significant violence, including arson and looting during protests. It shouldn't address the underlying causes or label all demonstrators as violent. That is the point of neutral reporting. You can acknowledge and cover the violence while covering the peaceful protests. Then you don't have to adopt such absurd descriptions as "fiery (but) peaceful" to get the news instead of covering it.
On Tuesday, CNN similarly raised its eyebrows with another graphic that originally read, "8:00 PM CURFEW ORDERED AFTER HUGE PROTESTES ABOUT POLICE SHOTS OF UNKNOWN BLACK MEN IN WISCONSIN," but the message was removed and about 5 seconds later without that Replaced word "violent". ”
There are clearly those who also design such stories to match the narratives on the right.
Over at Fox, Tucker Carlson is attacked for testifying that two people in Kenosha can explain the shooter by the failure of local authorities: “We know why it all happened, however. Kenosha has fallen into anarchy because the city authorities abandoned it. “The shooter has been charged and appears to have appeared at the protests with a long rifle.
According to various surveys, many in the public do not know where to turn left or right for unbiased reporting. Even if the majority of citizens recognize the importance of the media to our system, they believe that the media is actively misrepresenting the facts. About half consider the media to be biased.
On the other hand, I don't want to do everything “Polly” when I speak of the press.