Klavan On The Culture

Reform the Mainstream News Media

Remember when Marco Rubio drank some water while giving the Republican response to the president’s 2013 State of the Union address? Remember how CNN ran a picture of the Florida Senator taking his sip with a chyron reading: “Career Ender”? “So can a drink of water make or break a political career?” Wolf Blitzer asked. Politico ran more than one column discussing Rubio’s “water thing.” Most other major (read Democrat) news venues covered it too.

So my question is this, if a drink of water threatens the career of a Republican, what happens when a former Democrat congressman makes sexual Twitter advances to a minor causing the FBI to seize the computer of his wife, the Democrat presidential candidate’s aide and a woman with ties to radical Islam, and the said computer is found to contain emails that potentially exposed classified information to our enemies so that said candidate could hide her likely influence peddling? Worse than a sip of water? Better? I’m asking for a friend.

Klavan’s Second Rule of Mainstream Journalism has been on full display this weekend: “When a scandal breaks on the right, what’s important is the content of the scandal. When a scandal breaks on the left, what’s important is where the information came from and how it was obtained.”

So many in the press are struggling to make this story about FBI Director James Comey and whether he should have informed Congress of the bureau’s find. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has accused Comey of being a hack trying to influence an election instead of doing his job (insert takes-one-to-know-one joke here). A CNN legal analyst called for the director’s resignation. As HotAir points out, this is after the media rushed to Comey’s defense when he simultaneously announced grounds for Hillary Clinton’s indictment and refused to indict.

In this year’s Manhattan Institute Wriston Lecture, excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, historian Andrew Roberts made a suggestion I’ve been touting privately for years. The Republican Party needs to reform its presidential nominating system to limit the number of candidates who qualify to debate:

The percentages of support that guarantee a candidate a place in the debate should be drastically higher so that you don’t have a dozen or more people taking part and thus sometimes given no more than 30 seconds in which to try to sum up complex issues, leading to a moronically low standard of debate.

But as Mr. Roberts also notes, even debates with fewer candidates don’t do much good if they are run by media that are entirely in the tank for the Democrats:

It is ludicrous to have debates controlled by TV channels that want the GOP to split and the Democrats to win, and which frame their questions accordingly.

I’m forever being told that even though nearly all journalists at the major TV networks are Democrats, they can still be objective. This is untrue. A Democrat journalist can be objective if he works with Republican journalists. When people are sequestered among others of shared biases — as they are at ABC, CBS, and NBC — confirmation bias and groupthink take over. Their biases radicalize and they begin to mistake their opinions for the facts. This has happened at the networks, not to mention the New York Times and other major information outlets including YouTube and Facebook.

It’s time for the public to loudly and continuously demand the reform of at least the networks. They may be parts of private corporations but the airwaves on which they broadcast belong to the public and are licensed by the government. Bringing public pressure to bear on them is no violation of the First Amendment and would in fact do much to protect it from its left-wing enemies, including Hillary Clinton.

That such reform is necessary is beyond question. ABC’s chief journalist is Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos. CBS’s pro-Obama bias forced their best investigative reporter to quit. Until recently, NBC’s top anchor was a perennial liar who once bowed to Obama as if he were a king. Brian Williams’ replacements are no less biased toward the left.

These outlets not only support Democrat candidates, they support a left-wing agenda, elevating and legitimizing minority and sexual grievance politics often based on misinformation. Their mistreatment and misrepresentation of right-wing movements like the Tea Party, meanwhile, have been unforgivably unfair.

The point is not to tell these outlets what to report, but to pressure them to hire a balanced staff run by balanced managers to do the reporting. Part — much — of the public’s anger in these times is, I believe, related to the fact that they are continually being lied to by the people who are paid to inform them. The media are damaging our democracy with their one-sidedness. A serious movement to reform them is well overdue.