Journalist commits career suicide by stating the obvious


CBS News foreign correspondent and a 60 Minutes regular gets interviewed by a retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland for his podcast (a monster at 3 hours and 40 minutes) and in the process goes off the reservation about the state of the mainstream media:

(2:21:00) LOGAN: You say the media is mostly liberal. Do I agree with that? Does everyone listening to that agree with that? What’s the opposition on that? I agree with you. It’s true. Why? Can I say that with certainty? Well, first of all because I’ve been part of this for all my life. I’m 47 now and I’ve been a journalist since I was 17. And the media everywhere is mostly liberal. Not just in the U.S. But in this country, 85 percent of journalists are registered Democrats. So that’s just a fact, right? No one’s registering Democrats when they are rarely Republican. So the facts are on the side of what you just stated. Most journalists are left or liberal or Democrat or whatever word you want to give it. I always joke about the other 14 percent were too lazy to register and there’s maybe one percent that’s on the right.

That’s a joke, but mainly when you think about it, visually, anyone who’s ever been to Israel and been to the Wailing Wall has seen that the women have this tiny little spot in front of the wall to pray, and the rest of the wall is for the men. To me, that’s a great representation of the American media, is that in this tiny little corner where the women pray you’ve got Breitbart and Fox News and a few others, and from there on, you have CBS, ABC, NBC, Huffington Post, Politico, whatever, right? All of them. And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a problem for me. My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life — everything in life is complicated, everything is gray, right? Nothing is black and white. You never have a fight, even the ones where you really think you’re in the right where you are right about everything…

RITLAND: [Fake news] started as a joke. But, Christ, it’s really become that way. Like you said, there’s so many times, especially if it’s from a specific news outlet, specifically MSNBC, you can rest the fuck assured that they are going to cherry pick the most significantly negative parts of the story.

LOGAN: And people would counter that by saying, “Well, Fox is going to do all the positive stuff.” But this is the problem I have. There’s one Fox.

RITLAND: Yeah. Yeah.

LOGAN: There’s one Fox. And there’s many, many, many more organizations on the left. So, if you say, “Well, if they are lying about this is and this is propaganda,” and whatever. They are pushing their viewpoints. Oh, well. The other side Yes. Both sides do terrible things. Both sides lie. Both sides manipulate. Both sides push their point of view. But the problem is the weight of all of these organizations on one side of the political spectrum. When you turn on your computer or you walk past the TV or you see a newspaper headline in the grocery store, if they are all saying the same thing, the weight of that convinces you that it’s true. You don’t question it because everyone is saying it.

One ideological perspective on everything never leads to an open free diverse tolerant society. The more opinions and views … of everything that you have, the better off we all are. So creating one ideological position on everything throughout your universities, throughout academia, in school and college, in media, and everywhere else, that’s what concerns me. I don’t have to agree with everybody…

LOGAN: I didn’t even notice there was a bias in the media. People would say it to me all the time and I argued passionately and ferociously against that because I really believed when we do it well, and the majority of serious journalists were all trying to do their best to overcome those biases and rely on the facts and good systems. We have a few conventions — because they are not really rules — but you need at least two first-hand sources for something, right? Those things help keep your work to a certain standard. Those standards are out the window. I mean, you read one story or another and hear it and it’s all based on one anonymous administration official, former administration official. That’s not journalism. That’s horseshit. Sorry. That is absolute horse shit.

LOGAN: I do think journalists have to stand up and we have to back each other. And I don’t mean backing someone being rude at a press conference at the White House because, quite frankly, I haven’t seen a lot of that kind of behavior in my lifetime. I never saw someone treat George Bush like that. And I say that to my colleagues and they say, “Well, George Bush never treated us the way this President does.” And I say, “Yeah, but I don’t tell my kids, ‘Oh, that kid’s an asshole, so you can just be an asshole to him.’” Right? I tell my kids, “You have to consistently live to the standards that you have set for yourself.” Even when someone’s an asshole to you, you still have to be the better person and a good person and rise above it and not sink to their level.

That’s how get Trump and that’s how you keep getting Trump. But the media just can’t help themselves. Being members of the sophisticated, well educated, affluent, progressive elite, they see “our crowd” as the natural party of government. When the electorate periodically disagrees, they get resentful; when it disagrees to the unprecedented degree it did in 2016, they go absolutely spare. The extent of barely disguised hatred and contempt for the other side, the sheer relentless tendentiousness is quite staggering, even to us on the right who are quite used to media bias. It has not been this bad since the 19th century when newspapers generally used to be founded as explicit vehicles for a party or a faction; the difference nowadays is, as Logan noted, there is pretty much only one Fox against the rest. There is no Republican “New York Times” the way the old Grey Lady supports the liberal and Democratic side of politics. But the more overwhelming cultural power they have, the angrier the mainstream media gets when that power does not translate into the political power for their friends and ideological soulmates. Failure stings. Clearly we have not been tough enough; we need to redouble our efforts or we’ll end up with more Trump. And that’s how they end up with more Trump.