It needs to be said. American political journalists are acting like cowards.
So obsessed with commercial success they are failing to do one of the most important roles they play. To uphold democracy and report honestly on the situation at hand. Yet, when it comes to a Trump presidency, they are working overtime to make the man who candidly described sexually assaulting women and who has toyed with the naziesque idea of registering Muslims, as normal and subdued as the new president-elect.
Instead of holding the incoming president accountable for his words and actions, they are allowing him to set the narrative. While he picks white nationalist advisors for his cabinet we are told that the president who ran a campaign of racism and bigotry seems “calm.”
This is because, as Jacobin writer Victor Pickard writes that the news media’s “drive for profit helps explain news media’s fixation on Trump’s campaign over his competitors’, especially in the primary season’s early days.”
That’s apparent because cable news organizations are expected to bring in $2.5 billion from this election cycle.
Trump’s campaign paid off for these news organizations. In return, reports suggest that these outlets gave Trump nearly $2 billion in free advertising. This is because on average he received 325 minutes of airtime each night, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 121 minutes.The media was infatuated with what he would do next. They insisted on carrying many of his stump speeches live because they never knew what could happen next and they had to be first.
The media created the environment for a monster like Trump to exist, and now, they are trying to sell the American people on their blunder. They sold the American people on bigotry, sexism, and racism, and now they need to make it seem normal.
The media needs to take a stand and report on the facts. There is no need to try and put lipstick on this pig. Report on what is happening, what is being said, and more importantly, hold Trump and his administration accountable for the hate crimes happening all across the country in his name, hate crimes for which he is silent about. He said “stop it” once on 60 Minutes and journalists are acting like he has done all he can.
When hate-filled speech leads to hate crimes we cannot act surprised and pretend that the speeches played no role. Yet this is what we are seeing every day across the mainstream media.
The American people should not stand for this cowardice and must demand the media do their jobs. There is no normalizing this presidency and any media outlets that tries to should be shamed and then forgotten. American democracy is not about selling ad-space, it’s about reporting. Don’t let these outlets forget it.