(Opinion) Many national news media made many mistakes in covering President Trump and Republicans in his first year. Too many mistakes, in fact, to simply write off as honest errors. Over the past few days, numerous editorial writers and contributors at the Washington Examiner have been reflecting on the media failures of 2017, while offering solutions to improve this year’s coverage.
Here’s a quick observation I gathered from these thoughtful media critiques, as well as a suggestion to conservatives which I think, if accepted, will help conservatism prosper in 2018:
The news media is extremely important, and conservatives ought to root for its success for conservatism’s sake.
First, whether conservatives like it or not, CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times have a very wide audience. Many Americans turn to them for news, relying on their editorials and other columns to develop their own opinions. There’s a tendency in conservatism, particularly among Republican politicians, to take this for granted and to assume that these media’s bad or biased coverage is realized by enough people. It’s not, as responses to the recently passed tax reform bill demonstrate.
Overall, the Republican tax reform package is good economic policy, of the sort that many non-conservative politicians used to support, including President Obama. Non-conservative taxpayers would also appreciate what the tax bill does for them, if not for its distorted presentation in the media. I’ve read countless editorials blasting Republicans for raising low and middle-income taxpayers’ liability, an entirely disingenuous analysis of the bill.
Accuracies, mistakes and all, the media and the work they do are highly consequential. The president and others (mostly the president) wish that the Times would die and CNN would go bankrupt, but neither is going away. Rather than rooting for their failure, conservatives ought to implore them to do a better job. It’s their policies at stake.
Conservatives must continue critiquing the news media, but refrain from making it a central political argument in 2018.
Too many conservatives, I think, revel in errors like the one Brian Ross committed over at ABC, because it furthers their argument that the media sucks. Hoping it will help their political case, conservative politicians and pundits often turn to such media failures as fuel.
I do sympathize with the president and his media bashing reflex, considering most of their failures directly relate to him. Although, I don’t think the president sympathizes with himself. From what I can tell, he welcomes the fight, either because he likes conflict, expects it will help him politically, or both.
If President Trump’s meager approval rating improves this year, it will be because more voters embrace his policies, not because they realize the media has been after him all along.
Media fail, sometimes simply because its people make mistakes, but more often because so many have biases which cause them to publish pre-determined conclusions, or to conclude things that shouldn’t be concluded at all. They also get a lot of things right. Conservatives must recognize failures and address them, while maintaining a measured approach because media coverage isn’t zero-sum.
Jeremy Beaman is a Yellowhammer News contributor in his final year at the University of Mobile. He also writes for The College Fix.
Follow him on Twitter @jeremywbeaman and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.