The media should tell the truth — about themselves.
Last week, in this very space, the subject was the “mainstream media” (I always put that term in quotes) and its now undeniable bias against Republicans and conservatives in general and Donald Trump in particular. As if he had read or seen the piece (I’m certain he did not), former CBS News president Van Gordon Sauter wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that serves as public acknowledgement of what we on the right have been saying for a long time. (Article is behind a paywall.)
It’s an amazing piece coming from a top veteran of the old-line, legacy media. For as long as I have been in the business, and for all of the occasions that I have had to speak to individuals at Sauter’s level – and there have been many – I have never heard such candor. Often when I have confronted top New York media executives with incontrovertible examples of lefty bias, they have acted as if I were accusing them of child molestation. “We are professionals,” they puff up and say. “Our duty is to tell the truth.”
Mr. Sauter’s Wall Street Journal piece is, by contrast, refreshingly honest. Here’s one pull-quote:
News organizations that claim to be neutral have long been creeping leftward, and their loathing of Mr. Trump has accelerated the pace. The news media is catching up with the liberalism of the professoriate, the entertainment industry, upscale magazines and the literary world. Recent arrivals are the late-night TV hosts who have broken the boundaries of what was considered acceptable political humor for networks.”
Giving credit where it’s due, I nevertheless hasten to correct Mr. Sauter as follows. The news organizations to which he refers aren’t ‘creeping,’ they’re lurching leftward. Some more than others, I’ll concede – CNN, and NBC in all of its iterations, are practically tripping over one another in their leftward rush. But in truth all of the old-line outlets, ‘creeping’ left as they might have been in earlier days, are dashing in that direction now.
Nor is the media any longer “catching up” with the liberalism in academe and entertainment, as Mr. Sauter states. Today, in 2020, the media is leading the charge.
Still, Mr. Sauter, as a former top industry insider, is to be commended for at last telling the truth – or at the very least broaching the truth. It’s time for the old-line media to end their delusional self-righteousness and Sauter opens the door to that long overdue introspection.
He goes on to say that the only sensible thing for the media to do now is just admit to the bias and be proud of it. A sudden reversion to more balanced journalism won’t happen, wouldn’t be trusted anyway and would alienate the very audience from which the ‘mainstream media’ is currently profiting. The media doesn’t much care that we here in flyover country don’t like them or trust them anymore. They’re happy doing what they’re doing.
Ultimately, says Sauter, “The media finds the ‘deplorables’ deplorable.”
As I say, at last the truth.