The Powerless Media

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Jack Shafer at Politico is telling us to be OK with what happened at CNN last night. It was CNN trying to be more of a news network instead of just another opinion / editorial service:

“…having signaled that it wants to restore news to primacy, an interview with Trump was a good idea…”

Except… Trump lying is not news. It’s propaganda, pure and simple. And CNN is now as complicit as FOX in helping to spread it.

“But the job of journalism is to confront the world and its actors as they are, not shrink away from them in fright because covering them might benefit them.”

That wasn’t “confrontation”. Confrontation is stating, flat out “you’re lying, and I’m not going to let you continue if you’re not going to be truthful”. Or something. Collins got rolled like everyone else because the play by the rules, and Trump doesn’t. It’s like the Greek armies facing the Romans. The Greeks would line up in the standard phalanx formation, while the Romans implemented a new strategy, the maniple formation, which neutralized the phalanx. Instead of changing and adapting, the Greeks continued to rely on the phalanx. Since 2015, it’s been quite obvious that the press, or more specifically, broadcast journalists, when using the typical interview standard set long ago, and most effectively used by Edward R Murrow, simply doesn’t work. Shafer even admits:

“Nobody practiced in the art of the interview has ever been able to stop this lying chatterbox in a live session. As scholar Michael Socolow points out, Chris Wallace, Lesley Stahl and Jonathan Swan successfully tamed him, but all of those Trump interviewers were taped and edited, which neutered his predictable and exuberant filibustering. Plus, those interviews were conducted without an audience. Trump’s CNN town hall, on the other hand, was stocked from stem to stern with cheering acolytes who rewarded his every insult and evasion with laughter and applause. It’s hard to conduct an interview when rotten fruit and vegetables are being hurled onto the stage”.

So why do it???

We are in a war for not just truth, but accuracy. Every time Trump is allowed to go on air, those things are destroyed under the weight of his cult status. It doesn’t matter if the ratings were lower than his normal FOX ”News” interviews. It doesn’t matter if Biden’s town hall had higher ratings than this Trump one. Trump is a lying sick sociopath once again running for office. But he’s dynamic, and once again has played the press like fools. And worse, CNN didn’t just interview Trump, they went out of the way to fill the Town Hall with Trump cult members, giving him a cheering squad, which is NOT what you do if you’re trying to “restore news to primacy”.

This turned into a campaign rally.

If you don’t think so, look at the propaganda below that I grabbed from the page of a conservative friend.

Sometimes, to quote the movie War Games, the best way to win is not to play.

Ruben Navarrette bait.

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