One of traditional journalism’s basic tenets was the need to maintain a distanced objectivity (or, at the very least, the appearance of it). Dan Rather’s 1974 confrontation with President Richard Nixon made a lasting impression precisely because it was a stark departure from the norm. But the Pew study found that, in the age of Trump, journalists increasingly consider themselves at liberty to directly refute the president or representatives of his administration. This happened in 10 percent of the stories studied.The facade of objectivity has been known to be fake for a long time, since Nixon I would say, but in the recent past, they don't even make a decent attempt to put a fresh coat of paint on it, and it's become increasingly shabby, and upper levels are starting to crumble.
And, something about Trump has made the news media strikingly self-referential. Pew identified nine major types of sources relied on for coverage of Trump’s first 100 days. (The Pew researchers did not cite how often anonymous sources were used, which might have been an interesting bit of data.) The most commonly cited source, understandably, was the president or someone from his administration. But the next most commonly used source—employed 35 percent of the time —was not members of Congress, or experts, or everyday citizens, but “another news organization or journalist.”So, basically, if one journolist says something clever (or at least thought to be clever) and negative about Trump (and in this era of snark, when is that not true), other journolists pick it up and and recirculate it, this time as a fact.
“One of the things that was interesting to see was that, while the topic of the news media was not a huge percentage of overall coverage, journalists were both the second most common source type as well as the second most common ‘trigger’ of the stories,” says Amy Mitchell, director of the Pew Research Center.*It's become a smug circle jerk, and each day's headline about Trump is the climax.
That might go some way in explaining the elite media feedback loop.
Pop Goes the Liberal Media Bubble
The conversations that journalists in New York and D.C. and L.A. trigger among themselves have very little to do with the conversations between most people, in most places, at most times. The conversations are self-referential, self-sustaining, self-validating, and selfishly concern one topic: the president of the United States. That may be why his critics in the press are so fixated on his Tweets. Twitter is his way of talking back. It's how he pops the liberal media bubble.
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