The Corner

Politics & Policy

Mainstream Media Fail to Build Trust

On the Sarah Jeong controversy, I agree with Jonah that “the constant hunt for scalps will leave everyone bald and bloodied.” The outrage cycle needs to end, and it would help if organizations did not have a history of throwing their employees to the wolves whenever a baying mob demands it.

Nevertheless, Jeong’s hiring does illustrate the mainstream media’s tendency to double-down on its parochialism. At a time of seemingly unprecedented skepticism toward the media, particularly from President Trump’s white working-class base, the Times brings in a young Ivy Leaguer committed to anti-white identity politics. That’s not exactly the best outreach effort.

One of the strongest correlates of a nation’s well-being is trust in institutions such as schools, churches, governments, and — yes — the media. Sadly, Americans have ample reason to distrust the news they read. The media whip up hysteria, regurgitate misleading factoids, disguise opinions as “fact checks,” build self-serving narratives, declare false consensus, generate clickbait headlines, neglect basic research, enforce double standards, manipulate terminology, ooze sanctimony, destroy reputations . . . need I go on? Not shockingly, all of this misbehavior by journalists seems aimed at validating their own worldview.

If the media really wanted to restore its credibility with middle America, journalists would make an effort to broaden their perspective, to give us some reason to think they’ve reduced their bias. Instead, it’s just more of the same.


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