*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It is probably the case that most Americans have either heard about or witnessed the meaning of the idiom “too little, too late.” Fundamentally it means that whatever was finally implemented to solve a problem, whether assistance, money, or information, there was not enough of it and it was given too late to be of any use whatsoever. That idiom applies directly to the media’s failure to do its job over the past 15 years in general, and the throughout the recent presidential campaign in particular, and when some finally did their jobs, it was far too little and much too late. Subsequently, America is now heading into dark times with a know-nothing heading to the White House and a national media that is likely more fearful than ever of doing its job.
Yesterday afternoon Jason Easley reported that Megyn Kelly confirmed the media was “secretly” in the bag for Trump, and it was not so much a revelation but a confirmation of despicable actions by the media that any half-wit alive already knew. Of course, one expected conservative media, basically most mainstream media, to give Trump plenty of free exposure based on their 25-year hatred of Hillary Clinton, and for the entertainment (ratings) value to their audience. However, as much as the media was pimping Trump’s candidacy, no matter the reason, there was an effort by some media outlets to start doing their jobs even though it was too little and too late at five-and-a-half weeks before election day.
Mainstream media has been lax in its job since shortly after the terror attacks on 9/11 when questioning the Bush administration, or the veracity of its statements, or the insanity of going to war became tantamount to high treason and an immediate accusation of not supporting the troops. Even those of us who had friends and immediate family members serving in Bush’s wars were accused of not supporting “our” soldiers and being traitors to America for daring to question, orally or in print, the veracity of Bush’s reason(s) for invading Iraq.
That same fear carried over throughout the Obama Administration when Republicans could lie about any and everything with tacit approval from mainstream media. Then, enter a pathological liar like Trump who was given free rein to lie hourly without ever being called out for lying, although some outlets did use silly euphemisms instead of calling a lie what it is; a lie. However, something happened five-and-a-half weeks before election day when the New York Times actually felt a need to inform its readers that going forward, it would start doing its due diligence and call out Trump’s lies for what they really were; dirty lies.
At about the same time the NYT announced it was going to start doing its journalistic duty, Nobel Laureate, renowned economist, and NYT columnist Paul Krugman lambasted mainstream media for not doing its job and demanded they start calling out Trump’s lies for the good of the American people; the people Mr. Krugman and any half-assed journalist knew were not being informed to make intelligent voting decisions. Curiously, a couple of days prior to the election, the NYT published an editorial opinion about how “this election” obliterated [journalistic] euphemisms;” but they didn’t say it was too little, too late.
One would be remiss not to note the liberal media’s complicity in helping elect a fascist as president. Unlike during the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, there was very little sense of urgency being promoted by liberal media. In any given day one could find at least ten different stories on ten different websites proclaiming the election was already settled, this and that red state was turning blue, or that Donald Trump had effectively decimated the GOP as a viable political party for at least the next decade; if not permanently. Why would any Democrat feel compelled to vote when the election was already settled months before actual election day? Obviously, many Democrats felt no such compulsion or Trump would not be heading to the White House and America would not be heading towards disaster.
All the while Democrats were celebrating a monumental landslide victory a couple of months prior to election day, over at Nate Silver’s site he was warning Democrats that they were fooling themselves if they believed polling showing Clinton winning a historical mandate. Only one small site, and possibly Rachel Maddow, reported Nate Silver’s warning that far too many poll respondents were lying about supporting Trump because they were embarrassed to admit supporting a racist and misogynist, but were going to tick the box next to his name in the privacy of the voting booth. The results of the election speak to the veracity of Mr. Silver’s warning; particularly since half of women voters claiming to be appalled at Trump’s misogyny and sexual predation instead opted to choose him over Hillary Clinton.
There is some possible good news about the media, but it is dependent on journalists not being afraid of a Trump lawsuit for “libel.” For the record, libel is the written or broadcast form of defamation which is purposely publishing a false statement to damage a person’s reputation or character. Donald Trump was guilty of slander against Hillary Clinton throughout the presidential campaign because he orally used false statements to defame Mrs. Clinton’s character, but when he does it is “just good politics.” Reporting Trump’s lies, or impending lawsuits, is in no universe considered libel; it is reporting the truth.
The only way a person, newspaper, magazine of political organization is open to a legal action for libel is if the “wronged” person can prove the statement about them was false. Reporting the truth about Donald Trump’s propensity to lie was not libel, it was the truth. Obviously, only the New York Times and Newsweek were aware of libel laws because they were basically the only two media entities willing to publish the truth about Trump without fear of legal action; even though it was five weeks before the election. And as an aside, one might add that Donald J. Trump is aware of libel laws or he would have sued many news outlets; it is why he threatened to change libel laws.
Maybe because the media was incompetent over the past fifteen years, or possibly because journalists know they can no longer allow a con man to proceed unchallenged, but CJR published a piece with 8 steps journalists must take before Trump enters the White House. One hopes the media, all media, decides to heed CJR and Paul Krugman’s counsel to start doing its job and stop either pandering to conservative lies or covering over the impending disaster now that Republicans literally own all three branches of government.
The news media really has a very simple job; report the truth, even if it is reporting the truth that a presidential candidate is lying. If the media had at least reported every lie Donald Trump told during the campaign, it is possible that he would not be going to the White House with the intent of abridging free speech and journalistic freedom. Sadly, even if the media does do its job between now and Trump’s inauguration, or for the next four years, it almost certainly is too little, too late; but that is no excuse for not trying.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.