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Newspapers Are Collapsing, And They’re Not Alone

Rod Thomson

The recent merger between Gatehouse Media and Gannett Corporation is another milestone in the rapid decline financially and journalistically of newspapers.

Don’t expect either to change anytime soon. But what is more enlightening is that they are not the only mainstream media outlets struggling. Turns out that in addition to TV news networks, a lot of major online digital outfits are also in contraction mode.

The Gatehouse/Gannett merger creates the largest U.S. media company measured by print circulation along with, in total, perhaps the biggest online news and information outlet, albeit it is diffused. The purchase price, using a combination of cash and stock, is valued at about $1.1 billion — a surprisingly small number for the nation’s largest newspaper conglomerate; like, depressingly small for newspaper investors.

“Our mission is to connect, protect and celebrate our local communities,” said Paul Bascobert, who will lead an operating company called Gannett Media Corp. “Great journalism really is the core of that mission. The question really becomes, what’s the sustainable and exciting business model that powers that mission?”

If part of that model or mission is not fair, objective, non-biased reporting — something that everyone can trust — then this new conglomerate also is doomed. And here’s the problem. It is almost assuredly doomed. All of the newspapers owned by the new company, which will be called Gannett, are staffed at every level of the newsroom by liberals and leftists of some stripe. It is impossible for them to be objective, to be balanced, to be unbiased, because they are incapable of even recognizing they are biased. Best as they can tell, everyone around them agrees on “good” journalism. And they win prizes for it by other liberals and leftists, so it must be great!

And so the shrinking of the mainstream newspaper industry will continue apace until it finds equilibrium at some miniaturized point in the future as a universally accepted partisan media. 

According to a Pew Fact Tank report, mainstream newspapers shed 33,000 newsroom jobs between 2008-20018. Media in general experienced a 25 percent decline in those same 10 years — after rolling declines in previous decades.

While Pew said that digital news publications added 6,100 jobs, some of the biggest operations have been laying off people.

“Among the largest digital-native outlets — those with a monthly average of at least 10 million unique visitors — 14% went through layoffs in 2018 and 20% did the year before. Nearly all the digital-native news outlets that laid off staff in 2017 or 2018 cut more than 10 employees,” the Pew report said.

And then we wrap back around to where we started. Pew found a continuing decline in the number of Americans who get their news from newspapers and television — the heart of the mainstream media.

For newspapers, the results were just embarrassing. They are dead last in consumership, with just 16% of Americans saying that “they get news often” from newspapers.

This isn’t just about the competition from online sources, although that is real. The truth is that even many medium and small metro newspapers are deeply infected with the liberal bias, because virtually every college journalism school has become a dumpster fire of liberal to radical leftist professors. And those are the journalists they are churning out.

However, most of those communities don’t have any comparable digital outlets, such as there are in the largest cities or nationally. That means those newspapers have not lost readers to online competitors. They’ve just lost readers. Millions of one-time newspaper readers have walked away because they know they cannot trust what they are getting.

The tragedy for newspapers is that this has been obvious for a couple of decades. When I worked for a New York Times-owned newspaper in the 1990s, I pushed for a policy of recruiting based on a diversity of worldviews, not skin color and gender, as the only solution for the bias. Of course, that was shot down once it got to New York muckity mucks.

The reality is that newspapers have no intention of changing how they cover news, how they define news or how they present it. Most importantly, they won’t change who their journalists are. They and the rest of the mainstream media are like alcoholics who cannot get past the first step — admitting they have a problem.

And so, they dig their own graves and blame someone else for the hole in the ground.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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The Future Of Media Is Reversion To The Past, And That’s Good

Rod Thomson

For most of the country’s history, we did not have a professional, fair and objective media just reporting the news straight. It was an alien thought to most, and not the purpose. 

The media (newspapers for most of that time) was always partisan, from Adams and Jefferson newspapers in the early years of the infant Republic up to the mid-20th century, newspapers were Democrat, Republican, pro-slavery, anti-slavery and overt about it. In fact, some newspapers today still bear that legacy — most Southern states have numerous newspapers named Democrat, such as the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida. There are dozens that retain this heritage, although many dropped the Democrat name in mergers. 

Only for a short period after WWII, when there were a lot of anomalies that would not last, we tried this new idea of a professional class, college-trained media that would objectively report the truth in the news. I peg the ending of it to very roughly Watergate, but you could argue before that time. Certainly by the time of the Reagan presidency, the pretense was wearing thin,, but you almost had to be in newsrooms (as I was) to realize the depth of the bias. By the 90s, it became much clearer in attempts to smear Republicans and whitewash Democrats and Bill Clinton’s ugly proclivities.

Since that time, the media has been reverting to form as a fully partisan industry. This is acceptable under the First Amendment, and historical, but we for a short time tried the other approach. Now, it never really was unbiased. It turns out Walter Cronkite, that most trusted of all trusted names was a doctrinaire leftist and wielded far, far too much power in influencing the American public against the Vietnam War.

The problem, however, was that all of the media — now known as the mainstream media — was uniformly left-wing. We see it more clearly in hindsight, but it was quite clear then. It’s why the deregulation of the airwaves and dumping of the Fairness Doctrine that opened up the airwaves allowed Rush Limbaugh and then a wave of other conservative voices to thrive where liberal voices could not. Liberals had all the rest of the media. It was conservatives who were hungry for balance. This also explains the launch of Fox News as “Fair and Balanced” and “We Report, You Decide” was and continues to be hugely successful. There was pent-up demand that was not being met by the unbalanced supply of the mainstream media.

Then we had the rise of the internet and another outlet for conservative voices and worldview takes on the news to further balance out the increasing reversion to the norm of the mainstream media. Andrew Breitbart was a pioneer here, but now the space is full of alternatives. We are continuing to transition back to our country’s historic pattern.

But herein lies the problem with this transition. Most Americans have no context for understanding a bias media (thank you again, public schools.) European media has all along been party organs. Everyone in London knows that with the Guardian they are getting the leftwing view and with the Telegraph they are getting the rightwing view. It benefits by being honest about the bias, something desperately lacking in the American media and driving the basement-level trust numbers.

This almost assuredly is the future for America. We can no longer accept the idea that we have a professional, above-the-fray media, and just give over to the more realistic model of party organs and worldview platforms. It’s not clear we ever strayed all that far from it in the first place. 

Pretty much everyone to the right of center (including many moderate Republicans) now realize the mainstream, oldstream media is hopelessly biased and partisan. One good thing that has come from President Trump driving the left off the mental stability cliff is that it has finally and fully unmasked the media partisanship that has existed for decades. Judging by the response I get when talking on this subject, they will not regain our trust. That era has ended. It’s on to the past!

For many, it is hysterically funny that outfits such as the New York Times (building its newsroom around the bogus Trump-Russia narrative, now shifting to bogus Trump racist narrative, according to its executive editor) and the Washington Post (Democracy Dies in Darkness, actually surpassing the Trump’s narcissism) to CNN (once known as the Clinton News Network and now the Democratic Party’s video proselytising arm) all still try to declare they are straight news sources. The evidence to the contrary is so overwhelming it would crash The Revolutionary Act’s servers.

So what will happen is we will increasingly have on one side of the media the Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Breitbart News, the Blaze and other internet outfits as the conservative media, along with Fox News, the New York Post, Washington Examiner, and a few more old mainstream media outlets that are pretty honest in the bias, and then talk radio.

On the other side of the media we will have the Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, Daily Kos, Buzzfeed, Yahoo News, MSNBC (honest about their bias) Media Matters, and weirdly the Daily Show and Colbert (because inconceivably, people on the left claim to get their news there) and a raft of others.

And finally, for an extended period, probably, there will be the New York Times, WaPo, CNN, Bloomberg, NPR and the rest of the entrenched mainstream media around the country, which will also be leftist partisan — but will lie about it.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Journalism Media Race Race relations Truth

Rejecting Every Premise Of The New York Times 1619 Project

Rod Thomson

There are a lot of lies, factual errors, misrepresentations, selective history and general nonsense in the New York Times’ 1619 project that are worthy of rejection.

According to the Times: “The goal of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times that this issue of the magazine inaugurates, is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year. Doing so requires us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”

It is worth rejecting that slavery should be placed “at the very center” of our history. Was it a large and terrible part? Yes. It caused misery culminating in a bloody Civil War and its legacy endured through Jim Crow. But at the very center? Not the religious freedom that brought the first Pilgrims in Massachusetts? Not the idea of an upside down government that dethroned the king and put the people on the top and the government subservient (“for the people and by the people”?) That was a first in history, while slavery was a universal part of world history on every continent and among every race — both enslaving and being enslaved.

On the cover the 1619 Project, overlaying on a full-page black and white picture of a very dark ocean, are these words:

“In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”

Picking 1619 is the worst of “journalistic” cherry-picking. There was no America until 1776. Before that, Florida and other South and Southwestern areas were variously Spanish colonies, or French colonies, and finally most were British colonies — all before the American Revolution created the new nation. Slavery ran most of its life in North America when we were all British subjects, or Spanish and French subjects.

This is crucial, because all of these nations — and all of the rest of the world — were practicing slavery at this time and had from time immemorial. Slavery was part of the Asian world, a large part of the Muslim world, practiced throughout Central and South America even before the first Conquistadors arrived, and importantly for our discussion, rampant through Africa by other Africans.

Most of the slaves transported to America were not captured by white slavers as depicted in the movie Roots. That happened, but the majority were simply bought from Africans who had enslaved nearby tribes they had conquered. It was a facet of Africa like it was the rest of the world, and to call it a uniquely American evil is factually wrong and dishonest. It was — and still is — a worldwide evil.

Slavery in the United States of America ran 87 years from 1776-1863. Or in President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, “Four score and seven years ago…” Just a fact, something journalists used to care about.

A common lie told today by leftists, and it is repeated in the Time’s 1619 Project by several of the writers, is that the “white men” who created the Constitution, did not see black people as fully human and not worthy of rights. This is also factually wrong. The northern colonies were packed with abolitionists — white people — who argued that this was the moment to end the atrocity of slavery, at the outset of the new nation. But there were other white people in the southern colonies, slave holders, who would not agree to form a single country to fight for freedom from British rule if emancipation were included.

It’s possible that the majority of the framers preferred to free blacks and give them rights in the newly formed country. But freedom could not be won unless all the colonies were bound together against the greatest empire on earth at the time. So the painful compromise was made to win freedom from Britain. And then, within a few generations, a bloody Civil War was fought almost entirely by white people to free the slaves. (About 90 percent of Union troops were white.)

The Times ignores this and misrepresents world history, our history and the founders and framers, by saying all of the framers saw blacks as subhuman. The publication is intent on doing this because as modern leftists they have an almost instinctive antipathy toward America and the very idea of American greatness. But more relevant to the moment, they are doing this literally to help beat Donald Trump and Republicans in 2020.

It does not require any special analytical abilities to deduce this. Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet essentially says so.

A recording of a full Times staff meeting was leaked to Slate last week, which then published a transcript of it. Baquet held this staff meeting two weeks ago to explain a coming change in coverage after the collapse of the Trump-Russia narrative.

“Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.”

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Pulitzers are award by like-minded leftists. Only one type of story wins those. But despite two years and virtually unlimited legal and financial resources, Mueller failed to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election. Which essentially means those years of reporting got it wrong. But Pulitzers.

Baquet went on, and this really pulls the veil back:

“The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”

But Pulitzers — unless of course they were just political accolades by fellow travelers and not about actual journalism.

Baquet: “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well…Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”

That is, a different angle of attack on President Trump, since Trump-Russia it turns out was never really a story. The real story the Times will not tell is how we got a two-year special counsel investigation of an event that did not happen. Baquet, not knowing this would become public of course, just puts it out there openly.

“I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump?”

Divided by Trump. Amazing. Baquet said the Times must “write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions.”

And there it is. The 1619 Project.

“It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

“Reframing” history is just a deceptive way of saying “rewrite” history. And there is no conceivable way this does not inflame racial tensions and make us more divided. And understand, most news outlets across the country take their cue on story importance and framing from the New York Times.

The first lines of the massive project let it all hang out.

“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true…”

No. Another premise to reject that just flat wrong. Blacks did indeed fight to earn their claim to them, as did whites. But the ideals were true and right — changing support for values does not in any way alter the moral standing of the values themselves. That would be self-evident to a non propagandist. Those ideas simply were imperfectly implemented, as mentioned above. 

Our nation’s story actually is one of consistently moving closer to those ideals, striving through emancipation in the 19th century to the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century. Blacks have been fully equal to whites under the law in this country for 50 years.

But the Times will never tell that story. 

Baquet told his staff that over the next two years, the Times will “teach” its readers to see race everywhere, to view every issue through race. Stories will strive to “reframe” each issue through the lense of race. The next two years just coincidentally happen to cover the entire presidential election cycle. 

And that brings us to the final premise to reject: That the New York Times is a news organization. It is not. And it has not been for a long while. But it took its own mask off now. It is virtually self-described now as an anti-American, leftist, Democratic propaganda outlet — with some news stories sprinkled in.

No independent-minded person should think otherwise.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Polls: Trump Popularity Soars to Highest Level, Trust In Media Tanks To Lowest

Rod Thomson

The events in the above headline are not unrelated.

Once the literally “no news” two-year news cycle of Trump-Russia collusion ended with the thump of the Mueller report finding no collusion and not recommending any obstruction of justice charges, it turns out Americans are OK with President Trump. More than OK.

The Zogby Poll has Trump’s job approval at 51%, 3 points above Obama’s in the same poll at the same point in his first term.

Again, it cannot be said enough, this is after two years of media hyperventilating over something that did not happen.

Maybe more interesting: A majority of Millennials approve of Trump’s performance as President, which has been a huge GOP fear — that Trump would turn off young voters to conservatism for a generation. This may not end that worry, but it sure tamps it down. Further, Trump is winning back Hispanic, Independent, college educated and urban voters.

Rasmussen polls have already placed Trump above Obama at the same time in his term for awhile now.

This is astonishing considering the very friendly, to put it mildly, coverage of President Obama and the nakedly partisan coverage of Trump.

On that point, Trump’s approval ratings are giant leaps ahead of the media’s trust ratings. Maybe not apples to apples, but close. The Columbia Journalism Review, the most prestigious publication for and about the media, reports with surprisingly little verbiage (I think we know why) just how bad the problem is through a commissioned Reuters poll.

Here’s what they found: The media led all institutions for which the public has the lowest confidence. Nobody’s lower. And of all demographic groups, only Democrats expressed a positive confidence in the press. Gosh, I wonder why?

Here are the numbers, which an honest media look at and admit they have a severe bias problem: 42 percent of Democrats believe the media isn’t biased. But only 10 percent of Republicans said the same.

Reagan used to talk about going over the head of the media and talking directly to the American people. Because even then, the media bias was pronounced, albeit nothing like today. Now, it looks like the American people are going over the head of the media directly to reality.

All of this means that the attempt to bring down Trump through what is now demonstrably “fake news” has backfired magnificently. The media as constituted probably cannot recover legitimacy from it’s past 10 years combined of covering for Obama and making it up over Trump. Which is a shame, and shame on them, because the Fourth Estate is an important part of America.

Rod Thomson is an author, radio and TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Muslims Are Safer In The United States Than In Muslim Countries

Rod Thomson

The brutal, hate-filled slaughter of 50 Muslims in mosques in New Zealand garnered worldwide news coverage for days as the outrage was real and visceral. But the reaction belies a broader issue that is generally buried for ill-fitting the narrative: Muslims are not only extraordinarily safe in the United States, they are thriving.

First, it’s worth noting what some conservative sites have pointed out: While the world was rightly indignant over the New Zealand killings, the world and media seemed largely indifferent to the slaughter of three times that many Christians in one Africa country in a three-week period, or the 23 Christians killed by the Fulani, or the ongoing killing of Christians for being Christians around the globe — particularly by extremist Muslims. Here is an extensive example of that from The New American.

That is all true. Christianity is the most persecuted religion worldwide. Pretty much all agencies agree on that. There just isn’t much outrage as it is largely Islamist extremists doing the killing. Islamists kill even more fellow Muslims.

But there is another element to the difference in the coverage in New Zealand and in Africa, and some ears will not want to hear this: Killing people, particularly over religion or ideology, is wildly unacceptable in Christian and post-Christian countries in the West. It is far more accepted as just part of life in many other cultures, particularly Islamic countries. A lot of violent death can and does create a hardened acceptance.

Dutiful disclaimer: Islamists slaughtering the “wrong” kind of Muslims, along with any Christians and non-Muslims readily available to be killed, are not the majority of Muslims. In the West and particularly in the United States, violent Muslim extremists are a very, very small minority — perhaps the lowest in the world. But in some countries, from the Palestinian territories stretching through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and back to Egypt and Libya, extremists and Islamists are very sizable minorities by their own self-professed opinions.

So in those countries where attacks against civilians are accepted by between 8 percent and 20 percent of the population (and between 90 percent and 100 percent of the population is Muslim) the violence is more common and more accepted, if not actually desired.

That is not the case in the United States or New Zealand or other western Christian or post-Christian countries. And it is far more rare. Despite all the blather about the rise of Islamophobia in the United States, more mass attacks are carried out by Islamists in the name of Islam than against Muslims. Far more.

Further, the United States is one of the safest countries, perhaps the absolute safest country, in the world to be Muslim and practice Islam.

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In a report that came out last September by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change tracking the roots, spread and effects of violent Islamist extremism, researchers found that 121 terrorist groups sharing portions of an ideological form of Islam are now operating around the globe. Their deadly actions in 2017 alone resulted in the deaths of 84,000 people — about 22,000 of them civilians — in 66 countries.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in September that Islamist extremism is “global and growing,” adding that it “didn’t begin with al Qaeda; nor will it end with the defeat of ISIS.”

The “Global Extremist Monitor,” which was produced by Blair’s non-profit, used hundreds of news sources that reported on incidents of violent extremism in 2017. According to a CBS News report from the time:

“There were a total of 7,841 attacks – an average of 21 per day –in 48 countries, it said, with war-torn Syria topping the list of countries most affected by violent extremism. Overall, Muslims were the most frequent victims of deadly attacks. Twenty-nine violent Islamist groups were actively engaged in conflict in Syria in 2017, the report said, with ISIS responsible for 44 percent of all attacks. Half of all civilian fatalities recorded globally were documented in Syria.”

In a National Geographic article by a Muslim who is an NPR correspondent covering race and diversity (politics are more than obvious) we see that despite the best attempts to paint America as bigoted, Muslims that are not activists largely don’t think it is a big problem. The article, “How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America,” talked to a lot of Muslims around the country. Here is a tidbit:

“That’s what Musa loves about being Muslim in America: The rights of expression and worship are protected. Here, he says, he can choose to be the kind of person, the kind of American, the kind of Muslim he wants to be. He points to his shelves at his rustic home on a sheep farm. They’re filled with books written by Shiite and Sunni scholars, reflecting the many schools of thought under those two main Islamic sects. “This is the place to be a Muslim, scholarship without intervention,” he says. “In Malaysia I could go to jail because I have Shiite literature in my house, and in Malaysia that’s the equivalent of being a commie in America.””

So despite the hand-wringing by the media, Democrats and some Muslim activists, such as CAIR, the U.S. is not only one of the safest countries in the world to be a Muslim, but Muslims may also thrive here more than any other place when including overall freedoms and economic opportunities — all of which probably explains why the percentage of Islamists among American Muslims is so low.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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How The Media Can Fix Itself. And…CNN Is?

Rod Thomson

I can’t even pretend to know what CNN is really thinking by hiring as political editor for their 2020 election coverage Sarah Isgur Flores, a former spokeswoman for the Trump Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and campaign operative for Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.

Of course, the DoJ has been one of the leakier Deep State departments undermining Trump. There is that. So for the conspiracists, she might already have a close relationship there. And if you like your conspiracies really toasty warm, you might suspect that she’s told CNN that she just has a lot of dirt from her time in connection with the Mueller investigation and knows how to get information out of the DoJ.

But I can say that if the media were serious about actually fixing itself, it would be doing a lot more hiring of conservatives. A LOT.

While recently seeing some modest increases, CNN suffered serious, almost debilitating ratings declines in the two years following President Trump’s election. They fell well behind known liberal network MSNBC and out-of-sight behind well-known conservative network Fox News. They had long wanted themselves to be seen as the most trusted name in news, but consistently ranked below Fox News and sometimes behind MSNBC.

Of course, they jettisoned all that talk of being trusted in the age of Trump and went full-bore partisan hack, often sprinting over to outright propaganda machine.

But if they really want to regain broad-based trust, CNN like every other mainstream media organization, needs to trash diversity based on skin color and gender — which leads to a rainbow of RightThink liberals and horribly partisan content — and seek a diversity of worldview.

Here’s how it could work.

First and foremost, approach it at the start like an addiction — in this case, an addiction to one worldview that supposes it is the one really true truth and all others are fake news.

Admit you have a problem.

Between 85-90 percent of the working media admit to being registered Democrat. I suspect the number of left-of-center journalists is actually higher than based on my own 25 years of experience in newspaper newsrooms.

Admit that because of human nature, that reality causes a deep leftist bias in the resulting product. No waving around the magic wand of “we’re professionals” makes that bias go away. Everyone has these biases, which is why diversity of worldview is critical.

Admit also that since Trump’s presidency, the bias has become blatant and damaging to credibility and driven many Americans to turn off the media for good.

In President Trump’s recent State of the Union speech, there was an amazing diversity of coverage and headlines — but one hundred percent predictable if you align them with worldviews and politics. Here are a few next day headlines of the speech that garnered 76 percent positive response from those who watched it:

➔ (conservative reporters) Washington Examiner: With pitch for unity, Trump urges Congress to ‘choose greatness’

➔ (conservative reporters) NY Post: Congresswomen clad in ‘suffragette white’ give Trump a standing ovation

➔ (“mainstream” reporters) Washington Post: In dissonant speech, Trump seeks unity while depicting ruin

➔ (“mainstream reporters) New York Times head: Trump Presses Hard Line on Immigration in State of the Union Speech

So the mainstream media, filled with leftists reporters and editors puts out leftist content and everyone not a leftist distrusts them — and they think it is because they get facts wrong, or conservatives just don’t like the truth. This is what they tell themselves.

This is not a new development under Trump; it’s been going on for decades. CNN was referred to as the Clinton News Network in the 1990s because of course its reporters were sympathetic to the Democrat President — because virtually all of them voted for him and supported his agenda.

That completely explains what opened the door for Fox News, which when it launched tapped into the biases obvious by the 1990s. Fox News started with the slogan Fair and Balanced and then moved on to We Report You Decide. Now it runs with Most Watched, Most Trusted — because it is both in many polls.

Meanwhile, oblivious to what they were openly communicating 64 million American who voted Trump into office and saw hope for a brighter America without the Clinton corruption machine in power again, the Washington Post changed their slogan to the dark, ominous and utterly self-absorbed “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Well, they are totally in the dark about their problems, sitting right there in their newsroom. About 90 percent of all news coverage regarding President Trump has been negative. No wonder they are mostly only getting anti-Trump and liberal consumers — and losing everyone else.

But WaPo and CNN are simply representative of virtually all newspapers aside from a few small, newer conservative ones, and all networks except Fox News.

If the media actually wants to reform itself, it must admit to the problem and the solution: fill newsrooms with reporters and editors that mirror the worldview of Americans. This is easily the biggest key to their trustworthiness is journalists, and why so many of us don’t trust them.

They cannot have every shade of only one worldview and expect balance and fairness — or expect that Americans will turn back to them. They will remain discredited and end up just being shrunken leftist silo media organs while the right has its own silo of media organs.

It might be too late. I’ve been blowing this horn for decades to no avail. But it might not be. And if it is not, then what CNN has done by hiring the conservative Flores — not just as a commentator people can ignore but as a news decision-maker — is the only way out of the silo.

It just needs to be repeated dozens, and then hundreds of times, until there is balance among those creating the content.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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It’s Really Not AOC, Amazon Or The Green New Deal; It’s Democrats And Their Media

Rod Thomson

The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez phenomenon in the Democratic Party is both scrumptious and terrifying to watch because it either destroys the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future or it cripples America for good.

It cannot be emphasized enough up front: The media has created the pretty AOC monster with endless lavish and uncritical cover stories, Sunday morning interviews and daily coverage verging on adoration. Talk about a Messiah complex — not AOC’s, but the media and sycophantic Democratic Presidential candidates, which are really the problems.

The Amazon fiasco, which I talked about a week ago on my Salem radio show, displays both her inordinately outsized influence, power, destruction and ongoing, astonishing ignorance. It’s important to keep writing and reminding about her train wrecks of bad ideas because again, you virtually cannot find her almost daily knuckle-headed comments in the MSM. Covering as per usual.

So Amazon pulls out of its New York City deal along with its 25,000 pretty good jobs and all the surrounding development and rollover effect, because of the AOC-led charge opposing giant giveaways to corporations. I’m pretty sympathetic to that in principle. But you have to have a modicum of understanding of how these deals are typically structured nowadays (as opposed to the outright gifts given to, say, major league sports teams. That’s not how Amazon or others work.)

In this case, the generally superficial reporting on Amazon said that NYC was providing $3 billion in “incentives.” Apparently, AOC took that to mean the city was giving Amazon $3 billion from the city’s coffers. Now the projections were that Amazon would have created about $26 billion of economic impact and the taxed portion of that would have more than paid back the incentives in just a few years.

But even that was not the deal. These were only tax breaks provided once Amazon had created those 25,000 jobs. So this was tax revenue — and tax break — that would only be realized if Amazon relocated and if they create all 25,000 jobs. But AOC, in her junior high way, thinks that money is just sitting somewhere. Here’s what she said while virtually dancing a jig in the halls of Congress at the news that Amazon will take their development and 25,000 jobs elsewhere, in response to a reporter’s question:

“The district is now going to lose thousands of jobs that would have come there,” a reporter quietly noted in the middle of Ocasio-Cortez’s celebratory dance. “Well one of those things is, A) we were subsidizing those jobs,” she said. “The city was paying for those jobs so frankly if we were willing to give Amazon, so if we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers, we can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to.”

Good golly Miss Molly. The money does not exist without Amazon moving to New York City. Those taxes are not being paid by others. It would have been the taxes due because Amazon was there. Ignorance really does kill — in this case, good jobs and economic development for her own district — but she’s going to totally remake the American economy. Riiiight. She does this almost daily. I won’t regale you with the litany. They are everywhere in the non-MSM sphere, where again her daily ignorance is largely swept away.

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But the terrifying part is that because she has been propped up as the fresh new face of the Democratic Party and its future by the utterly compromised, irresponsible and untrustworthy American media, she is dragging the Party in her ignorant, socialist direction. (She is a self-proclaimed Socialist Democrat.)

Her Green New Deal is embarrassingly junior high in its thinking and reality, but it had 60 Democratic members of Congress sign on and most of the front-runners in the Democratic presidential campaign also jumped onboard. Sure it was craven politics without probably vetting it first, but that is part of the problem. There really is no substance in the Democratic Party, and far from enough in the Republican Party.

She cannot just be mocked, easy and fun as that is. See, it’s not just that she released a plan to eliminate all fossil fuel use in 10 years, eliminate all air travel and originally cow emissions. It’s that because of her now gigantic platform — a monstrous creation of the media — she has lured a lot of wet-finger Democrats to her. It’s not just that she led the charge against Amazon with the envy card (rich corporation!) it’s that she managed to destroy a demonstrable increase in prosperity for that part of New York through sheer ignorance.

What she did for New York, she would like to do for the country.

If this is the direction of the Democratic Party, if she is the future, the Party is either doomed to self-immolation, leaving us with one-party rule for a season that will go badly, or the Party is actually successful in taking power with this radical agenda, the nation itself is under grave threat of self-immolation.

You see, there is virtually no check. With craven Democrats and dishonest media colluding against Republicans and President Trump, willing to build up AOC and other radicals in Congress while covering up their idiocy and bigotry (Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib) the American people can be too easily misled.

That makes the threat real.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Craigslist Progressive Founder Pours Millions Into Journalism “Ethics”

Rod Thomson

Craiglist’s Founder Craig Newmark has donated $15 million to the two premier journalism institutions in the nation to teach ethics and improve trust among Americans.

Columbia School of Journalism in Missouri, with probably the leading graduate journalism program in the country, will get $10 million to establish the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida will get $5 million for the creation of an ethics center to teach practicing mainstream journalists proper ethics, and to teach media consumers about journalistic ethics, in hopes of regaining trust.

Alas, in the realm of rebuilding trust, it is doomed from the beginning by the ongoing unwillingness to admit the largest driving cause of the distrust.

Newmark said in a statement: “the Poynter Institute has been a leader in journalism ethics for decades now, so they’re well-poised to become one of the go-to resources for solutions to the challenges journalists face in this digital age.”

The new entity will be called the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter, which owns The Tampa Bay Times, the largest newspaper in Florida. Newmark is also a member of Poynter’s board of directors.

“The idea behind (the center) is more than just reaching out to practitioners, but also reaching out to consumers of journalism who I think are more and more interested in how our stories get told, who’s telling them, who’s paying for them, whether there’s bias or not,” said Poynter President Neil Brown. “So I think it’s become part of the cultural conversation right now. We felt this was a moment in time to expand our traditional work.”

The problem Brown is specifically not saying — in somewhat the same way the media chooses not to report some things, for example, a litany of scandals during the Obama Administration — is that public trust in the media is in the cellar and stuck there. Most Americans simply do not trust mainstream journalists, and virtually all conservative Americans do not. A cursory glance at coverage between Trump’s two years and Obama’s eight years should explain it pretty clearly.

A 2016 Gallup Poll put trust in the media at an all-time low since the poll began in 1972, with only 32 percent having even just “some” trust in the media. Among Republicans, it was only 14 percent. Gallup wrote: “After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.”

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Of course hitting the bottom in 2016 was directly linked to the horrendously biased coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Newmark told the Associated Press that he’s “been concerned since the 2016 election about attacks on the press and the trust of citizens in the institution.” So among his journalistic largesse, he gave $20 million to establish a graduate school for journalism at the City University of New York, an extremely leftist school. Well, to no one’s surprise, Newmark is a progressive Democrat.

“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” Newmark said. Yup. And he’s flushing his money down the hole because as we will see, none of this will even begin to restore trust.

Just a few months ago, the Columbia Journalism Review — the premier publication for working journalists as part of the Columbia School of Journalism — wrote an article on a Knight Foundation study under the headline: “Most Americans say they have lost trust in the media.” Roughly a similar number of Americans don’t trust the media as the earlier Gallup Poll (but it’s now up to 90 percent now among Republicans) and about a third of those said they expect that to be a permanent state.

From the CJR (which, remember, is written to journalists):

“Is this decline in trust related to the repeated attacks on “the lying media” by President Trump and his supporters, who like to describe the press as “the enemy of the people?” That kind of analysis is beyond the scope of the latest Knight/Gallup study, but it has to be part of the backdrop.”

This is just head-in-the-sand stuff. This entire article is written by a journalist for journalists and never raises even the possibility of the elephant in the (news)room: Americans may perceive the media as being untrustworthy because the media is untrustworthy. And they are untrustworthy because at every level they are dominated by liberals/progressives with no check or balance on their biases.

The trust numbers were falling steadily through the 2000s, and picked up speed during the Obama administration, all long before Trump came on the scene. Head in sand.

According to Gallup, only Congress has a lower confidence rating among the American people than the media. Ambulance-chasing lawyers do better. But the problem is Trump saying mean things about the media.

This is a totally self-inflicted wound, and not one that Craig Newmark’s millions for a center for journalism ethics is bound to change — because they won’t admit the actual problem. Like an alcoholic who refuses to admit his problem, nothing will change. He could spend $5 billion, and it wouldn’t matter if this dynamic remains in place.

When I was a working member of the mainstream media, I attended seminars at Poynter, which is in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was difficult because virtually everyone attending and everyone teaching was between left of center and far left of center. This is unchanged, and presents the obvious and still insurmountable hurdle in media regarding tanking public trust.

Poynter’s new ethics center will not consider that the media should pursue a diversity of worldview, but will surely preach on the importance of inclusivity based on skin, gender, and LGBTQI+ status. The assumption, defying everything we know about human nature, is that journalists are professionals and therefore can report fairly aside from their personal biases.

Americans have made clear the result of that mindset. Yet, I expect it is totally unchanged at Poynter.

Rod Thomson is an author, host of Tampa Bay Business with Rod Thomson on the Salem Radio Network, TV commentator and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod also is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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One Last Election Surprise: Pre-Planned Media Hit Piece On Rick Scott

Rod Thomson

With the U.S. Senate in the balance, Florida’s largest newspaper chain published a last-minute hit piece on Gov. Rick Scott, an apparent attempt to undermine his campaign to unseat 46-year Washington politician Sen. Bill Nelson — the man Forbes magazine once famously depicted on their cover with, literally, an empty suit.

The pre-planned package of stories was published by GateHouse Media, which owns 21 newspapers in the state, including dailies in Jacksonville, Palm Beach, Sarasota, Daytona Beach, Panama City, Gainesville, St. Augustine and many more.

The newspapers ran an astonishingly bad piece of journalism out of the Palm Beach newsroom entitled “Florida felon voting rights: Who got theirs back under Scott” with the subhead reading “The governor restored rights to the lowest percentage of blacks, highest percentage of Republicans in 50 years.”

This came just days before Tuesday’s huge election, early enough to influence voting underway and election day, but not enough time to mount much of a pushback by the Scott campaign. It also tied in with Amendment 4, which would amend the Florida Constitution to automatically restore the voting rights of felons once they completed all of the conditions of their convictions.

It’s pretty clear from the “reporting” where the media stands on Gov. Scott and Amendment 4. The days of even pretending to hide partisanship are fading into a distant memory.

The long piece, essentially an agenda-driven package, is truly painful to read through if you are not an ardent Democrat. The reporting team draws conclusions of motivational fact on the part of Scott from nothing more than a correlation or one set of numbers significantly lacking context and the rest of the data.

For instance, one conclusion the piece draws is: “Scott’s system of restoring voting rights has for years discriminated against black felons, boosting his own political prospects and those of other Republicans throughout the state, a Palm Beach Post analysis has found.” [emphasis added]

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Don’t be fooled by the word “analysis,” as though it means some green eye-shade look at the numbers. It’s not an analysis in any honest sense.

Reporters playing with statistics frequently mistake correlation with causation, sometimes out of ignorance, but often because even minor correlation can be enough for them to build their predetermined storyline.

In this case, the logic is as follows: A higher percentage of blacks than whites are arrested, so cops are racist. A higher percentage of blacks than whites are incarcerated, so the courts are racist. A higher percentage of blacks than whites are denied the restoration of voting rights, so specifically Gov. Scott is racist.

But the numbers do not show “discrimination,” which would be causal, they just show resulting numbers. Never truly asked or delved into in any of those numbers-conclusions scenarios is the bottom line question: Are a higher percentage of blacks committing crimes? That is the golden data point to be mined that the media has very little stomach for even looking at. Further in the data underlying this sentence, how many blacks requested restoration of voting rights?

The story is just riddled with truisms from Will Rogers’ observation, “There are three types of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics.” This story is chockaful of just such “statistics.”

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Let’s bullet point some of their bullet points:

Story: “During his nearly eight years as governor, Scott restored the voting rights of twice as many whites as blacks and three times as many white men as black men.”

Leaving aside what the felond did in the years after release — jobs, marriage, family, church, community involvement, that would suggest lifestyle stability — this bullet point sounds terrible until you read way down into the story and comb through one of the charts. Because the context for this is just during his term, and just between blacks and whites. But it turns out Scott had a higher ratio of blacks to whites than the last Democratic governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles, in the 1990s.

But that does not fit the agenda, so there was no real truthfulness of conclusions.

Story: Scott restored rights to a higher percentage of Republicans and a lower percentage of Democrats than any of his predecessors since 1971.”

By a little. And, by the way, he still restored a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans. Again, you have to find the data box to discover this. It’s not in the narrative “analysis.”

Story: Blacks accounted for 27 percent of those who had their voting rights restored despite the fact that 43 percent of those released from state prisons over the past two decades were black.”

This tells us nothing of causation. Again, as in the first bullet point above, what is causal is not the percentages but what each felon did in the years after their prison release — jobs, marriage, family, church, community, etc., that would suggest the sort of stability that a clemency board would be looking for in order to return full rights.

There is simply a lot of bad journalism in this story.

Of course, it was probably never intended to be groundbreaking investigative journalism digging into the truth. The consistently slanted “statistics” suggest the real intent was to sway votes in the midterm elections toward Sen. Bill Nelson. Between Gillum’s nomination and this story blasted across the state, it seems like that succeeded.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

 

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Journalist Killings Have Declined Globally Since Trump Took Office

Rod Thomson

The media remains incensed over President Trump saying that they are the enemy of the American people. And they are desperate to use any event negatively impacting journalists as evidence of the “dangerous” climate that has been created by Trump.

The primary anecdotal evidence has been that Trump supporters say not nice things to CNN reporters and other media members at Trump rallies. But now the killing of Saudi “journalist” Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, apparently by a Saudi hit squad at the Saudi embassy, is also offered as evidence of the open season on journalists that Trump has created.

CNN reported that “Trump’s demonization of the media can have deadly consequences” referring to the Khashoggi killing, while the Huffington Post wrote “Donald Trump Is Complicit In Jamal Khashoggi’s Likely Death.” This is part of the reason for the outsized coverage of this killing. These and others have tried to leverage it into a hit on Trump and his language.

But actual facts do not support this narrative, at least not half way through Trump’s first term. During his first two years, the average number of journalists killed globally is less than the average number killed annually since 1992, and it is considerably less than the average number during the Obama years.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has been around for 30 years. It is in business to defend journalists and advocate for press freedoms, and tracks killings of journalists globally — killings in some way connected to their work as journalists, not someone killed in a robbery who happened to be a journalist. CPJ is officially non-partisan, but most certainly not a conservative group.

According to statistics compiled daily by CPJ, the average number of journalists killed annually since 1992 is 51 — 1,321 in total in that time period. The average number of journalists killed annually during President Obama’s eight years in office was 63.

But during Trump’s first year as president, in 2017, 44 journalists were killed. And 40 have been killed so far this year, which looks to end in about the same range as last year.

Now there is the very real sense in which this is a bogus connection. A whole lot of world events can contribute to journalists being killed — such as civil wars and unstable nations — which are largely outside the control of an American president. But it is also one of the few actual data points to look to in order to see if Trump really is creating an open season on journalists.

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According to these numbers, he is not.

So it’s worth noting these statistics for the very reason that the media is making such a huge deal out of Trump calling the media the enemy of the American people. In the sense that this crop of dishonest and biased media are actively opposing the duly elected president and Congress chosen by the American people, that is somewhat accurate.

Trump and Congress are the conduits of the will of the American people via the ballot box, and the media is acting at the very least like their political enemy. No one is saying (outside of far left, Antifa-like circles) that the free press is the enemy of the people.

But because the media continues to hyper-focus on this — it is about them, after all — they give enormous coverage to the Khashoggi killing because it is sensational, puts Trump in a tough spot with an ally and, as they claim, is reflective of what our allies think they can get away with because of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

But what the CPJ numbers show quite clearly is that, statistically speaking, journalists globally are doing better under Trump. At least, they’re being killed in smaller numbers.

One can’t help but think that if the CPJ’s numbers showed a spike in journalist killings during the Trump years, instead of a slowdown, that the media would have trotted out the number to support their case. This again goes to the point that media bias is not just about what is reported, but also what is not reported.

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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