The New York Post published a scathing indictment last week on the media coverage of the 2020 election. Yes, the same New York Post that has yet to bow to the censors on Twitter for publishing a potentially negative and devastating scandal concerning Hunter and Joe Biden. Good for them. Kyle Smith is the author of the piece titled, “The media promised to do better after Trump’s 2016 win — instead, they got worse.” Many readers remember the media mea culpa by some after President Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016. There were all kinds of promises to get out of their coastal bubble and do a better job covering and interviewing the people who supported Trump. The entire piece is worth reading.
In the second podcast released this week, I asked American University Professor Jospeh Campbell if the media has learned their lesson from 2016? Campbell is the author of “Lost in Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections.” Campbell’s impressive account of past polling failures has been featured regularly here at Civitas. Campbell, a former journalist himself, is far from impressed by the media’s objectivity in this presidential election and the last. “I don’t think they learned any lessons at all,” said Campbell. He added too that this is probably the worst coverage of any recent presidential race. Listen to the interview because it’s not only a great commentary on presidential polling but the media as well. Campbell clearly knows his stuff and he is an essential voice on these kind of topics.
In his book, Campbell highlights comments made by Liz Spayd, the former public editor at the New York Times. Spayd publicly criticized the Times for covering the campaign in a way that essentially championed “a juggernaut of blue state invincibility” for Clinton in 2016. Spayd’s reward for her objectivity as a journalist? She was fired.
Overall, here in North Carolina one could say the coverage of local and state races are much better than so much of the national coverage. Still, that’s a pretty low bar. Much of the North Carolina media has aggressively reported on the Cal Cunningham scandal, even if a large chunk of voters seem disinterested or even fatigued by it. I suspect there is probably more frustration with the lack of questioning of many of Gov. Roy Cooper’s aggressive coronavirus lockdowns that has devastated a large portion of the state economy and small businesses.
The role of the Fourth Estate is critical for health and vitality in North Carolina and the nation. A strong, free, and objective press is critical as a check on abuse of power and corruption. It amazes me (though it’s no longer surprising) that so many journalists seem to be enslaved by ideology rather than objective reporters. The cheerleading for censorship by American journalists of a major American newspaper covering a scandal that might be damaging to Joe Biden seems surreal.
Maybe, overall, some readers are just much more optimistic about the media coverage in this election? What grade would you give them for 2020?