Chuck Todd is the encapsulation of what is wrong with America’s traditional media. His interviews seem serious. He attempts to appear impartial. However he always gets rolled by the Right Wing. He allows them to spew misinformation with ever so little pushback inasmuch as he knows his platform is being used to deceive.
DailyKOS Joan McCarter’s piece “Chuck Todd: Pointing out Republican lies isn't his job” is the continuation of Todd’s continual defense of a lousy traditional media. Todd in his alternate state of reality attempts to accuse the President of not articulating what is in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The reference video follows.
Responding to Governor Rendell, Todd’s statement is a lie by journalistic omission. Todd says that Americans have not heard the Democratic message but have heard a Republican narrative that was successfully messaged. What is left out is his journalistic responsibility.
He abdicates that journalistic responsibility when he further says, “What I always love is people say, "Well, it's you folks' fault in the media." No, it's the president of the United States' fault for not selling it.”
One can find hours of video with the president articulating the tenets of the Affordable Care Act in detail. One can visit the White House’s website as well as Kaiser and many other sites. It is the responsibility of journalist to keep the government honest. This is the reason they have special liberties and rights.
The mere fact that Todd uses the term ‘selling the message’ illustrates the problem. The responsibility of the journalist is to ensure snake oil is not sold.
Please continue reading below the fold.
DailyKOS Wilbur’s post had three examples that caricatured Todd’s statement with three analogies. The entire piece is an amusing read, but this snippet is probative.
Professor Chuck is standing in front of the class. He asks what the class thinks the First Amendment of the Constitution is. A student stands up and shouts out, “The First Amendment is the amendment that says America is exceptional and must always be treated as such.” Professor Chuck offers a shrug. “So what is the Second Amendment of the Constitution?” He asks.
A year later, Melissa, one of Professor Chuck’s student is at a law school interview and is asked what she thinks about First amendment issues. Melissa pulls herself up and says, “I believe it is difficult to consistently say that Americans are exceptional.” The admissions committee tells her what the First Amendment actually is and then tell her she will never get into their law schools.
Melissa goes to Professor Chuck and asks him why he said the First Amendment was about American exceptionalism.
“I never said that,” Professor Chuck says. “One of the students said that, remember?”
“But why didn’t you correct him?”
“Correcting a student is not my job, Melissa.”
A few months back, Todd interviewed Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein on media reaction to their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism” and subsequent Washington Post essay “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” One can find a detailed post mortem of the entire interview here.
Norm Ornstein castigated the press for a false fairness or false balance. He said specifically, “There are moments where there is a clear case to be made that one side is a perpetrator of something that goes beyond the norms and the other side isn’t. And too often that just hasn’t been expressed.” Given Todd’s statement above, he still does not understand what a journalist is.
The one thing Todd realizes is that there is a force that is on the hunt. He said “There are concerted campaigns by activists …. who actually are trying to delegitimize the press. That is their goal in order to make the activists the first place people go ”
Chuck Todd is partially correct. Activists and many others are cognizant that the traditional media is a ward of the Plutocracy. They want Americans getting real information as opposed to misleading information or outright lies through the traditional media. They need not do anything to attempt to delegitimize the traditional media. The traditional media has been successful in doing this.
When the traditional media gives a platform to liars, from birthers, to death panels, to government takeover of health care, they have delegitimized themselves. When they allowed false information about single payer systems abroad, universal health care systems abroad to be maligned without either pushback or providing journalistic researches themselves, they delegitimized themselves. When they provide full coverage to a few hundred Tea Partiers and scant coverage to thousands of TPP activists, Coffee Party activists, Keystone XL pipeline activists, labor union activists, they delegitimized themselves.
David Ignatius piece in the Washington Post titled “Obama is criticized for right result on Syria” illustrated that President Obama’s Syria machinations resulted in an outcome that satisfied most of the goals of the United Stats and the international community. Moreover, it is supported by most Americans. The president accomplished this without firing a shot or dropping a bomb. Many believed the president was playing international chess Yet the traditional media continues to hammer what is so far the best possible outcome without shedding the blood of any American. Is this not proof of the irrelevance of the traditional media? Why would one take them seriously?
Former Congressman Barney Frank asked one simple question on "Meet The Press" that caused a very uncomfortable pause and nervous laughter. After two guests from the world of finance were done being apologists for the financial sector and banking, Frank asked, “I do want to add one thing though to your question about those poor beleaguered bankers who have been forced to do so much to keep from not being able to pay their debts, that they can’t lend money. If they really are running businesses that are so stressed that they can’t do their basic work, why are they paying themselves so much money?” David Gregory showed his bravery and independence from the Plutocracy by nervously laughing then changing the subject.
The question would have been explored and answered at Daily Kos and many other New Media sites. In-depth analysis would have been presented to the readers. The traditional media is terrified of its own shadow, its advertisers, its handlers, and ultimately its corporate masters. The traditional media as the press defined in the Constitution has delegitimized itself.