Tag Archive: Oppositional Journalism


“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor from 1962-1981

“Walter Cronkite could not get a job in the media today.” – Harvard Law Professor Alan Derschowitz

 “As a former journalist and former press secretary, you should know there has never been ‘objective journalism.’” – Professor teaching digital journalism to college students

“Never” leaves absolutely no room for nuance, much less retreat.

According to my dear faculty colleague and friend (and presumably many more kindred spirits), objective journalism “never” existed even at times (e.g., 1960s and 1970s) when Walter Cronkite was widely regarded as “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

If you don’t believe the ex-cathedra summation by a Ph.D in Journalism, just visit your nearest modern-day college journalism/communication (indoctrination) classroom.

Or how about famous correspondents crying on national television when political results do not match their impeccably high moral standards (e.g., ABC’s Martha Raddatz on 2016 election night or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow upon the 2019 release of the Müller Report conclusions).

As a cub reporter covering politics on a daily basis way back in the stone-age 1970s, there were times when your Almost DailyBrett author nodded his head, rolled his eyes or told a cynical joke … as skeptical reporters are prone to do.

We all harbored our own personal opinions, just like everyone else.

The real question is whether our opinions unprofessionally showed up in our copy and/or broadcasts? Were we truly open-minded, professional and yes, objective in carrying out our responsibilities to readers and/or viewers?

The best reporters/correspondents covered both sides of a given issue (e.g., California’s Proposition 13 tax revolt), and most importantly did not allow their personal analysis and interpretation to corrupt and pollute their stories.

As a former press secretary to a Republican governor, Almost DailyBrett knew for a fact the vast majority of reporters, editors, and correspondents were philosophically aligned to the left side of the great political divide.

Having acknowledged the obvious, virtually every reporter played a great devil’s advocate to elicit the strongest (and most newsworthy) response from yours truly. In almost all cases our point of view was fairly represented in the resulting copy or broadcast.

There were times when your author detected a bias in the questioning toward a predetermined narrative. In these cases, all responses that corresponded to the story line were seized upon and all those that didn’t fit were ignored.

Your author called out these unprofessional reporters for exhibiting a preset philosophical bias, resulting in an unpleasant conversation.

These unfortunate instances were the exception then; they are the norm today.

What Are Future Journalists Being Taught In Today’s Universities And Colleges?

Instead of actually covering the news for a grateful public, are future reporters, editors and correspondents being groomed by doctrinaire university professors to be the next wave of social justice warriors with notepads, microphones and cameras?

Is their mission to take the side, to advance the cause, to silence the opposition and ultimately bring down a president?

Rather than reporting the news, will they use their journalistic licenses to fashion stories, which are really poorly disguised or denuded editorials, interpretation and analysis that conform to the narrative?

If the prescribed goal is an ever-present, all-powerful taxing, redistributive, gift-giving socialist society, will tomorrow’s “journalists” be only favorable in their coverage to facts that conform to the orthodoxy? Likewise, will they be cynical, dismissive and downright hostile to any statements that do not pass social justice litmus tests?

Maybe that explains journalistic mutations in the forms of Jim Acosta, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow?

It was widely known that Walter Cronkite was liberal in his political orientation. Having said that, he always insisted upon fairness – yes objectivity – in the coverage of Democrats and even Republicans.

Some will claim the media’s collective decline in public esteem is directly attributable to their new-found designation as “the enemy of the people.” They will place 100 percent of the blame at the feet of the 45th POTUS.

Almost DailyBrett believes the media elite needs to collectively reassess the unfortunate trend toward oppositional journalism, interpretation, analysis and editorializing, and once again embrace professionalism in the form of true objectivity.

Let’s hope objectivity can once again rise from the ashes.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/05/opinion/brinkley-walter-cronkite/index.html

https://cronkite.asu.edu/about/walter-cronkite-and-asu/walter-cronkite-biography

https://brandingforresults.com/walter-cronkite/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/dan-rather-father-of-affirmational-journalism/

“The news blindsided many liberals — particularly those with an ambient knowledge of Rachel Maddow’s nightly monologues on MSNBC.” – Amy Chozick, New York Times

“The 3 biggest losers from the Mueller report in order: the media, the media, the media.” – Rich Lowry, National Review

Trump won. The liberal media elite declared … “victory.”

The two-year hunt by oppositional journalists for WMDs came to an end. It was a dead scud.

The long-awaited $25 million Müller Report didn’t quite read the way they wanted. It was a dud.

Ahh … Rachel Maddow can rewrite it for you.

Chris Matthews is tan, rested and ready.

As they say in politics … “When in doubt, declare victory!’

The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer declared the Müller report a great success, but no one seems to be clapping in the tony enclaves of Manhattan, Inside the Beltway or in Hollywood.

Let’s see how do Oppositional Journalists proclaim unmitigated victory? Has the comb-over dragon been slayed?

Our ratings are up (e.g., MSNBC … even CNN). Our print and digital subscriptions have soared (e.g., NYT, WAPO). They generated a combined 8,500 Russia probe stories to prove their point.

Almost DailyBrett remembers a time when objective journalists didn’t seem to care about their respective employers buying low and selling high.

Former FBI Director Robert S. Müller III was going to be the savior of the Republic. Let the impeachment proceedings begin!

Stephen Colbert still generated late-night “comedy,” but deep down inside … it’s painful. It has to hurt.

As Yoga Berra once said: “It’s like deja-vu all over again.” For the folks at CNN and MSNBC, it was a replay of November 8, 2016, even though some are now asserting a “cover-up” (e.g., MSNBC’s Joy Reid) and “obstruction of justice.”

Spin Control by the Media, For the Media

“They let all the normal rules of balanced reporting fly out the window as they competed with each other over who could land the biggest Pulitzer prize-winning Trump/Russia sucker punch that would KO the President they loathe.

“Only it turned out they were all punching thin air.” – Former CNN anchor Piers Morgan

“We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did.” – Jeff Zucker, CNN president

Walter Cronkite just turned over in his grave.

Almost DailyBrett has long advocated a return to the days in which political reporters were not serving as the Praetorian Guard for the progressive socialist left/Democratic Party.

Your author yearns for the days when most reporters/correspondents could claim the virtue of objectivity, and still pass the giggle test.

Yet as the ink dries on the Müller Report and President Trump basks in the glory of no collusion with Russia/no further indictments (not to mention media darling Michael Avenatti being led off in handcuffs for his $20 million blackmail attempt against Nike), the elite liberal media is resetting its bearings on electing a Democrat in 2020.

The question that must be asked: Have they learned anything from 2016?

Will they continue to arrogantly use the print and digital pages of the NYT and WAPO, let alone CNN and MSNBC, to denigrate the millions that work and live in the red states?

Remember the “Basket of Deplorables”?

The 12th Amendment (e.g., Electoral College) of the U.S. Constitution is NOT going to be amended/rescinded before the 2020 election, if ever.

Red states must be flipped for Bernie (or a reasonable facsimile) to become the 46th president of the United States. How many in Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania etc. follow liberal media talking heads and angry columnists?

In many ways it seems the elite liberal media types are talking to each other and preaching to the choir.

Democrats know they can only win California’s 55 electoral votes once regardless of the margin of victory. Hillary prevailed in the Golden State by 4 million votes. She only needed to win by one vote.

The liberal media elites will demand that red state voters change, and see the wisdom of social justice warriors commanding and controlling their lives through a greatly empowered government.

Almost DailyBrett suggests a little exercise of humility at CNN and others. If so, maybe the struggling network can return to the days of Bernard Shaw asking the tough question … even to the Democratic nominee at a presidential debate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/business/media/mueller-report-media.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/mueller-report/585631/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/03/22/chris_matthews_why_was_there_never_an_interrogation_of_trump_how_can_mueller_let_him_off_the_hook.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6847671/PIERS-MORGAN-Mueller-report-shows-collusion-disgraceful-hoax.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_7wPf9geSM

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

Whatever Donald Trump does on any given day, on whatever issue, for whatever reason … he loses.

Win the presidency … Trump loses.

Expand the GOP’s Senate Majority … Trump loses

Respond in kind to the dangerous taunts from Kim Jong Un … Trump loses.

Make nice to Kim Jong Un in Singapore … Trump loses.

Cut a trade deal with China’s Xi Jinping … Trump loses.

Champion a blow-out economy … Trump loses.

Extol the virtues of tax reform … Trump loses.

Raise his approval rating … Trump loses, loses and loses.

Never in recorded history have so many so-called journalists dumped so much detritus on any one president with so much speed and relish.

And with this unprecedented and unlimited exercise of Lose-Lose Journalism, any pretext of real or supposed objectivity (i.e., CNN, NBC, NYT, WaPo) has been relegated to First Amendment history books.

Almost DailyBrett didn’t mention the commentariat at MSNBC because one expects drip-drip way-left-of-center rhetoric from those who pass all the required liberal litmus tests to become a talking polemic on the network.

This humble analysis is not suggesting in the least that other presidents –, particularly Republican chief executives, have been denied a given smidgeon of the benefit of the doubt (i.e., Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41 and 43). The level and intensity of today’s scorn – sometimes jumping the line to outright hatred of the president – is unprecedented in its sadness about what was once an admired profession.

Your author has written before about Affirmational Journalism (e.g., Dan Rather), Impact Journalism (Rolling Stone UVA rape story) and Oppositional Journalism (e.g., CNN), but Lose-Lose Journalism is a new phenomenon.

Whatever Trump does or doesn’t do … he is instinctively, instantly and vitriolically regardless of the outcome, judged to be … the loser.

Reminds one of the story of Richard Nixon gathering reporters to San Clemente, and then walking on water.

The New York Times headline the following morning: “Nixon Can’t Swim.”

Becoming Part of the Story

Is there a barely concealed desire by oodles of correspondents and reporters to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, bringing a Republican administration to its knees?

Is the Pope, Jesuit?

Many media psychologists have diagnosed Donald Joseph Trump as a narcissist. Does he bask in the glow of standing behind the podium with the presidential seal? It’s obvious.

What also seems to be undeniable are journalists-turned television personalities, who hog the limelight – one in particular refusing to yield to other reporters — to interrupt and challenge the president … violating the long-held journalistic standard about not becoming part of the story.

Do any media shrinks want to analyze the self-aggrandizing behavior of CNN’s Jim Acosta? Does he crave his own CNN program? Does he even more want to be responsible for bringing down the president? Does he hate the president as has been suggested elsewhere?

More important, does narcissistic Acosta cover the news or is he a vital and integral part of the news? If you want to know how important Jim Acosta is to the survival of our Democracy, maybe you should ask him.

He is now a cause-celebre as his White House media credentials have been pulled. His colleagues – whether they despise him or not – will circle the wagons on his behalf. Listen: You can hear Journalism lectures, equating out-of-control Acosta with the First Amendment.

Sure.

Moving away from the briefing room to the editorial pages, one must ask after scanning all the WaPo pundit headlines since 2015, who is actually reading these screeds?

The answer is the same elitist crowd that always consumes these epistles. Maybe even they are becoming bored with the same, predictable rhetoric?

How many times can Trump be labeled as a racist, misogynist, privileged, homophobic, transphobic … before each and every one of these once-explosive words becomes cliché?

We even heard angry rhetoric this week, suggesting that America is composed of non-racist and racist states. Guess which ones voted Democratic and which basket-of-deplorable states voted Republican?

When the racist, misogynist, homophobic cards are indiscriminately overplayed and overhyped in the media, does each of  every one of these loaded words lose at least a portion of their impact? Maybe we need new and improved pejorative words for our public vocabulary … or maybe not?

Almost DailyBrett is wondering whether lose-lose Journalism is the new norm for the Fourth Estate. Barack Obama feasted in a cavalcade of Win-Win Journalism. Trump is counterpunching daily via Twitter and other devices against Lose-Lose Journalism.

Will President #46 bask in Win-Win Journalism or endure another round of Lose-Lose Journalism.

Guess it depends on who is elected president.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/07/donald-trump-jim-acosta-white-house-news-conference/1920107002/

https://nypost.com/2018/11/07/jim-acosta-violated-one-of-the-oldest-rules-of-journalism/?utm_source=facebook_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/impact-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/dan-rather-father-of-affirmational-journalism/

 

“After the United States gobbled up California and half of Mexico, and we (Nazi Germany) were stripped down to nothing, territorial expansion suddenly becomes a crime. It’s been going on for centuries, and it will still go on,” – Hermann Goering at the Nürnberg Trials

The charges at the Nürnberg Trials focused on Nazi Germany’s conspiracy to wage global war, and as a result millions were left dead across devastated Europe, and more than 6 million perished in the Holocaust.

The 1945-1946 Nürnberg judicial proceedings had zero to do with the 19th Century US acquisition of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas following the Mexican War. Goering’s lame attempt at “WhatAboutism?” ultimately failed as a legal tactic.

And while Goering dodged the hangman’s noose via a cyanide tablet, the practice of “WhatAboutism?,” clumsily evading inconvenient subjects with rhetorical deflections, is alive and well in our 21st Century discourse.

If the subject is the #MeToo movement, why do more than a few Democrats say “WhatAbout Donald Trump (e.g., Stormy Daniels)?” and more than a few Republicans chime in with “WhatAbout Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky)?” Neither gent is a paragon of virtue. We all know that.

Isn’t the real subject about sexual harassment/abuse targeting women regardless of the perpetrator’s side of the political divide or profession (i.e., major networks, Hollywood …)?

Shouldn’t we address and endeavor as a civilized society to solve these widespread abuses targeting women? Or should we deflect attention (“What about … ?”) to avoid an uncomfortable subject, and better yet score political points?

Is “WhatAboutism?” the first-and-last recourse of the intellectually vanquished?

Does “WhatAboutism” Say More About The Perpetrator or The Receiver?

“He (Vice President Mike Pence) thinks abortion is murder, which first of all don’t knock it till you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it—you know, you’ve got to get that baby out of there.” – Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents Association dinner

“Essentially a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse.” – Merriam-Webster definition of WhatAboutism

Every time, Almost DailyBrett hears a “WhatAboutism?,” a series of stages ensues in this order:

  1. Eyes roll (again); 2. Concludes that a nerve has been hit by the impulsive “WhatAbout?” reaction. 3. Realizes the “WhatAbout?” rejoinder is only intended to deflect attention/change the subject 4. Almost DailyBrett is even more determined than ever to stay on the subject, triggering a second “WhatAbout …?”

You can run Mr. or Ms. “WhatAbout?,” but you can’t hide.

If Hermann Goering can reference the Mexican War, why can’t we raise the “WhatAbout?” question about the Norman Conquest, and maybe even the Romans?

If a decent person with integrity questions Michelle Wolf’s absolutely hilarious abortion/tampon jokes at the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) dinner, does mere dissent instinctively draw a “What About” rejoinder from the defenders of “Oppositional Journalism”?

Hey just think. … Maybe … just maybe … Michelle Wolf’s lame attempt at below-the-belt, bathroom humor (e.g., cruelly directed at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others) was totally inappropriate for a black tie dinner of the objective Fourth Estate in Washington, D.C.?.

Instead of deflecting questions about the Wolf’s vile, hate speech with an “WhatAbout?” interrogative, why can’t the responder instead ask whether the WHCA actually vetted the speaker?

Why can’t the receiver of incoming rhetorical arrows actually make a stand, and put up a spirited defense? How about the tried-and-true response from your author’s Sacramento days:

When all else fails: declare victory.  Thinking: (“Yep, we won … And here’s why).

Instead of affixing our rhetorical bayonets and rallying all the ethos, logos and pathos at our disposal, way too many “WhyAboutists” are simply deflecting their responses to some other notorious example (e.g., Mexican War) – many times unrelated —  to return fire.

The “WhatAboutists?” think they are so smug, when in reality they are waving their intellectual white flags.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hermann_G%C3%B6ring

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/whataboutism-origin-meaning

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/whataboutism-what-about-it/2017/08/17/4d05ed36-82b4-11e7-b359-15a3617c767b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6f53b84cac9f

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-dogs-breakfast-of-a-dinner-1525388174

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

 

 

 

 

 

“ … The past two years have radicalized me. I am increasingly troubled by how many of my colleagues have decided to abandon any semblance of fairness out of a conviction that they must save the country from Trump.” – Fox, Daily Beast, CNN, Washington Post media commentator/columnist/author Howard Kurtz, “Media Madness”

“The media have been harder on Trump than any other president” and they “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged.” – Former President Jimmy Carter

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t remember being trained to be an amateur psychologist during his years in Journalism school at the University of Southern California.

Back in the Brady Bunch years, your author was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting journalism — not psychology — hoping to follow in the hallowed footsteps of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Remember being taught “Reporting Public Affairs” by Joel Kotkin of the Washington Post. My assignment: Cover the 1977 Los Angeles Mayoral race campaign of California State Senator Alan Robbins, maintain a healthy dose of skepticism, and deliver a balanced, accurate report under deadline pressure.

Were those were the good days of American Journalism?

The media held Richard Nixon accountable for Watergate, obstruction of justice and his paranoia (did not attempt to diagnose his condition).

The rubbing elbows days with the Kennedys as played by Tom Hanks (e.g., Ben Bradlee) and Meryl Streep (Katharine Graham) in The Post were gone with the end of Camelot, and the “New Nixon.” The clubhouse door was closed.

The media was now separate and distinct from those they covered, even though both maintained a symbiotic adversarial relationship. One needed the other for reader/viewer access, and the other thrived on a steady stream of news and information.

Certainly, the media has always tilted to the left as any Republican press secretary will tell you. And that conclusion makes sense to this day. For the most part, reporters take a vow of poverty in the form of lower pay scales and less job security than their cousins in the largely well-paid public relations industry (e.g., “The Dark Side”).

These partisan journalists (oxymoron yes, but true nonetheless) have a natural affinity to the institutions of government. Any thrusts that bring into question the value and purpose of always expanding government (e.g., Reagan, “Government is the problem”) and Trump (e.g., Firing FBI chief James Comey) will trigger a vitriolic reaction from the Fourth Estate.

What is different now is that any and all vestiges of ostensible objectivity by the media to both sides of the great American political divide is gone, long gone. Reporters, editors and correspondents don’t even pretend to be fair anymore.

The media war – yes war — against Trump as a person and his ideas, policies, programs is exposed for what it is and what it has become.

The media is practicing unvarnished and unmitigated oppositional journalism.

America Has Only A Two-Party System

“Trump is right. It is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing masquerading of news.” — Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer

“A common refrain among Trump antagonists in the press is that they must resist normalizing his presidency. But in the process, they have abnormalized journalism.” – Howard Kurtz

The media is not one of America’s two political parties.

During the course of the life of your Almost DailyBrett author, the Republicans have controlled the White House for 35 years and the Democrats for 28 years. Political tides have roared back and forth (i.e., Goldwater debacle, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran Hostage Crisis, Fall of Communism, Monica, September 11, Big Short, Trump Upset …).

Carter Press Secretary Jody Powell complained in his book “The Other Side Of The Story” about how reporters prided themselves in being “fair to Reagan.”

Oh … for the good ole days.

The real question: Is Oppositional Journalism, actually Journalism?

If stories that favor Trump are irrelevant and tales that discredit Trump are championed, then what’s the point of the former when the media closes its collective ears and eyes?

In some respects — not all — the elite media types have threatened to give arrogance a bad name. And just as many are celebrating the journalism as depicted by Hanks and Streep, keep in mind those were the days of somewhat objective journalism.

Is there a chance that some in the Journalism community will take a moment and reflect about how oppositional journalism emerged from the primordial ooze, grew and mutated?

Is there a chance to turn back the clock in a good way? Let’s hope so.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/sympathy-for-sarah-huckabee-sanders/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/from-affirming-back-to-informing/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/has-the-media-reached-the-point-that-it-can-never-cover-trump-fairly/

 

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