NBC’s Chuck Todd has a grandstanding Atlantic piece claiming that the public’s negative perception of the media is due to…
1. Their ignorance
2. FOX News conspiracy
Bashing FOX News, of course, isn’t like bashing NBC News. The former is just good journalism while the latter is an attack on the First Amendment.
There are many howlers in Todd’s piece, but here’s just one of them.
Because journalists report on new and controversial ideas all the time, it’s not uncommon for us to be accused of championing an idea—think of same-sex marriage—that some members of our audience find objectionable. Letting folks know that a movement is afoot, and documenting its successes and failures, is our job. But Ailes exploited the public’s lack of knowledge of journalistic conventions, portraying reports about social change as advocacy for such change. He played up cultural fears, creating the mythology of a biased press.
I’m sorry, whatever your view on gay rights may be, the idea that the media was reporting on, rather than championing, is nonsense. Everyone, on the left or the right, knows it’s nonsense. The media had a clear opinion in this regard. It put that opinion forward.
As it does on a regular basis.
The real question is how stupid does Chuck Todd think Americans are? And it’s an intriguing question.
Todd, like the rest of the media, lives in a bubble. This awkward article is meant to reach beyond that bubble. Yet Todd, again like much of the media, has no idea how people outside the bubble think, what they know and what they don’t know. So he assumes they’re idiots.
NBC News’ talent could have made a more plausible argument. One that people might have believed. But instead he makes a laughable one, that the coverage of the gay marriage debate had no dog in the race. And that’s very blatantly untrue.
Here’s Chuck Todd, showing how much of an opinion he doesn’t have on the subject.
Todd then turned to gay marriage and referenced former President Harry Truman’s citation of the Bible in his opposition to interracial marriage. Using a condescending tone, Todd asked Jindal whether he was “comfortable using religion … to defend your position on marriage?”
“I think it’s offensive to evangelical Christians, to Catholics … and millions of other Americans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, it has been taught in our faith for centuries, it was just a few years ago the position held by President Obama and Secretary Clinton,” said Jindal. “I think it’s offensive to try to equate the two.”
So Todd has a clear position. One that would come as a surprise to no one. And he believes anyone who disagrees is a bigot.
That’s an opinion. And Todd is entitled to it. But when he claims that he doesn’t advocate, he passes off his opinion as objective truth and his advocacy as objective public service.
And that’s the lie at the rotten heart of media bias. It’s not just that the media is biased. But that it constantly lies about its bias.