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The Ideological Blindness at the Heart of Media Bias

Over the Labor Day weekend, NBC’s Chuck Todd published a much-discussed call to armsfor American journalists. Decrying an “artificially stoked” hatred of the press, he calls for a “more aggressive” media:

That means having a lower tolerance for talking points, and a greater willingness to speak plain truths. It means not allowing ourselves to be spun, and not giving guests or sources a platform to spin our readers and viewers, even if that angers them. Access isn’t journalism’s holy grail — facts are.

Todd’s call to action is laudable. And, frankly, in my experience he’s a journalist who lives those values. I’ve found him to be fair and scrupulous. But his diagnosis of the problem is incomplete, and because it’s incomplete, I fear that his call to action will exacerbate, not ease, the crisis in American media.

In his piece, Todd rightly notes that there are opportunists and hucksters who exploit and whip up hatred for the media. He rightly notes that hatred for the media has crossed dangerous lines. The obscenity and fury you see at Trump rallies, to take one example, is beyond the pale. But Todd doesn’t adequately acknowledge that much of the distrust of the mainstream media is both organic and justified — and, even worse, there is no sign that the media are doing anything meaningful to deal with the root cause of that distrust.

To understand the origin of distrust, let me ask my media readers three questions:

First, how many members of your newsroom believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a man?

Second, how many members of your newsroom own a firearm for self-defense, much less possess a concealed-carry permit?

Third, how many members of your newsroom believe life begins at conception and should receive legal protection from that moment?

I picked those issues very deliberately. Each reflects an area of disagreement among tens of millions of Americans. Each side of that disagreement is supported by serious scientific, historic, or legal arguments. And yet I daresay that most of our mainstream-media newsrooms are overwhelmingly populated by people who hold the progressive position on these issues. Moreover, in newsrooms, the number of people who believe that no decent person can disagree with them on these issues probably far outpaces the conservative dissenters.

Read more at National Review.

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