Why have people stopped trusting the mainstream media?

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8 Min Read

Everyone knows that the mainstream media in the United States and Western Europe is partial to the left-wing school of thought, perhaps with the exception of liberal journalists in the Czech Republic who consider this notion to be a kind of conservative conspiracy. But what was moderately left-wing or liberal yesterday is no longer enough to satisfy today.

Times have changed, and the new generation is moving the media no longer to the left, but towards some kind of Maoist turn.

When reporting on the atmosphere in the most influential newspaper in the world, the New York Times, Czech journalist Martin Weiss and Daniel Anýž both agreed that the young generation of journalists considered their work mission to be tied to a certain kind of activism. They no longer want to be impartial. They no longer aim to describe the world, but instead want to actively contribute to the change in society.

As Anýž points out, “They consider it their journalistic and moral duty to stand up for things that they consider unquestionable, even though the topic is still the subject of debate and controversy in society.”

In this climate, it is no longer possible to tolerate other opinions because the reality is that editors and journalists are at risk losing their job. In fact, the fear is growing to the point that it is no longer tolerable to write anything that would bother one of the young editors inside the same news organization. In fact, co-workers are just as likely to target their fellow journalists as those woke crusaders that populate social media.

“Anyone who sees any piece of Opinion journalism — including headlines or social posts or photos, or you name it — that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately,” Katie Kingsbury, a deputy editorial page editor for the New York Times, wrote to editors.

Her predecessor, James Bennet, resigned after the opinion section that he led published a comment from influential Republican Senator Tom Cotton  calling for a military response to civic unrest in American cities sparked by riots tied to George Floyd protests. From now on, “unsuitable” commentaries such as those by Cotton will only be published by the Times with a disclaimer providing “the context that would help readers to put their views into a broader framework.”

The result is an atmosphere Weiss describes with a tweet by American journalist Michael Tracey:

“Numerous people in various media fields have told me this is the most oppressive political environment they have ever experienced. If they say anything that even deviates ever-so-marginally from consensus opinion, their livelihoods will be destroyed. And they are probably right,” wrote Tracey.

Speaking of Twitter, in recent days, it has offered several examples of the double standard of the mainstream media when it comes to reporting on current protests, whether in the U.S., the UK, or Australia.

Following the defacement of a Winston Churchill statue and the Cenotaph, hundreds of people gathered in London on June 13 to defend the monuments. It was a varied mix — football fans, hooligans, far-right supporters, and probably some neo-Nazis. Some of them were clearly inebriated, and some of them attacked the police, however, only two police officers were injured.

The BBC titled the report on this protest: “Right-wing protesters clash with police in central London.

Less than a week earlier, a large Black Lives Matter demonstration took place. It was much more violent, but the BBC reported that “27 police officers were injured during the largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London.”

After criticism from the public, the editorial board changed the headline, but the damage had already been done.

The Daily Mirror tabloid has labeled the far-right demonstration on the front page as “Shameful!” However, news about the Black Lives Matter demonstration, during which a statue was dumped in the river, was titled “The march for change.”

On the same day (June 13), Time magazine published two articles and posted them to Twitter that featured two wildly different conclusions.

While with the first one, the editor points out that “hundreds of far-right protesters defy COVID-19 restrictions to demonstrate in London,” the other story reports on physicians joining Black Lives Matter demonstrations, saying that protests should not be shut down over fears of COVID-19 transmission.

How is this possible? Does it mean that unlike right-wing supporters, Black Lives Matter protesters simply cannot get infected with the coronavirus?

On June 14, American liberal television station NBC News stated that crowds filled the square in front of the Brooklyn Museum of Art to support the rights of the black trans people.

On the other hand, when President Donald Trump announced the date of his next election rally, NBC News added to the headline that health experts warn against it.

NPR also had a very similar take when tweeted an article promoting Black Lives Matter demonstrations and another denouncing Trump rallies, both also published on the same day.

And finally an example from Australia.

In Australia’s oldest newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, journalist and television commentator Julia Baird wrote how statues (even the ugly ones) help us glimpse into our past. The article was published three years ago. This June, however, Baird wrote how the toppling of statues has thrilled her heart as it enriches, not erases, our history.

These examples are reveal some of the blatant biases shown by the media in the West, but they also go a long way to explain the rapid erosion in trust in journalism. Many rightly believe that there is a cultural and political war playing out in the press, and that most of these journalists-turned-activists have chosen a side — one not only in opposition to conservatives, but also against liberals and progressive who come even remotely close to questioning the prevailing narrative being pushed.

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