I have been writing about the surprising bias shown in coverage of the Trump Administration. While I strongly disagree with Trump’s portrayal of the media and believe that much of the negative coverage is legitimate coverage of Administration missteps and controversies, the media appears to be losing sight of its navigational beacons in pursing Trump like some “great white” out of Moby Dick. The latest example is an interview of actress Debra Messing by MSNBC reporter Morgan Radford during the Tax Day Protests. (For the record, I agree that Trump should disclose his tax records and that his rationale of being audited is not a compelling legal basis for withholding the records). In the course of the interview, Radford not only refers to “our voices” in agreement with the protesters but refers to the Trump Administration as threatening democracy.
In the interview available here, the former “Will & Grace” star objects to how American democracy was “attacked and infiltrated by Russia.” Radford then follows her comments by asking about the “best way to make our voices heard” in order to “neutralize” the threat posed by the “current administration to democracy.”
In a recent column, I wrote about how the media seems to be struggling with notions of neutrality in coverage of the Administration. I also believe that the allegations of Russian interference should be investigated (though as I previously wrote we have a long history of even greater forms of interference in other countries). At one time, such statements would have resulted in outrage from the media, which has long jealously protected its neutrality in coverage. Now it seems commonplace that a national reporter would refer to “our” voices in protests and describe the current Administration as a threat to democracy.
I am perfectly willing to accept the interview as a major slip or unguarded moment, but there should be some official response to such coverage to reaffirm that reporters are not advocates in coverage.
What do you think?