For two years, I have written about the declining journalistic values in this age of rage with both reporters and legal analysts becoming open partisans for or against Donald Trump. I recently spoke on this decline in objective and neutral reporting. It appears that the situation has become a threat to the journalistic principles of The New York Times. According to Vanity Fair, the newspaper is barring its reporters from appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon as too biased and one-sided.
Vanity Fair reports that Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet is concerned that NYT reporters would be “perceived as being aligned” with the hosts in raw advocacy against the Republicans and Trump.
I have in past defended the Times against attacks from Trump and his supporters. This is an example of why the “Old Grey Lady” remains a icon for journalism. It is not clear if the bar does or should apply to columnists or commentators. Presumably it does not. The concern that many of us have raised is how hosts and reporters at CNN and MSNBC openly mocked or counter Trump and the Republicans. Fox has been accused of the same bias in favor of the Administration. However, Fox often runs tough interviews and pieces against Trump, who has complained about the coverage. There are also excellent journalists and hosts at CNN. One of my favorite is Michael Smercomish who often transcends politics and popular positions.
I often play a game in watching these networks. When breaking news happens I ask myself what is the worst possible spin that you could put on the story. The spin inevitably seems to follow. It is formula coverage and executives like Jeff Zucker have admitted that their exhaustive Trump coverage is a ratings play.
I have a great deal of affection and respect for many people at CNN and MSNBC as well as Fox. The loss of objectivity is the result of executives seeking to lock in an audience with echo-journalism. They want to appeal to people who do not want to hear alternative views or scenarios in controversies. CNN has been far less successful in that strategy after MSNBC occupied the field as the go-to anti-Trump channel.