“If I haven’t made it clear, let me do so now. The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered.”
Michael Goodwin, Chief Political Columnist for The New York Post and former City Hall Bureau Chief for The New York Times – Imprimis/June, 2017 – The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards
July 10, 2017
To: Buncombe County Republicans and our friends in good governance
Subject: Media Bias
Bias is a vulnerability we all suffer. It is a natural human quality to lean in the direction of our own personal preferences – thus the need for professional standards of conduct that restrain that tendency. Journalists have such a code, and it can be reduced to five filters – Truth and Accuracy; Independence; Fairness and Impartiality; Humanity; and Accountability.
There was a time when these five standards were part and parcel to the conscience of most journalists. We do not live in that time. We live in a time where most mainstream journalists have tricked their conscience into what they believe is an even higher calling – Advocacy.
Though it matters to conservatives that most journalist bias is directed against us and for the misguided missions of the progressive-liberal-socialist movement, it would still matter if this equation was reversed. We need journalists who believe in and professionally perform within the constraints of these five filters.
Most references and objective measurements indicate an 80-20 liberal bias in today’s media. What you may not know is that this imbalance is marked by an even darker reality – a majority of mainstream media outlets have shifted from denied bias to orchestrated dedication.
Having been markedly unsuccessful in reading and controlling the national temperament – as evidenced by the election of President Trump as a conservative voice – the media is doubling down on their enthusiasm for the left and denigration of the right. They have given up on the 50% of us who think, act and vote from conservative principles and concentrate on those holding an opposite view. All pretense of objectivity has been abandoned in favor of a new journalistic code – the Advocacy mentioned above.
That matters because journalists are any free society’s source of light. Bad things grow in the dark.
Those five standards represent five fingers that we need on the switch of illumination. They all play a crucial role in keeping us aware, smart and focused on a future of hope and possibilities.
What can conservatives do? Start by applying those five standards/filters to everything you read and see through the media. You will quickly find that the vast majority of mainstream media outlets are happy with a two out of five showing. That’s good enough for baseball – not for the future of our country.
From there we are free to reward journalistic integrity with support and encouragement. Challenge journalistic ethics failures with letters, conversation, phone calls and a refusal to fund repeatedly biased journalistic sources. Boycott those who are betraying their own journalistic code for the short-term gain and satisfaction of a dedication to biased advocacy.
Republicans hold their own stated dedication to reality, reason, responsibility and right. Those four filters serve as a reliable compass. It’s important to remember that today’s liberal medial bias will eventually trip over its own lack of realism. Our task now is to resist the bias – our task in the future will be to resist similar temptations in our own favor. America needs an ethical hand on the light switch…
Carl Mumpower, Chair