Donald Trump’s early primary victories have started the “newsroom debates” again. Associated Press media reporter David Bauder penned a story headlined “Trump’s live appearances pose a riddle that news executives still haven’t solved.”
So when a newsworthy event happens – like Trump’s victory speech after the New Hampshire primary – the pro-Biden networks worry “Trump will make false statements that are difficult, if not impossible, to correct in real time — or go completely off script with something entirely unexpected.”
Does Trump make false statements? Yes, starting with his refusal to concede he lost the 2020 election. Does Biden make false statements? The name “Biden” never comes up in Bauder’s story. There are no fraught newsroom debates over what the president says live. Biden lies and mangles facts on a regular basis, but none of these networks have the slightest resistance to airing him live. This makes them look like naked partisans.
On January 24, the afternoon this AP story was posted, Biden spoke to accept the endorsement of the United Auto Workers union. CNN aired six minutes of the speech live, and there was no “fact checking” to be done. They turned to CNN reporters who touted the endorsement as a big deal, and pointed out the UAW president called Trump a “scam.” That’s lapdog coverage.
But with Trump, Bauder wrote nervously of “the responsibility of giving a potential future president the chance to be heard.” Then he mentioned “a disastrous town hall event with Trump on CNN last spring reminded everyone of the implications of airing his appearances live.”
How was it “disastrous”? Did anyone die? Did CNN fall apart? Or were they out of third place for an hour? It obviously rocked CNN to its core, and marked the beginning of the end of CNN boss Chris Licht. Bauder hinted it was disastrous because “fact-checking on the fly can be extraordinarily hard, and many of Trump’s supporters are more inclined to believe what comes out of the former president’s mouth than what a news organization declares is true.”
The problem here, then, is that the media are frustrated that anyone doubts their “fact checking,” as if it’s completely factual and not influenced by their red-hot partisan loathing of their subject.
“I don’t know why anyone has to take him live,” former CNN president Jon Klein told Bauder. They’re so opposed to it that Bauder hints that newsrooms are already faced with a “particularly hard decision” over whether to air Trump’s convention acceptance speech live if he’s nominated.
At this point, you wonder if Trump and Biden ever debate in the fall, they’ll decide Trump’s answers will not be aired live.
What remains is the other unspoken, apparent non-issue in newsrooms of access to the candidates. While they are all agitated over granting Trump any access, none of these networks have seemed to offer the slightest public critique of Biden refusing to do news conferences or grant interviews to even liberal outlets. This president has not granted one interview to a national newspaper during his term, and apparently none of them have ever objected.
As usual, Trump grants wide access, and gets cut off. Biden is granting almost zero access to persistent questioning, and he’s getting the royal treatment. You never bother the monarch with an impertinent inquiry!
As the public observes this flaming double standard, the media elites keep wondering why no one trusts them and why they are shedding employees. In the end, it’s clear they think too many voters are stupid, and won’t listen to their sweet reason. That’s not helping them gain trust.