WashPost’s Philip Bump Claims Fox’s ‘Fake’ Facts Hurt Trust in MSNBC

News & Politics

Appearing as a guest on Friday’s The 11th Hour on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Philip Bump alleged that right-leaning media outlets like Fox News and Breitbart tell “fake things” to their viewers and, in doing so, cause people to disbelieve the “true things” that are discussed by MSNBC and The Washington Post.

This lack of self-awareness of how Bump and his MSNBC friends sound very partisan in their journalistic hot takes came during a discussion of the Los Angeles Times and Time magazine announcing layoffs and the decline of local newspapers. Host Stephanie Ruhle began the segment:

On Tuesday the L.A. Times announced it is laying off more than 100 people. That is over 20 percent of its newsroom. In the last week alone, there have been job cuts at Sports Illustrated and Time and National Geographic. It has been even worse for local newspapers — over 130 closed or merged in the last year.

She then turned to Bump and posed: “Philip, as we like to say on this show, the truth matters but only if you hear it. We’re going into a general election. How important is it for people to know the truth and understand what’s actually happening in our country?”

Bump declared that journalists like himself “want to make sure we understand what’s happening in the world and convey it as well as we can to people,” and then took aim at right-leaning media:

…I think one understated thing — and then I think we all understand it, but others may not — is the extent to which there exists an alternate reality — a different universe of media which is telling you a very different story. I wrote about this last year for Nieman Lab for the Nieman School, and, you know, the point that I tried to make there was, there is a universe which is very big and very strong saying things that it wants to hear and its base wants to hear.

In the Nieman Lab piece, he suggested “there is now an omnipresent rumble of dismissal and hatred and violence, largely from the right.” (Violence?) Bump further complained:

And it’s bigger and stronger, and there’s been so little pushback on it that it makes the fake things they’re seeing seem more true because we have all of these more media outlets. And it makes true things that are happening in the outside world — here and in the The Washington Post and other places — makes that seem more false, right? Because we’ve so long let this sort of exist and not challenged it, we end up in the scenario where they don’t view what we’re doing as valuable because they have Fox News and they have Breitbart who’s telling them the real thing. And they have Donald Trump who’s telling them the real thing. That’s a problem.

Bump didn’t offer specifics of the “fake” news on Fox or Breitbart. It’s just assumed that anything pro-Trump is loaded with deceit. 

Ironically, it was just earlier the same day when, on the same network, MSNBC analyst Maria Hinojosa spread misinformation about border security to undermine presidential candidate Donald Trump in such a fashion that contrasts sharply with the more accurate reporting that is frequently seen on Fox News and rarely seen on outlets like CNN (where Bump also frequently appears) and on MSNBC.

Transcript follows:

MSNBC’s The 11th Hour

January 26, 2024

11:37 p.m. Eastern

STEPHANIE RUHLE: On Tuesday the L.A. Times announced it is laying off more than 100 people. That is over 20 percent of its newsroom. In the last week alone, there have been job cuts at Sports Illustrated and Time and National Geographic. It has been even worse for local newspapers — over 130 closed or merged in the last year. Our “Nightcap” is still with me. Let’s get into this. Philip, as we like to say on this show, the truth matters but only if you hear it.

PHILIP BUMP, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Right.

RUHLE: We’re going into a general election. How important is it for people to know the truth and understand what’s actually happening in our country?

BUMP: Yeah, I mean, it’s obviously critically important, right? I mean, this is why all of us do the work that we do. We want to make sure we understand what’s happening in the world and convey it as well as we can to people, right? You know, I think what’s happening in this moment — there’s a lot of conversations.

Obviously, the economics are bad on all these various things, but I think one understated thing — and then I think we all understand it, but others may not — is the extent to which there exists an alternate reality — a different universe of media which is telling you a very different story. I wrote about this last year for Nieman Lab for the Nieman School, and, you know, the point that I tried to make there was, there is a universe which is very big and very strong saying things that it wants to hear and its base wants to hear.

And it’s bigger and stronger, and there’s been so little pushback on it that it makes the fake things they’re seeing seem more true because we have all of these more media outlets. And it makes true things that are happening in the outside world — here and in the The Washington Post and other places — makes that seem more false, right, because we’ve so long let this sort of exist and not challenged it, we end up in the scenario where they don’t view what we’re doing as valuable because they have Fox News and they have Breitbart who’s telling them the real thing. And they have Donald Trump who’s telling them the real thing. That’s a problem.

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