Whoever ends up winning the presidential election, the loser will be the mainstream press, which has embarrassed itself in its rush to find a new place in the digital era, suffering the indignity of becoming the apologist and mouthpiece for the Democrat Party.
Instead of political journalism carving out a new niche for itself, it rather has regressed to an 1800s journalism model of partisanship. That model continued even into the 20th Century in some places. Except today, no balance exists from the other side.
Political awareness on the Waltz Family farm near Hume, Ill., started virtually in the cradle. Those post-World War II days featured both morning and afternoon rural mail deliveries by the Postal Service, with the afternoon newspapers of the era arriving with the afternoon mail in the mailbox at the end of the lane.
I remember more than once running alongside my Dad down the lane and back up as he retrieved the afternoon mail delivery, and the Danville (Ill.) Commercial-News, even in the 1950s a Gannett paper, before the chain’s expansion. I remember him cursing, “this damned Republican paper,” as he skimmed both its news and editorial pages as we walked back up the farm lane. Let me just say, it was a frequent complaint.
Unlike Dad, I have nothing bad to say about the Commercial-News, which still is published, and an editor of which played a major role in the beginnings of my career a half-century ago.
Like Dad, I’m a lifelong registered Democrat, albeit an independent voter, and frankly I’m embarrassed for my party and my profession in how the mainstream press has rolled over for the Democrats like a celebrity-obsessed teeny-bopper watching “ET” on CBS.
Rush Limbaugh, I read, once described Bill Clinton’s attractiveness to women voters as “the arousal factor,” and today the entire Democrat ticket seems to have that appeal to the mainstream press.
I’m a fan of neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump, and I shudder at the thought of either of them as our next president of the United States.
But as much as the mainstream press has been repulsed by the crudeness and failures of personal judgment of Mr. Trump, it seems to have excused even more serious failures of professional and personal judgment with equally and proportionally significant flaws in character and judgment of Mrs. Clinton, even to the point of embracing her.
CNN harbored Donna Brazile, who was secretly slipping questions to Hillary Clinton’s people that Brazile knew would be asked on CNN in TV debates. George Stephanopoulos was playing the fair and impartial news anchor on ABC, but secretly making donations to The Clinton Foundation where he also served as an official panelist and moderator on many occasions — undisclosed even today to his TV viewing audience.
On the other side, when the ostensibly objective PBS found Juan Williams sharing a perspective that seemed a tiny bit anti-Democrat, a concern about Muslim Jihadi terrorism in American life, he was summarily dismissed with the most denigrating comments from management, because he didn’t hug the Muslim population.
But even these headline-grabbers are not my biggest concern.
I read 5 papers most days: the News Journal, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post (which I buy when I can, and which I read online when I can’t). Sometimes, as an antidote to the insanity, two or three times a month, I just have to go to Walgreen’s and buy the New York Post!
Like lemon slices infused into ice water that create a distinct taste, a pro-Democrat agenda today survives and thrives in the Mainstream Press.
While not every story has such a bias to Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats, aside from perhaps the Post, at least in the mainstream media, I could not recall when I’ve seen a story feature the kind of warm snuggly affection for Mr. Trump that it regularly showers upon Mrs. Clinton.
I don’t expect the mainstream press to send a kiss to the Trump camp any more than I’d expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to put New England Patriots QB Tom Brady on his “nice boys’ list” next month for Christmas.
But, oh, how the mighty have fallen, in the indignity of being the apologist for the indefensible and the irredeemable.