By Jonathon Van Maren
A favorite talking point of media bobbleheads such as CNN’s Brian Stelter over the past couple of years, is the alleged danger that comes when the mainstream media is discredited. Conservative and populist politicians have been called out for targeting the media (something Donald Trump did to great effect) and, in many cases, simply refusing to speak to mainstream reporters.
“I just don’t even see what the point is anymore,” one Republican strategist told New York Magazine. “We know reporters always disagreed with the Republican Party, but it used to be you thought you could get a fair shake. Now every reporter, and every outlet, is just chasing resistance rage-clicks.”
Something similar is happening in Canada. In his recent bestseller The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks that Shook the World, Andrew Lawton noted that although mainstream media figures frequently sought to mischaracterize convoy participants (he highlighted the notable exceptions), convoy leaders exacerbated misunderstandings by simply refusing to speak to the mainstream press.
I saw this myself when I was in Ottawa—reporters from mainstream outlets were often told, in strong language, precisely where to go when they approached truckers with microphones or questions.
A key characteristic of the mainstream media is that, despite this broken trust, they appear to be utterly bewildered as to why they have become so loathed. Why does nobody trust them anymore? Why, as Brian Stelter plaintively asked, do more people rely on an MMA commentator and comedian like Joe Rogan than people like him?
There are many reasons, a dozen or so of which have been discussed in this space over the past several years. But an example that perfectly highlights why the media is fundamentally untrustworthy comes to us from the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the default style manual for most of the mainstream press. As National Review reported recently:
The Associated Press Stylebook, which for decades has served as the default style manual for most news organizations, has issued a “Topical Guide” for transgender coverage that encourages writers to use “unbiased language” and to “avoid false balance [by] giving a platform to unqualified claims or sources in the guise of balancing a story by including all views.”