Needed: A Little More Experience And A Little Less Snappy Banter

CNN’s media maven,  Brian Stelter, has suggested that the public needs to be skeptical of both the President and the media’s coverage of the President.   The house is on fire, and he wants to conduct an academic argument about which way to point the hose.

John Berman and Poppy Harlow are sitting there taking it all in, treating the 31 year old Stelter as though he’s some great sage, even though he hadn’t been born when the Watergate hearings took place.   He would have been nine  during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.   Give me a break.

The press and the intelligence community may be the only bodies standing between the nation and fascism.   The press needs all the support it can get right now to deal with the Administration’s lies and constant deflection of the issues.   The legitimate press is under attack.  Stelter, and others of his generation, may not have been around long enough to understand what’s really going on.   They don’t have the advantage of having lived through the Nixon years and more.  Bill Carter, was there when Nixon and Agnew tried to pin it all on the “nattering nabobs of negativism” in the press.  He remembers Cronkite going to Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and Dan Ellsberg.  He knows better.   He was on the show and he should have said something.   A media critic himself, perhaps he felt constrained against speaking out against a colleague.   Perhaps it would have impacted his tenure with CNN.   Or maybe they just ran out of time.

Stelter, needs to sort out the mainstream “real” media covering the White House from all the rest of what has become an explosion of media outlets, particularly those interested in taking sides politically or going for entertainment value.  No one is infallible.  Everyone is capable of making a mistake.   But I trust the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CBS News and a few other outlets to give me an objective and fair version of what’s going on.

There remains no substitute for experience.  No amount of book learning, no number of  hours sitting in a classroom listening to someone tell you how something is done, or how it feels when it’s done to you.  Too many younger people with too little experience moving up the tv news food chain way too fast is part of the reason television news has lost so much of its credibility, something the networks are now in a position to recover from, if they fully resume their proper role of national watchdog.

To do that, they need to bring back a few more less beautiful but more experienced folks, like Carl Bernstein.   Some of the younger reporters out there are excellent.  I admire the hell out of the job they’re doing, but there remains no substitute for experience. Right now we need both, the vigor of youth and the power of experience, in an industry that’s obsessed with an advertiser-driven focus on selling products to younger market.

The consequences for a nation which increasingly can’t differentiate between valid and “fake” news are too severe for anyone to think otherwise.

2 thoughts on “Needed: A Little More Experience And A Little Less Snappy Banter”

  1. Having worked as a member of the White House press corps for a decade — under Reagan, Bush One and Clinton — I can assure you that they are a smug, self-important bunch, who hate being challenged by any President, especially a Republican. With a few exceptions, including FOX News and the Wall Street Journal, the White House reporters have a deep liberal bias, and they follow a powerful herd instinct, determined by the “story of the day” laid down by the news bosses at the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times and the major news networks. Read NYT or WP, watch NBC/MSNBC or CBS , and you’re getting a steady diet of Left-Spin, aimed at bashing the Right-Wing in the White House, Congress and the Courts. Conversely, you get only Right-Spin from Fox, WSG and Rush Limbaugh. In the so-called “middle media” of ABC and CNN, you get a mostly Left-leaning story line, trying to disguise itself as fair, even-handed. A poll of thousands of American reporters in DC about 20 years ago found that 90 percent were registered Democrats, 5 percent Republicans and 5 percent Unaffilliated. It hasn’t changed, except that FOX now has more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined.

    Agree with you, Ron, that a lot of media pipsqueaks like Brian Stelter have undeserved “expert” status, but disagree with you about your contention that political messaging has essentially changed from inside the Beltway. Yes, it’s raw meat from Trump to his redneck populist base — who love his media bashing — but Leftist Media Spin is the same old drumbeat we always get from those “nattering nabobs of negativism” that Agnew coined 40-some years ago.

    Ask yourself this: Why does media pay so much for Neilsen ratings five times a year? Because media is a BUSINESS, and every media outlet, across the spectrum wants to know exactly who its audience is, what they want to read, hear and see, and how best to feed them their daily diet of opinion-confirming “news.” Ratings and Revenues, Ron, are the only numbers that matter.

    Every Old Media and New (on-liine) Media outlet has a strong, business-based editorial drive behind every story, and reporters are expected to be the “soldiers” of the company cause. Washington has always been corrupt, and media will always be complicit.

  2. I grew up in television news – a blonde who smiled too much. It was new and exciting – even worked on story like Agnew, Mandel, but most stories I would turn over to Jack Bowden, Ron Olsen, Andy Barth and it was fun. Now I’m panic-stricken – want to turn to Jim Nash, Washington Post, CBS, NY Times – Need those who are experienced. Fun time is over – news is serious stuff. I love this country and don’t want to lose it – we need smart and experienced reporters. I pray what I’m looking for is out there, and that they will come to serve.

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