Michael Shellenberger, of Twitter Files fame, has been busy lately, and not merely with the disgusting spectacle of pre-Musk Twitter. His latest thread, begun on January 31, 2023, extolled and excerpted a damning series in the Columbia Journalism Review. That series, The Press v. the President, discussed the love-hate relationship between the legacy press and President Donald J. Trump. It comes from a veteran journalist, and expresses his disgust at what the legacy media has made of itself. But that expression of disgust comes late – because the legacy press has done this sort of thing before. Perhaps not to the extent this series reveals, but bad enough – and indeed that’s why such a thing as Conservative News and Views came to exist.
The Press v. the President – the series
Jeff Gerth, Pulitzer prize winner and former reporter for The New York Times (1976-2005), wrote the series. It appears in CJR in four parts (one, two, three, four) with editor’s notes by Kyle Pope, editor-in-chief and publisher.
Mr. Shellenberger quotes Mr. Gerth extensively. CNAV would like to quote Mr. Pope:
No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate. The story, which included the Steele dossier and the Mueller report among other totemic moments, resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers. For Trump, the press’s pursuit of the Russia story convinced him that any sort of normal relationship with the press was impossible.
And it ought to convince anyone who values his liberty that the legacy press is worse than unreliable. CNAV has known this for years. To see a hint of insight from people who worked with and in that press is nothing short of remarkable. (Insight, in psychiatric parlance, is that inkling that a mentally disturbed person has that he is disturbed.)
Shellenberger’s colleague Matt Taibbi has covered Twitter’s role in the Russiagate affair already. Now Jeff Gerth has covered the role of the legacy press.
Herewith the thread from Mike Shellenberger, based on The Press v. the President by Jeff Gerth. This thread has 51 tweets; therefore CNAV presents the odd numbers, each (after the first) including the tweet before it.
Judge Alex Ferrer, host of a show called Whistleblower, had this to say yesterday about The Press v. the President:
But someone left a very bitter reply citing four news organs he said were “in the tank” for Trump.
Those four have relatively low market share, and censorship against them gets worse every day.
Another user cited a term the press used to describe themselves, that CNAV heard often:
But shortly after Mr. Shellenberger finished his thread, one user pointed this out:
CNAV has known this for a very long time.
Sadly, this thread shows that some people will always believe what they want to believe.
The Press v. the President – and the people
Your editor lost his trust in the legacy press (and radio and television) while watching two seminal events. First came the Watergate Affair, in which the press implied that all who had any property to guard from the sticky fingers of government, were just as guilty as were Richard M. Nixon and his team. Then came American defeat in Vietnam. We now know positively that Walter Cronkite, anchorman and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News, literally mischaracterized American victory in the Tet Offensive as an American defeat.
Your editor then watched the legacy media prop up President James Earl Carter, Jr. for four long years. This applied to The New York Times nine months out of the year, and Walter Cronkite in the summertime.
The election of Ronald Reagan turned into The Press v. the President for eight years. To paraphrase the CEO of Google,
Many people apparently don’t share the values that we have.
Accordingly your editor coined the term Fishwrap Axis for the legacy media. The American Spectator used that metaphor themselves.
All that to say that the legacy media destroyed their credibility decades ago. If Jeff Gerth didn’t see it before, that made him a frog in a stewpot. If he climbed out in 2005 and looked at the boiling water eighteen years later, that explains his shock. He’s correct – but he should have noticed it much earlier. It now remains for us to find, and build, alternative media.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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