MSM struggles to cover Trump because IOKIYAR

12 Jan 2017 12:40 am
Posted by: Donna

Here’s a tale of two tweets:

For the record, I like and agree with both of these journalists. Both statements are correct: The MSM is flummoxed by trump and the same MSM would be instantly un-flummoxed by a Democrat one tenth as corrupt and disgusting as he is.

As a refresher or for the uninitiated, IOKIYAR stands for “It’s okay if you are Republican”. It’s a close cousin to Both Siderism and, like it, is a dominant driver of how the media cover partisan politics. It’s such a prevalent ethos in the industry that even many good reporters become defensive and deny they’re doing it when you point it out to them.

And while this past election should have made it blindingly obvious to anyone – after two years of Trump being treated as an amusing curiosity and Clinton as a criminal who simply hadn’t been caught red handed yet – I still regularly encounter media people who refuse to acknowledge how their industry treats GOP politicians with utmost solicitude while scorching Democrats for minor or imaginary mistakes, often magnifying into enormous “scandals”, as we saw with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

You can argue that the Clinton-Trump contest was singular because both candidates are highly controversial public figures but I can point to many, many examples involving other Democrats and Republicans to refute that. One that comes immediately to mind is the Vice Presidential debate where Mike Pence, who is (what is now) a standard-issue conservative Republican, lied glibly through the entire thing and was declared the winner by pundits over Democrat Tim Kaine for being so calm and skillful at the lying. IOKIYAR!

One jaw-dropping irony of IOKIYAR coverage is that when there are allegations of wrongdoing by a Republican, as with the shocking trove of compromising information intelligence agents believe Russia has about the incoming President, is that rigorous norms of scrutiny and evidence come roaring back with alacrity. “Clouds of suspicion” are no longer an acceptable excuse to run with a story, as they were with the Clinton Foundation or the infamous email server.

In a brief interview in the Times newsroom on Tuesday evening, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said the paper would not publish the document because the allegations were “totally unsubstantiated.”

“We, like others, investigated the allegations and haven’t corroborated them, and we felt we’re not in the business of publishing things we can’t stand by,” Mr. Baquet said.

Recall that the Times had no problem using the execrable “Clinton Cash” as source material for negative, misleading coverage of Hillary Clinton.

I don’t believe this disparity in coverage is driven by malice and I can sympathize with the media being fearful of Republicans, who can be some nasty and vindictive people. But this trepidation toward the GOP is too often accompanied by a needless and ferocious level of hostility toward Democrats, I guess in the interest of appearing fair or maybe to get on the bully’s good side? I don’t know.

It’s rare that answers lie somewhere in the middle but, in this rare case, I’d say a decent one does exist between the poles of how Republicans and Democrats are covered. Until the glorious day wherein that happy middle is determined, I humbly suggest the following to reporters and pundits at a loss for how to cover Trump: Pretend he’s a Democrat and act accordingly. Seriously, treat him the way you treated Jimmy Carter, both Clintons, Al Gore, and Barack Obama. With Trump, the contempt will actually be warranted.

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