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Nelson: The media bias is overwhelming

mugging: Ross Nelson, columnist;

Thursday, August 16th, hundreds of newspapers across the land gathered themselves to editorially protest President Trump's tirades against "fake news" and the media being "the enemy of the people." The North Dakota version cites quotidian news such as Mary Jo and Billy Bob getting married and the like as instances of truthful news, but I can't quite imagine that those and other flyover media were what Trump referred to. In fact, his list of major media outlets was quite specific and pretty accurate for all his bombast: their bias has been overwhelming.

Take the Washington Post, for example. It eagerly swallowed whole the baloney dished out by a website called "PropOrNot," which claimed there was a vast Russian misinformation effort disseminated by both liberal and conservative sites. The Post couldn't be bothered to fact-check the website or its claim, which Glenn Greenwald (no conservative he) called "reckless and unproven." Because the Post couldn't accept the outcome of the presidential election it couldn't be bothered to critically eye or vet a release that was so consonant with its thinking.

Not that the Post hadn't done this elsewhere. Still upset that Trump won, it ran with the story that Russia had hacked Vermont's electrical grid without calling either of the state's two utilities. The story was false and the Post had to correct the story within 90 minutes of its release, it was so flawed, but the lie was well on its way around the world. Unbiased? Bunk.

The New York Times showed its left hand before the presidential election. Its media columnist, Jim Rutenberg, wrote in August 2016 that "if you view a Trump presidency as something that's potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you've ever been to being oppositional." In other words, objective reporting on a monster like Trump? Fat chance.

I listen somewhat regularly to National Public Radio and Prairie Public Radio and can only scoff at their claim of unbiased reporting. Example: NPR reported that U.S. Representative Chris Collins, R-N.Y., was indicted for insider trading. So far, so good. But at the end of the news item the reporter entirely gratuitously remarked that Collins was an early Trump supporter. Why? Evidently so that we may infer that only ne'er-do-wells and shady types would fall in with Trump. Whether Collins drank Coke or Pepsi has the same relevance in this criminal indictment as to who he supported, but the media, which despise Trump almost to a man and woman simply can't let an opportunity pass without taking a shot.

I'm a newspaper reader. I used to subscribe to several but now only two. I've had to learn to skeptically view newspapers and other media that I read and hear and to carefully rake out useful kernels from the muck. England now has and early America had the better system: a press that was openly biased one way or the other, letting the reader weigh and choose. What we have now is bigotry in sheep's clothing.

Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page.

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