This past weekend, Democrats, lobbyists and corporate executives all traveled to Puerto Rico to attend the local opening of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” The event was organized by BoldPAC, the fundraising arm for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The mainstream media covered it as important business meant to renew focus on issues facing the island and ensure that it would no longer be taken for granted by the Trump administration.
In reality, the Democrats and their groupies stayed at an expensive resort, hung out with celebrities, and enjoyed world-class meals. But those details weren’t included in the press reports, of course.
Instead, the press diverted its attention to its favorite target: the president. They went after him for serving fast food to the NCAA Football Champion Clemson Tigers during their White House visit on Monday.
The Washington Post, in particular, seemed obsessed with this story, going so far as to have Philip Bump write a lengthy analysis of the table layout, the food items, and the different fast-food chains they came from. Bump then extrapolated an estimated total cost of the luncheon.
Keep in mind, all of this was done in a serious manner and was meant to belittle and mock the president.
Now for a moment, suspend your disbelief and imagine an alternate universe wherein the press believes in the values of our Founding Fathers.
In this alternate universe, they report that the ruling class of politicians were on a tropical island off the mainland, indulging themselves in excess, while the government was partially shutdown, workers were missing paychecks, and citizens were wanting for services.
They report that meanwhile, the president of the United States stayed back at his office, and, seeing that a commitment to celebrate a group of young American champions was about to be broken because there was no staff or funding to serve them, opened his own wallet and made sure that the deserving group was properly welcomed and recognized at the White House.
Of course, no one read or heard that version because we live in a universe where the press has lost all sense of balance, perspective, objectivity, and honesty.
Yes, honesty. When you deliberately distort and selectively present the truth, you lie. By not reporting the details of the Democrats’ early spring break adventure, and by failing to dig into the money and the people involved in it, the press is lying to the public. Their job is to find out the facts, all of the facts, and present them to the American people – not to select which facts they want the people to know, or worse, just ignore certain stories entirely.
But this is exactly what the press does, and they do it all the time. They do it when they cover the border and fail to share accounts from Border Patrol agents. They do it when they only interview furloughed government workers who are complaining and none who are supporting the president. They do it when they present a climate change report about the world ending and never once interview one of the thousands of serious scientists who disagree.
What the press in this universe does is make stories and ignore stories.
The granddaddy of dishonest American journalists, William Randolph Hearst, once famously wrote to his illustrator Frederic Remington, “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.” A year later he got his wish with the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. American journalism has become a bit more refined in the century-plus since: “You furnish the Big Macs, I’ll protect our benefactors.”