In the sixth month of Donald Trump’s presidency, we are witnessing an unprecedented meltdown of much of the media. Standards have been tossed overboard in a frenzy to bring down the president.
Trump, like all presidents, deserves coverage that is skeptical and tough, but also fair. That’s not what he’s getting.
What started as bias against him has become a cancer that is consuming the best and brightest. In rough biblical justice, media attempts to destroy the president are boomeranging and leaving their reputations in tatters.
He accuses them of publishing fake news, and they respond with such blind hatred that they end up publishing fake news. That’ll show him.
CNN is suffering an especially bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome, even trying to make a virtue of its hostility to the president. In doing so, executives conveniently confuse animus with professional skepticism, and cite growing audiences as proof of their good judgment.
The bottom line matters, and there is certainly an audience for hating Trump all the time. But facts and fairness separate major news organizations from any other business looking to make a buck, and a commitment to them creates credibility and public trust.
That’s how CNN sold itself for years — boring but trustworthy. Now it’s boring and untrustworthy.
For all its bravado, the network might be having doubts about its course. Its apology and retraction of a story connecting a Trump associate to a Russia investment fund, and the resignation of three journalists involved suggests the network fears it has lost control of its own agenda. It also issued a special edict barring all Russia coverage without approval from top bosses.