In these times, with the president’s ongoing crusade against the “liberal media”, I have seen many on the Left turn to defend media networks such as CNN and NBC from attacks.
And it isn’t hard to see why; we feel as though his attacks are anti-democratic (and to some extent this is true), and these networks cast a critical light on Trump. I have seen many anti-Trump articles that seem to imply these networks are somehow honest and good, and that they are the only line of defense against so-called “fake news”. In this essay, I will try to prove that these television networks are not the bastion of Democracy they are made out to be, and why we need a third option besides alt-right conspiracies and corporate-controlled news in the information war.
CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and other “liberal” media outlets are presented as imperfect but credible sources of information that can be trusted over smaller publications. Indeed, there have been countless articles about how the internet has lead people to obtain information outside of the “trustworthy” mainstream. In fact, many even have blamed this phenomenon of internet news for Trump’s victory. However, how credible are these news stations, and what biases may they have? Let’s look the Washington Post, as just one example. It is perceived to be relatively unbiased. But a quick search will find that they are owned by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. How could you expect a newspaper owned by a rich investor to be unbiased in regards to Wall Street? MSNBC, a supposedly “liberal” network is owned by, who is is a board member for JP Morgan Chase. No wonder they hardly ever talk about the economy! How could they, as a subsidiary public corporation, talk about outsourcing, corruption and unions without angering their investors? Since when should media networks, who are there to provide us news, be bought and sold as corporate entities?
The corporate influence has shown. They refused to cover Sanders during the primaries (), and I had yet to see them cover any issue seriously impacting the working class until after Trump won. Instead, just like the Yellow Journalists of old, they would prefer to cover tweets and marches over real issues. While I would hesitate to call them “fake news”, they are certainly corporate news. The Huffington Post, owned by Verizon, was basically a tabloid with a laser-beam focus on Trump. Just to demonstrate this, is a Wayback link to the Huffington Post. Just look at the headlines; you can’t even scroll to spot where there isn’t an article parroting the part line sarcastically that Trump is a buffoon. They are like Fox. Same with Samantha Bee and John Oliver. And those who cannot relate to these ankle-deep smearing of Trump are going to turn to perceived right-wing equivalents.
These right-wing equivalents, rightfully regarded as fake news, are in a PR war with the mainstream media. And the problem is, there is no right side in this press battle. We need to come to terms with this. Now, there are some leftist journals that are credible, such as The Nation, but there aren’t enough. We need more alternative media sources that aren’t right-wing tabloids. This is an unfortunate reality we have to deal with.