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Authored by Jonathan Turley,

The media is sorry . . . sort of. After the shocking appearance of President Joe Biden in the presidential debate, the public has turned its attention to the press which has, again, buried a major scandal for years. According to CNN, the reporters at the White House are really, really sorry but explained that it was the “right-wing media” that prompted them to avoid the story. It is a telling admission that, yet again, reporters chose not to report on a story because they wanted to frame the news for political purposes. It is precisely the pattern that I discuss in my new book The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage where the media now rejects objectivity and neutrality as core values in journalism.

For years, there have been questions about President Joe Biden’s mental and physical decline. Those concerns reached their apex when Special Counsel Robert Hur issued his report. While finding that Biden had unlawfully retained and mishandled classified material for decades, he concluded that prosecution would be difficult because a jury would be swayed by the appearance of an elderly man with declining memory.

The media pounced and attacked Hur while media figures attested to the President’s acuity and ability. Then, as videos repeatedly surfaced showing the President confused and fragile, the media declared them “cheap fakes” and attacked Fox News and other outlets for airing them even though Fox noted that the clips were unedited. (For full disclosure, I am a Fox News analyst). Virtually every news outlet aired the attack with politicians, pundits, and celebrities attesting that the President was sharp and engaged.

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough stated

“start your tape right now because I’m about to tell you the truth. And F— you if you can’t handle the truth. This version of Biden intellectually, analytically, is the best Biden ever. Not a close second. And I have known him for years…If it weren’t the truth I wouldn’t say it.”

Then the presidential debate happened and, after years of being protected by staff, tens of millions of people watched the president struggle to stay focused and responsive.

So, as an embarrassed press struggled to explain the most recent belated disclosure, the reason is the “right-wing press” and the need to counter their narratives.

While saying that reporters “are now expressing regret,” CNN explains that “some members of the White House press corps who have regular exposure to President Biden are now admitting they were “turned off” from exposing his mental decline before last week’s debate in part because of the attention it has got from ‘right-wing media.’”

It was just part of shaping the news, which is now the priority in journalism.

A recent series of interviews with over 75 media leaders by Leonard Downie Jr., former Washington Post executive editor, and Andrew Heyward, former CBS News president, reaffirmed this shift. As Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, editor-in-chief at the San Francisco Chronicle, stated: “Objectivity has got to go.”

But that objectivity seems to depend heavily upon what ideology you are advocating.

We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. Writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy.

In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

Lauren Wolfe, the fired freelance editor for the New York Times, has not only gone public to defend her pro-Biden tweet but published a piece titled I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.” 

Former New York Times writer (and now Howard University Journalism Professor) Nikole Hannah-Jones is a leading voice for advocacy journalism.

Indeed, Hannah-Jones has declared all journalism is activism.”

The problem comes with these little embarrassing moments when the public suddenly sees that prior coverage was false. Whether it is the Russian collusion story (for which reporters received Pulitzer Prizes) or the Hunter Biden laptop or the Lafayette Park photo shoot or the migrant whipping controversy, there is an inescapable pattern of omission and misdirection. This is why media outlets are collapsing as the public seeks other sources for information.

As I previously wrote, the mantra “Let’s Go Brandon!” was embraced by millions as a criticism as much of the media as President Biden.  It derives from an Oct. 2 interview with race-car driver Brandon Brown after he won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race. During the interview, NBC reporter Kelli Stavast’s questions were drowned out by loud-and-clear chants of “F*** Joe Biden.” Stavast quickly and inexplicably declared, “You can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’”

So, in expressing guilt for not pursuing the President’s mental and physical decline, the media is left with explaining that they are just doing what they are trained to do in the new J Schools. They were countering conservatives and framing the news.

This is why Washington Post publisher and CEO William Lewis is under attack for dropping a truth bomb on the staff of the Post when he told them:

“We are going to turn this thing around, but let’s not sugarcoat it. It needs turning around,” Lewis said.

“We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. Right. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore.”

Staff is now trying to get him fired.


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