February 14th, 2018

The new news normal

Ben Shapiro writes about news coverage these days:

You’ve heard the phrase over and over again: “This isn’t normal.” We’ve heard it about President Trump’s rhetoric, and his Twitter usage. We’ve heard it about his attacks on the media, and we’ve heard it about his legislative ignorance. We’ve heard it about his running commentary on the Mueller investigation, and we’ve heard it about his bizarre stream-of-consciousness interviews…

All of this “non-normality,” however, has resulted in … a relatively normal situation. The economy’s booming. We’re on more solid foreign-policy ground than we were when President Obama was in office — by a long shot. The Constitution hasn’t been torn asunder. The structures of government are still in place. Trump may be toxic rhetorically, but his presidency hasn’t annihilated the norms that govern our society.

The same can’t be said, however, of the media institutions that seem so consumed with saving the republic from the specter of Trump. Like self-appointed superheroes so intent on stopping an alien monster that they end up destroying the entire city, our media are so focused on stopping Trump that they end up undermining both their credibility and faith in American institutions.

Agreed. And although that “credibility” of the media was in the cellar anyway even prior to the Trump phenomenon, it has sunk even further.

About two years ago I stopped being able to stomach the news as presented on TV. That wasn’t such a loss for me because I wasn’t especially fond of it to begin with and it was not my main source: print journalism and the internet (a few blogs) were. But at a certain point (and I’m not sure exactly when it hit me) I simply found TV news to be a worthless hive of repetitive and inaccurate garbage mixed with obvious bias, and I stopped watching it at all.

Now something similar has happened for me with print journalism. There’s long been a tendency in that direction but somehow a tipping point was reached, and it happened during the Trump administration. Nearly everything is opinion with an agenda, and that agenda is as York writes in that quote, and/or a social justice warrior type of identity politics and trashing of many principles I hold dear (“Anglo-American legal system,” anyone?). Mob rule, vigilante revenge, slur and rumor—and even the prevalence of those things in the MSM or public life were blamed on Trump (he’s hardly innocent but certainly not the cause).

I still read the news because I have to follow what’s happening, and it’s still possible to discern some of that through the fog. But I read less of it than I used to and I skip the most biased sources or fisk them. I’ve come to rely on a few relatively trusted individuals to give me more insight into the news if that’s what I’m looking for. And I try to focus on the more pleasant things in life.

21 Responses to “The new news normal”

  1. Sam L. Says:

    I gave up on TV and print “news” some years back. They’ve been stomping out the vintage where the grapes of lies have grown.

  2. mollyNH Says:

    Like you neo I have grown ever more disgusted with this Pravda news. They take the audience for imbeciles. Always an agenda. To think one time PM news was something people looked forward to.

  3. Griffin Says:

    The thing that bugs me the most is the rush to the most extreme take on anything involving Trump.

    I read somewhere the other day a hypothesis that for the media and the left at large they are on a constant quest for the next cause and that means they have to make everything into some major outrage that needs to be fought.

    It gets so tiring and it really is impossible to avoid because just little headlines can be so annoying. It really is indefensible.

  4. Paul R Says:

    Hi Neo

    I haven’t watched TV news in a long time, and recently visited my elderly uncle in San Francisco where I watched with him in the evening. My first and lasting impression is that they talk to us like children, and they do it very slowly. Like we’re stupid.

    Regarding print, for some time now I’ve been following several blogs, like you and Powerline, and get the news distilled through them. People who’s judgement and opinion I’ve grown to appreciate and trust. I’ll skim headlines, but rarely read mainstream media news stories. I do enjoy reading conservative writers on my own, but even them, after a while, you know what they’re going to say.

  5. miklos000rosza Says:

    The news media are the worst, most dire enemy we now face here in Western Civilization. More and more people realize this. I personally don’t have a solution to the problem they present.

  6. Manju Says:

    I’m not sure how to square this piece with the fact that Trump and his allies are arguing that the Constitution has been “torn asunder”. We saw this early on: the election was rigged against Trump and millions casted ballots illegally for Clinton.

    The latter went nowhere but the former has morphed into a spectacular Deep State conspiracy theory involving the entire Intelligence leadership, including Republicans and Trump appointees.

    If Trump is correct then “the structures of government” are not really “still in place.” The “norms” have indeed been “annihilated” and the only way to proceed is to clean house.

    Shapiro appears to be arguing that Trump is incorrect or lying and this is just “rhetoric”. But that’s not the consensus on this blog. We are not in a “relatively normal situation”, Trump inheriting the Obama Recovery none-withstanding.

    The argument you guys have been making (to various degrees) is that we are indeed on the cusp of a constitutional crises, one that the media is ignoring. That’s very different from what Shapiro appears to be saying.

  7. steve walsh Says:

    Me too. This is one of the places I come to for interesting and reasoned takes on news and public matters. Also for the ballet education. And most of the comments.

    I gave up on print and televised news quite a long time ago. It happened gradually but the source of my abandonment was the recognition that too much of the ‘news’ was delivered in such a way as to create outrage. I figured this was the method they decided to use to attract readers and watchers – click bait and all that. For my own mental health I decided to refuse to participate in the outrage olympics they put on.

    My approach is working. I’m still reasonably well informed about current events, and generally at peace emotionally.

  8. OlderandWheezier Says:

    Just because the structures are still in place, Manju, doesn’t mean that they’re not infested with termites.

    At least under the current administration (as far as we know, anyway) such arms of the government haven’t been weaponized, as they were under the prior one.

    But when party leaders and millions of their sheep refuse to accept the results of – and attempt to undermine – the results of a national election, and get the cooperation of an overwhelming majority of networks and so-called journalists, calling it a ‘constitutional crisis’ might be an understatement.

  9. Ymar Sakar Says:

    About two years ago I stopped being able to stomach the news as presented on TV.

    Only 2 years, Neo. If I recall, I was at that point in 2007. Which would mean it is quite a bit more than 2 years by now.
    But at a certain point (and I’m not sure exactly when it hit me) I simply found TV news to be a worthless hive of repetitive and inaccurate garbage mixed with obvious bias, and I stopped watching it at all.

    The toxicity eventually reaches the max tipping point for people.

    As for our steamed bun Manju, we won’t need the DS for his retirement bennies. Just the LA is enough to employ it under their umbrella.miklos000rosza Says:
    February 14th, 2018 at 4:08 pm
    The news media are the worst, most dire enemy we now face here in Western Civilization. More and more people realize this. I personally don’t have a solution to the problem they present.

    Oh they got a lot more stuff ready to throw at us than the weaklings at the MSM propaganda arms of puppets under puppets under even more puppets.

    As for a solution, death is a temporary though effective one.

  10. Gary D. G. Says:

    My problem is that I fail to understand the “Why” of it?
    Are the media attempting to provoke an armed insurrection?

  11. om Says:

    Manju:

    Try to remember when commenting that “you guys” is one of the marks of the troll (not the mark of the beast) on this blog. “Is you is or is you ain’t…” a troll? Quote from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou – Homer Stokes.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    My take is that the MSM is fully committed to its use as a propaganda tool of the Left in contributing to the fundamental cultural and political transformation of America.

    Their ideological blinders utterly prevent them from grasping the insight Orwell expressed when he observed that, “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire, by people who don’t even know that fire is hot”

    Liberal media’s apologia for Islam, China, Cuba and now N. Korea at the Olympics, along with its blackout of news from Venezuela are proof positive that they are willfully blind to the predictable repercussions for them should the America they hate ever be ‘transformed’ in the way they desire.

  13. huxley Says:

    Try to remember when commenting that “you guys” is one of the marks of the troll… –om

    Manju: What om said.

    If you want to catch us — neo and her commenters — on your charges, you’d better supply full quotes and cites, rather than your scattered “you guys” stuff.

    Neo’s site is not some peaceable kingdom of lockstep fascists as people like you prefer to imagine. It’s not that simple and, if you are so clueless you don’t notice, there’s a lot disagreement and “nuance” here.

  14. huxley Says:

    “Is you is or is you ain’t…” a troll? Quote from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou – Homer Stokes.

    om: Further back that’s from Louis Jordan. I danced to it in during the great retro swing revival in the late nineties.

    Here’s the Tom and Jerry version:

    Is you is or is you ain’t my baby…”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYkJ0M1bUIU

    If you are male, that’s the absolutely crucial dating question.

  15. huxley Says:

    Maybe if you aren’t male as well….

  16. huxley Says:

    Liberal media’s apologia for Islam, China, Cuba and now N. Korea at the Olympics, along with its blackout of news from Venezuela are proof positive that they are willfully blind to the predictable repercussions for them should the America they hate ever be ‘transformed’ in the way they desire.

    GB: Hard to disagree.

    I’m gobsmacked, as Andrew Sullivan used to say and maybe still does when it comes to Trump and Republicans.

  17. huxley Says:

    Watching the Tom and Jerry “Is you is…” cartoon is interesting, given current SJW parameters.

    Tom, the cat, is a male, whom American white men of the time could identify with, yet he is singing in a clearly black voice.

    Jerry, the mouse, is ordinarily male, but here is playing the female sweetheart to Tom, the male cat.

    Talk about transgressive!

    Yet there were no riots and boycotts over this. Somehow backward, deplorable Americans in 1946 could handle it all and enjoy it.

  18. Lorenz Gude Says:

    It isn’t how long people have stopped watching TV news, and reading print for that matter – it is the fact that hey have wised up to the scam. I used to lecture in media studies back in the 80s based on McLuhan not the French Postmodernists. One of the main points I used to make was that in TV news the video portion fools people into believing that they have witnessed the event and then swallow the verbal portion, not realising that the video has been shot and cut to fit ‘the narrative’. Emotionally we all half believe we have seen the Twin Towers fall. A clip I saw was taken from the back of a cafe looking toward a side street near the Twin Towers. The cloud of dust roars past the glass shopfront and a woman -just one – screams. She had a first person experience, we had a mediated experience, but emotionally we are convinced we witnessed the event. That’s the Matrix. Here is the Red Pill. The primary intent of all TV news is to manipulate us emotionally by carefully editing the moving pictures and then fitting the words to confirm what we mistakenly believe we have just experienced. It gets worse. Today Facebook is the walled garden where people share many emotional experiences and create bespoke matrices of belief manipulated by algorithmic whizz kids. To get a feel for where this is going all you need to know is that Angela Merkel was overheard by an open mike asking Mark Zuckerberg if he suppress people opposing her immigration policies on Facebook. He replied: “We’re working on it'”

  19. ConceptJunkie Says:

    Like you Neo, I rely on a few trusted sources for commentary and information, and your site is one of the few I look at every day. Even though you’re not a journalist, per se, (I wouldn’t wish the insult of that appellation upon you), you are knowledgeable and very intelligent, and I find your commentary insightful and informative, and the comments are always interesting as well.

  20. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Lorenz Gude Says:

    Nothing hit WTC 7, yet it also “fell down”.

    Gary D. G. Says:
    February 14th, 2018 at 7:41 pm
    My problem is that I fail to understand the “Why” of it?
    Are the media attempting to provoke an armed insurrection?

    The MSM does what they do because they are under orders to do so. Has nothing to do with them intending to provoke, they are merely tools. Tools don’t have intentions. If they do, they call them demonic guns and swords.

  21. Let's Review 41: Wake Up and Smell the GSR - American Digest Says:

    […] The new news normal About two years ago I stopped being able to stomach the news as presented on TV. That wasn’€™t such a loss for me because I wasn’t especially fond of it to begin with and it was not my main source: print journalism and the internet (a few blogs) were. But at a certain point (and I’m not sure exactly when it hit me) I simply found TV news to be a worthless hive of repetitive and inaccurate garbage mixed with obvious bias, and I stopped watching it at all. […]

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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