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The ethical decline of American journalism
Media demonization of Israel and whitewashing of progressive antisemitism was the harbinger of its descent into anti-Trump absurdity.
by Matthew Hausman
The Jews are frequently analogized to the proverbial canary in the coal mine because their persecution often presages the abuse or mistreatment of others. And this theme is relevant when considering the transformation of American journalism into partisan advocacy.
In attacking Donald Trump and his supporters unrelentingly these last four years – and breathlessly promoting Barack Obama the previous eight – the American press has come to resemble the state-run media found in totalitarian society. Reporters who ignored Obama’s policy failures and antisemitic associations but trumpeted every anti-Trump collusion narrative totally abdicated the oversight function contemplated by the US Constitution. Though many are now realizing how far journalism has fallen, the profession’s ethical fluidity has been apparent for years in its skewed coverage of Jewish issues and disdain for Israel.
The media’s role in democracy is to keep the public informed and monitor the affairs of state, and the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press to facilitate these very functions. The media cannot fulfill this mission, however, when it engages in advocacy, infuses reportage with commentary, and distorts or suppresses facts contrary to a political agenda.
In eighteenth century Europe, the press was dubbed the “Fourth Estate” to distinguish it from the “Three Estates of the Realm” consisting of the clergy, nobility, and commoners. The idea was that the press could impartially report on the doings of all segments of society by eschewing partisan affiliation and staying above the fray. In the US, this sobriquet denoted the press’s independence from the three branches of government and signified its role as the watchdog of government and guardian of civil liberties...
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