Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Top Progressive Journalism Magazine Condemns Media’s Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax

Why did the media become so biased?

The media’s mishandling of Russiagate is responsible for declining trust in the media, argues a major four-part series in the progressive magazine, The Columbia Journalism Review. “Before the 2016 election, most Americans trusted the traditional media and the trend was positive,” notes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jeff Gerth. “Today, the US media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — among forty-six nations.” A big part of the reason for that, Gerth suggests, was a barrage of one-sided media coverage since 2016 falsely claiming that President Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election, sometimes referred to as Russiagate.

At the end of the series, Gerth explained why he wrote it. “I’ve avoided opining in my more than 50 years as a reporter,” he writes. “This time, however, I felt obligated to weigh in. Why? Because I am worried about journalism’s declining credibility and society’s increasing polarization…. journalism’s primary missions, informing the public and holding powerful interests accountable, have been undermined by the erosion of journalistic norms and the media’s own lack of transparency about its work.”

After the 2016 presidential election, writes Gerth, “the Times produced a steady stream of stories about whether Trump conspired with Russians to win the election without knowing whether the allegation was actually true…. Paul Krugman, in his Times column called Trump the ‘Siberian candidate,’ citing the [alleged] ‘watering down’ of the [GOP] platform [by Trump to make it less anti-Russia]. Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of The Atlantic, labeled Trump a ‘de facto agent’ of Putin.”


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