Professor Joseph Holt isn’t employed by CNN, but the network was kind enough to give him a platform for his recent editorial defending the media from President Trump’s attacks. We’re sure that Holt, who teaches ethics at the University of Notre Dame, will have a cushy CNN job waiting on him whenever he wants to get out of the classroom. There’s nothing, after all, that CNN likes to do more than toot their own horn, lambast the president, and pretend that their version of journalism is the most important thing in the free world. Holt managed to touch all three bases in a single essay.
But the most outrageous part of Holt’s op-ed was not his defense of the media; it was this part, where he actually went so far as to compare reporters like Jim Acosta to the brave men and women of the United States military.
“We thank soldiers for their service because they devote themselves to protecting our freedoms, and we should,” Holt wrote. “But we should also thank the media for the same reason — especially when the stakes have never been higher.”
You know Brian Stelter and Wolf Blitzer were grinning and patting each other on the back after reading that gem. Maybe they even saluted each other. They probably should have, actually, because no one else is going to do it.
We’re not denying that responsible, courageous journalism is important to the fabric of our democracy. The media – when it’s actually doing its job – is absolutely essential when it comes to limiting government power, uncovering scandal, and keeping politicians accountable to the public. No question about it.
But let’s not go overboard here.
“Journalists are uniquely qualified to perform that vital role of discovering truth and combating falsehood,” he wrote. “They have the unique skills, training and resources required; the courage and commitment needed; and an obligation under a demanding code of journalistic ethics to be responsible for the accuracy and fairness of their statements in a way that other sources of news and opinions not bound by the code — including a President who impressively averages 7.6 mistruths a day — are not.”
Stop the presses. First of all, where is Holt getting that last figure? Oh right, from the same media that has been at war with this president from the very beginning of his campaign.
As for the rest of this tripe, let’s get serious. If there is a “demanding code of journalistic ethics” in place at CNN, it has been lost under a dusty cabinet somewhere or traded in for a Hollywood Style Guide: “How to Write Terrific Villains and Heroes.” What they’re doing at CNN (and they aren’t the only ones) can’t even be called journalism anymore. It’s WWE-esque theater, and Jim Acosta thinks he’s Hulk Hogan.
By peddling fake news with an agenda, the American mainstream media has indeed become the enemy of the people, just as Trump says. They certainly do NOT have America’s best interests at heart. Excellent journalists still abound, and they may take rightful exception to being thrown into the same category as the clowns on cable TV (or the ones scribbling fiction at Buzzfeed), but CNN has no right to complain. They’ve earned every bit of the president’s scorn – and the public’s.