LETTER: Suggests alternate media sources for news

To the Editor:

A great deal of “news” is generated by Mainstream Media (MSM) reporting on polls. Reports about President Trump’s low approval rating have been unceasing. MSM reported on it repeatedly just as they reported — for 17 months — that he could never ever win the nomination for presidency.

They punctuated that refrain with “He’s really done it now. His candidacy is over.” and there’s “no road to 270 for Donald Trump.”

Don’t you wonder at the hutzpah of people who were wrong for so long continuing unabashed down the same road? With no explanation of how they got it so dramatically wrong, why would a thoughtful person take seriously what polls show or what the MSM says about Russia or the executive order on immigration or abortion or protest marches or anything else?   

Lack of objectivity and deliberate bias in the MSM was documented in three excellent books early in this century: Hoodwinking the Nation by Julian Simon (1999), Coloring the News by William McGowan (2001), and Bias by Bernard Goldberg (2002).

During 2002-03 New York Times reporter Jayson Blair published over 30 fraudulent articles before his editorial supervisors at the gray lady took note.  Little has changed. A meticulous new study by the Media Research Center found that 88% of broadcast news coverage of President Trump and his team during the first 30 days of office was hostile — not just negative, but hostile. So much for objective reporting.

Fortunately, MSM outlets are not our only options. In addition to live coverage of White House press conferences, congressional hearings and other important events on YouTube and C-Span, there are scores of independent news sources. One particularly interesting one is JustFactsDaily.com, but seek out your own alternatives and supplements. We must all search for truth. We rely on the MSM at our own risk.

Sherry L. Harris

Ridgeway Road

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  • Jamie Weinstein

    Ms. Harris has a point, in that the respectable news outlets (I refuse to use the epithet ‘MSM’) mostly got it wrong when calling the election. However, the polls weren’t wrong. Most of the unbiased polls that I saw were comfortably within the margin of error, meaning the election could have swung in either direction. The news outlets may have messed up on their prediction which way it would swing but the polls mostly got it right that it was a tossup. If you look at the popular vote, it comes very close to how the polls show it was going to be, especially as we got closer and closer to election day.

    Polling is a difficult and messy process and no one should ever think that polls are perfect predictions. But, they provide the best insight possible into the thoughts of a large group of disparate people. FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver’s site, is probably the best at aggregating the polls, crunching the statistical data, and providing explanation as best as can be explained without bias. Yes, FiveThirtyEight had Hillary ahead with an approximately 60% chance to win but it’s important to understand that that number doesn’t represent 60% of voters voting for Hillary (a dead lock to win). It represents a ‘chance to win’ in which case Trump, at 40%, had a *really good shot* to take it. It’s very nearly a coin flip at that point and Trump, while doing much better than the Democrats expected in the rust belt, didn’t exactly ‘run the table’. So I would argue the polls are quite good considering a nation of 330 million people and 180 million voters.

    As for the rest of this letter, I took a look at JustFactsDaily.com. Not suprisingly, considering Ms. Harris’ politics, all of the “fact seeking” articles have a decidedly pro-right wing bent. I couldn’t find a single article that supported a Democratic platform or a leftist position. Just by sheer numbers, the Democrats and leftists can’t be wrong about EVERYTHING.

    While I appreciate Ms. Harris’ zeal and don’t fault her for her enthusiasm, perhaps she is unaware of her own biases.

    • Sherry Harris

      Completely aware, Jaimie. One cannot possibly escape the news coverage that is biased to the left as it is virtually all of the mainstream coverage. I have tried at times to shut the worst of it out, but it is ubiquitous. On the other hand, one must seek the opposing views. Hence my choice of alternatives.

      And not to pick, but Mainstream Media is an identifier. If it seems like an epithet, the cause for that should be fairly obvious. The term “respectable media” is, of course, only your opinion.

      I do appreciate your comments about the polls. It is certainly true that biased reporting did not present the polls objectively. They were, however, still wrong over a significant period of time.

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