That’s the subtitle of an article in PJ Media by Michael Walsh, a play on the Washington Post’s pretentious slogan. The title is “The end of media history and the last honest man,” a play on Francis Fukayama’s famous book.
I don’t know whether our democracy will die in the artificial sunlight emitted by the mainstream media — the fake news media, as many now call it — but MSM itself may be on its last legs. To borrow Walsh’s words, “a terrible day of reckoning” for American journalism may finally have arrived this week “with a series of unforced errors that has stripped bare the profession’s pretenses to objectivity and truth-seeking, and exposed them for the tawdry, politicized whores they really are.”
Walsh cites the false report by Brian Ross of ABC News that Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to contact the Russians as a candidate; false reports that Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Trump family records from Deutsche Bank; and, of course, CNN’s alleged email scoop that turned out to be meaningless because “the most trusted name in news” got the date of the supposed smoking gun email wrong.
That’s a bad week. But then, as Glenn Greenwald points out, the mainstream media has had a bad year:
Let’s just remind ourselves of how many times major media outlets have made humiliating, breathtaking errors on the Trump/Russia story, always in the same direction, toward the same political goals. Here is just a sample of incredibly inflammatory claims that traveled all over the internet before having to be corrected, walk-backed, or retracted – often long after the initial false claims spread, and where the corrections receive only a tiny fraction of the attention with which the initial false stories are lavished:
Russia hacked into the U.S. electric grid to deprive Americans of heat during winter ( Wash Post)
An anonymous group (PropOrNot) documented how major U.S. political sites are Kremlin agents ( Wash Post)
WikiLeaks has a long, documented relationship with Putin ( Guardian)
A secret server between Trump and a Russian bank has been discovered ( Slate)
RT hacked C-SPAN and caused disruption in its broadcast ( Fortune)
Crowdstrike finds Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app (Crowdstrike)
Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states ( multiple news outlets, echoing Homeland Security)
Links have been found between Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci and a Russian investment fund under investigation ( CNN)
That really is just a small sample.
Greenwald goes on to make a critical point:
So continually awful and misleading has this reporting been that even Vladimir Putin’s most devoted critics – such as Russian expatriate Masha Gessen, oppositional Russian journalists, and anti-Kremlin liberal activists in Moscow – are constantly warning that the U.S. media’s unhinged, ignorant, paranoid reporting on Russia is harming their cause in all sorts of ways, in the process destroying the credibility of the U.S. media in the eyes of Putin’s opposition (who – unlike Americans who have been fed a steady news and entertainment propaganda diet for decades about Russia -actually understand the realities of that country).
In other words, the mainstream media’s unhinged reporting is actually helping Putin. But the mainstream has never cared about Putin — not when Barack Obama was president and not now. It cares only about bringing down President Trump.
That obsession might well kill it.