President Trump has complained that “FoxNews is doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd.” Trump added:
Sure, there are some truly GREAT people on Fox, but you also have some real “garbage” littered all over the network, people like Dummy Juan Williams, Schumerite Chris Hahn, Richard Goodstein, Donna Brazile, Niel Cavuto, and many others. They repeat the worst of the Democrat speaking points, and lies. All of the good is totally nullified, and more. Net Result = BAD! CNN & MSDNC are all in for the Do Nothing Democrats! Fox WAS Great!
The too easy response to Trump is to say that it’s not Fox News’ job to help him and other Republicans. But, as Trump points out, many mainstream news outlets are working almost full time to help defeat him. Thus, it’s understandable that Trump is unhappy that Fox News isn’t “all in” for him.
What is the job of news outlets (and blogs)? There are two competing versions of it, both legitimate. The original version in America was, precisely, to help elect particular candidates and boost a particular party. In 1800, the job of the Philadelphia Aurora, for example, was to elect Thomas Jefferson president. The job of the Gazette of the United States was to re-elect John Adams.
The other version of a news outlet’s job is to report the news in a reasonably objective manner. Under this approach, newspapers typically endorsed candidates, but their news coverage was not heavily influenced by the desire to help elect particular candidates and aid a particular party.
Throughout my lifetime, this is is the job the mainstream media has claimed to be doing. I don’t know whether the claim was ever true, but years ago it seemed plausible. These days, for most outlets I know of, it’s laughable.
In my view, Fox News straddles the two approaches I’ve just described, which is also a legitimate way of going about the job. Some of its most watched hosts are doing plenty to help re-elect Trump, but dissenting voices like those of the people Trump calls “garbage” aren’t shut out. One can hear some “Democrat speaking points” on a nightly basis. By contrast, on most days there is nary a pro-Trump word in the Washington Post.
It’s up to every news outlet (and blogger) to decide which approach to follow — the 1800 election model, the post World War II ideal, or something in between. It’s up to readers/viewers to decide which approach[es] to consume.
If President Trump, who consumes Fox News regularly, is unhappy with that outlet shifting, as he sees it, from the approach he prefers to a different one, there’s nothing wrong with him complaining. To some, it will come across as unpresidential whining, but when has Trump ever cared about that?