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Alan Webber: Mainstream media primary source of incivility

November 7, 2018

It’s an absolute shame how the mainstream media reports news. It’s destroying our country. I surmise intentional misreporting has been going on since a critic wrote a rebuttal for the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” the first written document, about 4,200 years ago.

Perhaps I was naïve of journalism when younger and am just more sensitive to what I’m reading or hearing these days. It’s been admitted here, in this very column, that I’ve been known to be rather suspicious. Or, as someone recently suggested, I might be spending too much time in an “echo chamber” a euphemism evidently hurled at somebody who actually has read an entire column to comprehend what it being articulated.

Yellow Journalism, a term coined in the 1890s is thriving today, although the term has nearly disappeared. Every media outlet is sensationally trying to surpass the other in order to attract more eyeballs for more advertising dollars. (This alone suggests it’s never a good idea to be a “headline” reader to consider oneself informed.)

The practice of sensationalism, or just plain sour grapes, by the media stokes immense incivility, something the country has far too much of today. It has caused everyone to huddle into tribes, and woe to the person who might dare to question why such a great country has backed itself into this corner. Don’t believe that — look at the grief Kanye West is getting.

Today’s media seems to have no problem taking President Donald Trump behind the woodshed regularly. In CNN’s case, 93 percent of their coverage. Most of the media would have been aghast had any of the invectives leveled at Trump been directed at the previous president. Cries of racism were leveled at the great unwashed that had the audacity just not to vote for Barack Obama.

But now, most media outlets feel free to take potshots — manners and civility be damned — at Trump daily. Everything is his fault. And those who didn’t vote for Trump agree wholeheartedly. So, us Trump supporters should just shut up; it’s their medium and will write/say anything they want. You Trump supporters go off to your echo chambers to watch FOX … one of the few media outlets that continues to respect the office of president.

A disgraceful example of sour grapes appears daily in a major Chicago newspaper. This particular tabloid could not bring itself to endorse Trump, even though the tabloid was established as a Republican paper and had endorsed every Republican presidential candidate for more than 150 years, until Obama appeared — out of nowhere. So, they instead endorsed pot smoker Gary Johnson.

Now that they backed the wrong horse, they have set out to beat on Trump endlessly for everything, up to and including his hair. Would anybody dared to publicly mention Obama’s hair derisively in today’s politically charged society? Asking for a friend.

Just today, as I write this commentary, the front-page headline in the e-edition of the tabloid is “reporting” on the horrible Pittsburgh massacre of the Jewish community. The sub headline slimily mentions that perhaps Trump, the sitting president of the U.S., might not be welcome.

By just the third paragraph of The Associated Press article, they stated, “Some Pittsburghers urged Trump to stay away.” The story continues on page 11, with another slimeball caption, “Defendant in court; Trump visit stirs debate.” Later in the article they quote the Democratic mayor stating that the White House should contact the victim’s families and ask if they want the president to come.”

Who does Mayor Bill Peduto think he is? He doesn’t direct the schedule of the president, and shame on any media that ran such a story because a couple of people who didn’t vote for the president now are using a national tragedy as their personal beef … or worse, political gain.

Go to page 2 of the tabloid and there is another so-called writer “linking Pittsburgh terrorism, Trump and the language of hate.” On page 3, a “journalist” took time from her usual racial lesson to discuss the need for gun control in the wake of the Pittsburgh shootings. Recall that nearly every Trump voter fervidly supports the Second Amendment, but what do they know, hey?

The “editorials” were rather calm, as opposed to their regular thugs who beat on Trump daily from their bully pulpit. They did, however, mention Trump’s failure, again, to say what the tabloid wanted him to say after the Charlottesville riot. They also told everyone to keep calm about the caravan headed this way from Central America, despite the fact Trump just ordered 5,200 troops to protect our southern border, a tenet strongly advocated by all Trump supporters.

And this from a Chicago tabloid, not the mighty New York Times and Washington Post, who also disparage Trump daily. And then, there is the nasty and uncivil coverages of ABC, NBC, CBS or MSNBC.

America’s incivility toward each other will only quiet down after our media quits stirring the pot.

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