G.K. Chesterton reliably informs us that “Journalism largely consists of saying ‘Lord Jones is Dead’ to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.” And while this statement is partly a consideration of filling reams of empty pages – more so when those pages are digital – it also reflects that it is often the “great and the good” who make the front page, regardless of any actual news. The Fourth Estate has taken Chesterton’s adage and adopted it as a cri de coeur, with modern journalism seeking out the “heat makers” in lieu of genuine public interest events.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
One might assume that the current president of the United States – in the midst of numerous crises – would be dominating digital real estate “above the fold” on the nation’s political news websites. Yet Joe Biden comes in a distant third behind both former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Examining five of the leading left-oriented outlets for front-page name drops on Friday, March 17, it became clear just who rocks the reporting world of the supposed impartial press. The New York Times, CNN, ABC, HuffPost, and the most well-known Washinton, DC, paper mentioned President Biden a grand total of 13 times – and one of those was in regard to a recipe for a rigatoni dish publicly eaten by the First Couple.
To put this in perspective, DeSantis – who is neither a candidate for national office, yet, nor an elected representative outside of the Sunshine State – clocked up an impressive 16 mentions. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the big beast dwarfing all comers was Donald Trump. The former president notched up an astonishing 32 references, more than doubling the all-but-ignored Joe Biden.
In the field of pathology, obsession is defined as “a constant brooding upon any subject, such as the thought of death, until the mind becomes dominated by that one idea.” More than two years out of office and written off as unelectable by the cognoscenti of the DC Swamp, Donald Trump remains a lodestone in the collective groupmind of the national press.
The Journalism Toolkit
“Journalism is printing something that someone does not want printed. Everything else is public relations,” wrote author George Orwell. The question that demands an answer,then, is this: For whom is the media operating as a public relations agency? Certainly, as Liberty Nation’s analysis concludes, Trump and DeSantis are the prime focus, but the barely concealed disgust with which the stories are told suggests that the Fourth Estate is operating a quasi-guerrilla campaign against them – infused with a negativity that pleads for groupthink condemnation. And yet, with Biden, the vast majority of the articles are exonerative in nature.
These three politicos – for the coverage they receive – might consider themselves the protagonists in Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s 1873 poem “Ode.” The first verse reads:
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams; —
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
They are the triumvirate around which the media world revolves; the Sun to Fourth Estate satellites that are drawn ever-closer by an unrelenting gravity of the power they wield. And yet it is not the most powerful man in the world who is the object of journalists’ obsession, but the man they viciously hounded for more than four years.
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