Can the media survive on this path?

Coverage Type: 

[Commentary] It struck me after a number of casual conversations with local Republicans over the past few weeks that they seldom mentioned the Democrats when discussing President Trump’s adversaries. Almost all conversations about roadblocks President Trump faces or opposition to his initiatives centered on what was perceived as the media’s biased portrayal of him and his administration.

Republicans and conservatives have grumbled about unfair coverage from the “mainstream media” for decades. But the Trump era has brought us to a new plateau, one where the media has moved from adversarial to oppositional. Many observers, on both right and left, have come to see the media as the leader of the resistance. If you care about journalism, it’s a disturbing trend. Many in the media would undoubtedly lay much of the blame on Trump’s “fake news” attacks. But peruse the pages or websites of most of our nation’s leading news providers, and it’s easy to understand why such a perception has taken hold, apart from Trump’s claims. We are at a dangerous precipice in how Americans receive and digest information and, ultimately, form opinions. The influence of social-media feeds, which — through user choice or outside meddling — provide only a narrow flow of information, makes the credibility of news organizations more imperative than ever.

President Trump and the Republicans will survive the media’s resistance, and perhaps even flourish. The bigger question is, can the media survive on this path? Perhaps, but not in its traditional role. Instead, it will be viewed as just another partisan special interest.

[Gary Abernathy is publisher and editor of the (Hillsboro, Ohio) Times-Gazette.]

Can the media survive on this path?