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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dear press corps: We don't believe you.

Dear Kyle Pope, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review:

I see where you wrote an open letter to President Trump "to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps."

Your letter was 935 words. You are a fine writer. You made several good points.

After reading newspapers since I was six, I can clarify how readers now see the relationship between us and the American press corps. I do so in four words.

We don't believe you.

As a person with four decades in newspapering, now retired, I do not blame your readers in the least.

This election cycle has shown that the news business is dominated by social justice warriors who push a narrative rather than tell stories in a fair and balanced manner.

From John Harwood asking Trump in a debate if he was running a comic book campaign, to John Harwood secretly asking questions from the Clinton campaign, to Donna Brazile giving the Clinton campaign debate questions ahead of time, no intelligent voter should trust the news media to deliver news that is fair, impartial, and balanced.

I thank you, personally, for opening our eyes once and for all to the folly of the Fourth Estate.

On July 15, as Republicans began to gather in Cleveland to nominate Donald Trump, you published a 1,604-word call by David Mindich to abandon objective journalism in an all-out effort to stop the American people from electing Trump president.

You published Mindich's piece without disclaimer, thus his words became yours. He wrote:
To understand this moment, and what it says about journalism’s place in our democracy, we need to explore two things that trigger journalists to call speech dangerous. The first is that journalists rarely shed their detachment in a vacuum. [Edward R.] Murrow, the most respected television journalist of his day, wasn't the first to criticize McCarthy. The Milwaukee Journal and other newspapers led the charge, and The Washington Post’s Herblock made McCarthy the subject of many of his cartoons. And while President Dwight D. Eisenhower resisted criticizing McCarthy forcefully, other politicians began to, particularly when McCarthy’s targets included Protestants and the military, as the Army-McCarthy hearing would reveal.
While journalists lionize Murrow, the truth is murkier. The Soviets really funded the Communist Party USA. We learned that after the Soviet Union's collapse on Christmas Day 1991 and documents showing the payouts became public knowledge.

Who was Murrow to go after McCarthy? What gives journalists license to go after anyone? How does it help a democracy to have journalists determine the outcome of an election?

I don't mean pundits. I mean reporters.

Mindich also wrote:
The second condition for mainstream journalists to abandon their detachment is when a politician’s words go way beyond the pale. More than his vocal critics, the words and ideas of Trump himself are causing journalists to change their role. To understand this, it is useful to look briefly at a theoretical construction of objectivity by a leading journalism historian, Daniel Hallin, who sees the world of political discourse as falling into three concentric spheres: consensus, legitimate controversy, and deviance.

Just quote the man. Accurately. In full. In context.

A century earlier, newspaperman E.W. Scripps wrote: "Give light and the people will find their own way."

As the editor of a publication that markets itself as the conscience of journalism, you should have reminded Mindich of Scripps motto -- and spiked the column.

Instead, you allowed Mindich to make a sophist case for abandoning journalism in favor of constantly attacking a political candidate whom you did not like.

Which leads me to your letter, in which you demanded fairness after encouraging journalists to treat him unfairly.

You allowed that, "Access is preferable, but not critical."

But you stated, "Off the record and other ground rules are ours—not yours—to set." Actually, they are agreed to mutually.

You wrote, "We decide how much airtime to give your spokespeople and surrogates."

We know. We saw this throughout the campaign. However, journalism requires telling both sides of the story.

CNN's posting of that Fake Russian Dossier story (even Bob Woodward called it garbage) without reaction from the president-elect or his staff was only the latest example of journalistic malpractice.

Trump's response may have given CNN's staff pause and saved the network from doom.

If we treated the news media like any other industry and made it subject to product liability suits, accuracy would improve and hoaxes would be rarer than a Cleveland Browns playoff victory. Instead they run rampant.

You wrote, "We believe there is an objective truth, and we will hold you to that."

No you don't believe in an objective truth. You and CJR gave up on objectivity in July.

If you truly believed there in an objective truth, you would have encouraged the press to resist temptation and adhere to the time-tested principles.

Instead you led the charge to play god.

You lost on November 8.

The American people rejected you.

We don't believe you.

Instead of demanding President Trump curtsy to you, how about earning some respect?

You wrote, "We will set higher standards for ourselves than ever before."

What? So you can abandon them again when the groupthink in Washington decides some other candidate is unqualified?

You arrogantly told the president-elect:
We’re playing the long game. Best-case scenario, you’re going to be in this job for eight years. We’ve been around since the founding of the republic, and our role in this great democracy has been ratified and reinforced again and again and again. You have forced us to rethink the most fundamental questions about who we are and what we are here for. For that we are most grateful.
How clueless, how utterly and adorably clueless you are.

The vast majority of the American people -- both left, right, and neither -- do not believe you.

The power of the press is its credibility.

But this "long game" playing crew of social justice warriors posing as reporters blew credibility that took two hundred years to build on one small election.

Trump owes you nothing.

I owe you nothing.

The American people owe you nothing because -- and pay attention this time -- we don't believe you.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. This is very good. A real journalist from Poca taking it to a corrupt academic from Manhattan whose only function in life is to produce more clones of himself, a virus of lies.

    1. I think the American news audience is just beginning a cycle of shaudenfreud-powered dismissal of old news. That's where CJR lives and only it's unemployed alumni care anymore what it thinks and says.

    2. Amazon refuses to believe the word is spelled schadenfreude

  2. How sanctimonious. We should immediately corral all of the so-called journalists and reporters and perform a battery of psychological tests to determine the cause(s) of their mass delusions. Their mental state is decidedly unhealthy and nearing the point of being dangerous to themselves and others. Sheer madness is the only explanation for their behavior and attempts at self-justification. - Elric

  3. Don, I envy your clear thinking and command of the language. This, in a nutshell.

  4. "Bodies lie in Cecil Square."
    Truth is, ever since Gutenberg the press has never been objective. Even going back to oral histories there has always been a purpose to transmission of information. The difference between now and the war and immediate post war period is that a more homogeneous population was served by a more single minded press whose common goals were patriotic.
    Now we live in a thoroughly non-homogeneous land and have a press corpse (not a spelling error) that, instead of learning a trade from the bottom up and inside out have gone through an indoctrination and weeding out process at the hands of globalist self righteous post modern cultural marxists (if anyone has other descriptive epithets in mind feel free).
    We no longer have a news media that even remotely reflects what America was or is. It is a reflection of the Gramscian struggle in the university. A disease. As anon says, a virus of lies.
    The university is hopelessly contaminated. It cannot be occupied without the disease getting out. Quarantine won't work. Like a contaminated house it must be burned to the ground. Build elsewhere. This one is finished.

    1. Your points are well taken. Is the contamination being bypassed on alt media?

    2. "The university is hopelessly contaminated". Amen.

  5. Maximilian RobespierreJanuary 18, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    i hate the media. i hope Trump dumps the full weight of the state on everyone in the business.

    1. Why would anyone wish a president to dump the full weight of the state on anyone or business? It would only prove the fears of the snowflakes and take another gouge out of the life of our Republic. No, simply allow media to continue to cut itself. Eventually it will die of the millions of tiny and large lies that pollute their prose. The Internet Genie is out of the bottle. The control of information has become the obsession of every despotic individual and movement. What galls them about Trump is that he understands that and leapfrogged over their pitiful attempts to corner him. He was playing chess; they were playing checkers.

  6. Very good article. Reporters today are anti-white male, anti-family, anti-Christian and pro-Muslim. What is astonishing is most male propagandists are either homosexual(with a gay agenda)or effete metrosexual men who have never heard another man say pussy in "locker room chatter". This is a sad state where we have essentailly feminized males as reporters. Not a good role model for our children. The women propagandists are feminists who hate powerful white males.

    1. "The women propagandists are feminists who hate powerful white males..." but secretly yearn for them! haha

    2. I have spent a fair amount of time in Japan, living with families through the country. After WWII there was a concerted effort to remove the "warrior mentality" from the male population, and it has succeeded very well there. Most of the men I know over several years are very metrosexual, write poems, visit shrines, go to tea ceremonies, play chess, etc. in their limited leisure hours. I see it slowly taking hold here...the effort in the universities to emasculate, to tell the President he needs to learn to cry, to erode male sports like football, etc. Look at the how men and little boys dress, thanks to subtle efforts by the (gay) fashion industry, or how they are portrayed in movies, on TV. Just step back and think about it.

  7. "We will set higher standards for ourselves than ever before." But you won't even get close to those "standards", because you won't even try to get close.

    "We’re playing the long game. Best-case scenario, you’re going to be in this job for eight years. We’ve been around since the founding of the republic, and our role in this great democracy has been ratified and reinforced again and again and again." As have fleas, mosquitoes, jackals, and hyenas, which you resemble. Many of us see you as Democrats with bylines, and have no trust or belief in your words.

  8. "An open letter to corporate liberal flacks who get paid to pretend they are journalists".....Dear Flacks....go phuque yourselves

    Robbins Mitchell

  9. Dear Media,

    We don't believe you, and you can go drop dead.


    The American Public

    1. In essence, that is it.
      Anonymous "The American Public" claims it does not believe somebody. Don't claim what you you are not. You are not The American Public. You are an individual duped by a selfish demagogue connected with Russian FSB.

    2. Your absolutely right. It was a small group of dumb rednecks that elected Trump, swept the house and senate, swept a majority of local offices and governorships across the country.

      It obviously wasn't a wholesale rejection of the globalist and leftist ideals and agenda.

      At first I was willing to toss you guys a bone and say you lost because the DNC picked Hillary and who really wanted to actually vote for Hillary anyway? But then I thought about it longer and realized that you guys lost everywhere, at every level of government. The presidential seat is really only the most obvious, the rest of those seats across the country actually tell the bigger story.

      What really gets me is how short sighted the democrats were the past 8 years. Its like they thought they had it all locked down forever. They complained about Obama not having *enough* power and cheered his executive orders. Now, within days of taking office Trump is stripping those EOs apart one by one. What did you expect? This is *always* what happens when you give on person or one office excessive amounts of power. Sooner or later its *you* that's on the losing side! Maybe, just maybe, the democrats will learn from this and agree with the constitutionalists and Libertarians that power should *not* be collected at the federal level, and that the federal government should be weakened and forced to take a more subordinate role to the states. It *should* be difficult and hard to pass laws and regulations, it benefits us *all*.

      I doubt it though, they will more then likely just cry for the next 4-8 years and if they win a majority back in the future go right back to trying to legislate their view of how the country should think and act and start the process all over again.

  10. The journalism industry today is like a medical industry that has abandoned the principles of anaesthesia and antisepsis.

    And it wonders all of a sudden why its prognosis is not good.

  11. Hey, have we got a deal for you! Shell out $70k a year for a journalism degree!

    So, what will I make once I graduate?

    Umm, uh, between 20 and 40 a year.

    So you're saying I'll be in debt for the rest of my life?

    Well, but you'll be Making A Difference!

  12. I agree emphatically. "We, The People" DO NOT believe opinion-ators who 'pretend to give us "the news", (all of them being known, proven liars), and will NEVER believe them again, ever....... They may as well grab a shovel and start digging ditches for all the impact they will have where they are. It would be a more useful expenditure of their time and effort.....

  13. In a nutshell, most of the newshounds retired and news pussies took over.

  14. GREAT post, Don. Nailed it!

    I nearly spit out my coffee when the guy said the media believes in objective truth - OK, well, a) you're full of shit, or (b) you are REALLY lousy at your jobs, or (c) both. I'm going with (c).

  15. I can do it in 8 letters. Dear "media": STFU DIAF

  16. Another great post, Don!
    I keep thinking you should write another book, this one about the media overall and how it melted down into flaming goo. And in honor of David Halberstam's classic, you could entitle it "The Powers That Were."

  17. Four words said it all. My exact feelings about all MSM news. The National Enquirer has more credibility. "Higher standards". Really???? If it weren't for double standards the press wouldn't have any standards at all.

  18. In 3 words x 2: "We don't care" (what you say) BECAUSE "we aren't listening" (to you)

  19. Ten key words or phrases the agenda driven media have contaminated forever:
    1. Bipartisanship
    2. Fairness
    3. Sources (say)
    4. Polls report
    5. Expert's know
    6. Americans think
    7. Washington, Washington, Washington....
    8. Racist (any form)
    9. Scientific consensus
    10 Woman's rights

  20. I read the piece the other day before I read Don's response. The CJR piece reminded me of a junky telling his parole officer "I'm done making mistakes now that I know what is expected of me". Pathetic and pretty embarrassing piece. Don is right, no one believes them. Why should they? Until John Harwood is fired or demoted, Glenn Thursh is shown the door etc. there is no reason to believe the media will play it straight. There is no accountability any time we catch them in a manipulative scam.

  21. The Real Power of Journalism is to attract readers/viewers and sell the spare attention laying around to advertisers. No eyeballs, no ad sales and then, death. This is long overdue.

  22. The soundtrack of the MSM under President Trump:

    "You got me begging you for mercy
    Why won't you release me?
    You got me begging you for mercy
    Why won't you release me?"

  23. "We’re playing the long game."

    Sorry, sport, but the game is over. Losers talk trash and make excuses. Winners point to the clock and say, "Scoreboard, baby, scoreboard!!" The winner takes it all; the loser takes the fall.

    You lost before the game got started. You have lost your monopoly. You have lost ALL of your leverage and it is pitifully obvious that your blathering is simply meant to buck up your tattered troops limping home in rags, disarmed, and defeated.

    The world is changing and you got left behind. The Deplorable Trump Train has already left the station jam packed with the winners. You are standing, crowded with the rest of your bedraggled 'long-game'player on the Loser's Platform awaiting the imminent arrival of The Midnight Express to Political Oblivion carry off to a swift and permanent irrelevancy. Not to put too fine a point on it.

  24. Don...Excellent piece! The only thing that trumps watching bat-shit crazy leftists publicly unhinging over the election is watching their counterparts foamin' n' frothin' n' screeching, like banshees, over Trump's use of Twitter! The feelings it generates is like TRUMPENFREUDE!

  25. "We don't believe you" is actually five words, not four.

  26. The Left has shown us by curtailing our 2nd Amendment rights that rights can be infringed. I think that it is far past the time that we infringe the "freedom of the press" part of the 1st Amendment.

  27. “Under the Obama administration, Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein would have been prosecuted” -Julian Assange

    Pity the American media for they know not what they do. Given the tsunami of verbal attacks by "Leaders" of the intolerant Progressives, can you not wonder why our media has kowtowed? The social set eats the livers of objective journalists. Truth shall set us free? Not in Hollywood as it's not in the script, though it is in Scripture.

  28. Kyle Pope created a list of dictates to President Donald Trump and the Executive of the Pope press deciding what is legitimate, the problem with the MSM is the First Amendment expresses Freedom of the Press to report, but not lie nor propagandize against that Constitutional Government called the United States. There is not a right to sedition and that is what the MSM is engaged in.
    That same Constitution also has an Article which sets the limits on the President to uphold and defend the Constitution of these United States. That fact declared, the power of the pen of Kyle Pope to lie is checked and balanced by President Donald Trump in the enforcement and protection of the Constitution. It has not dawned on these arrogant Obama propagandists, that the people who are armed are not going to protect this MSM, the military which is armed is not going to protect this MSM and the law enforcement is not going to protect the MSM. In short the people who back President Trump will enforce the law Mr. Trump directs, as will the armed forces and armed security in arresting the MSM by the police, indicting by the courts and convicting by the people.
    It is not that the American People do not believe the press. It is the same American People and their police state desire enforcement of the laws whether on the border or in these propaganda publications.

  29. "We’re playing the long game. Best-case scenario, you’re going to be in this job for eight years. We’ve been around since the founding of the republic...."? By my figuring, that Kyle Pope must be more than 200 years old, then. I'm glad he's been able to keep up with the new technology.

    Seriously... what a preposterous comparison: one man (Trump) compared to an entire industry (media). The presidency, too, has been around since the foundation of the Republic, Mr. Pope, and journalists come and go just as politicians do.

    It's that kind of thoughtless hubris that helped media get a good whacking last November.

  30. Excellent article. Truth!!!

  31. When are people going to see that the WHOLE
    business of media lies, skullduggery and MURDER
    is because they are from the pit of hell and
    working Satan's agenda? It's them or us!

  32. Bravo, Don. From another newspaper retiree

  33. Best article I've read in years, and I'm a political junkie! One word explains everything about today's legacy media: journalist. Which, by the way, I am certain is still operative as a faction within R. Emmett Tyrell's famous "hive."

  34. Splendid dead on column. Congratulations Mr. Surber, and thank you. Jo in San Francisco

  35. Absolutely excellent! Made me want to cheer. A well written take-down of the sanctimonious leftist press.