How the Distrusted Media Makes ‘The Steal’ Seem More Real


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Do you believe Donald Trump lost re-election because of fraud? If so, you are not alone. Millions are furious with Republican governors, secretaries of state, and legislatures for not doing more to stop widespread, democracy-destroying fraud. I am not one of those people. But, I understand why you would be.

My reasons for not believing claims about widespread fraud are not the topic of this article. For any interested party, I think Tangle’s Isaac Saul does a good job of countering what I see as many false claims being made about the election.  The reason I decided to write this is not that I agree with those who accept fraud as the deciding factor in the 2020 election, but because I have grown weary of mainstream media outlets’ shock that anyone could believe as much.

They find themselves in rather vocal disbelief that anyone could think differently than they do. “Who are these utter rubes who have bought into Trump’s blatant lies?” they ask. Well, I imagine that it is the tens of millions of people bone-tired of the constant gaslighting on a national scale. We’ll get to the utter bankruptcy of the media in just a bit, but I first want to explain the root of the problem. 

Credibility is the likelihood that someone will trust what you say. Some people are more credible, some less. Because credibility involves trust, it must be built slowly over time. We only trust someone if they demonstrate a repeated tendency to tell the truth or do the right thing. All this effort is hard work, but it also means that credibility is not lost by a single mistake. What really destroys credibility is a pattern of getting things wrong. And that brings me to the media.

A news organization lives on credibility. If it wishes to be taken seriously as a good source of news, that is, a trustworthy depository of reporting, it needs credibility just as much as plants need water. It earns this by presenting facts in a fair manner. 

Fair means leaving bias at the door (or acknowledging it on the front end). It means choosing stories based on what is relevant to viewers and readers rather than personal taste. It means giving facts relevant to a person making up their mind. It means acknowledging mistakes when they occur and apologizing for them. What it does not mean is trying to persuade, entertain, pander, or push a particular viewpoint. 

After spending four years—more, I think, but let’s narrow our focus for the sake of brevity—squandering every ounce of credibility they had, legacy media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and NBC News have no good reason for incredulity. These are the proverbial chickens coming home to roost.

Let’s cover a few of the glaring instances of bias that cost them credibility.

  • A report by the Media Research Center  (MRC) back in August showed that President Trump received a whopping 150 times more negative news coverage than then-candidate Joe Biden. Keep in mind that Tara Reid’s accusations of sexual assault, Biden’s own comments about just how liberal his administration would be, an estimated $4 trillion tax hike, and a $2 trillion plan to fight climate change were all on the table. They just weren’t covered.
  • CNN reliably informed us that President Trump won the first time because of Russian interference in our election. In fact, 26 percent of all its news coverage from Election Day to April 19, 2019 was about that story. What’s more, when Robert Mueller’s report did not reveal any crimes, the focus of the story was not on that but on how President Trump was wrong to say that he was exonerated. No one bothered to point out that exoneration is not the standard for prosecutors.
  • Remember the pee tapes? The now-universally discredited Steele dossier accused President Trump of paying Russian prostitutes to pee on him. The fun part about this one was that the dossier was obviously tainted, as it was opposition research for the Clinton campaign. However, no news outlet could resist reporting it, unconfirmed though it was. In fact, in one five-day period, CNN mentioned this topic a whopping 77 times.
  • Or, perhaps we should discuss the rolling protests that left over a billion dollars of private property destroyed, which were not condemned, nor were they merely described as they occurred. Instead, the line became that protests were “mostly peaceful.” That standard is particularly ridiculous given that the Tea Party was compared to a terrorist group. This insanity is best encapsulated by CNN’s now-infamous chyron of “firey but mostly peaceful protests.” In case it seems that all ire should be aimed at CNN, though, note that others, such as NBC and CBS, followed suit.
  • Finally, the Biden press team continuously called lids, relieving him of the necessity of actually engaging with the media. Would such leeway be given to Republicans? What’s more, no one in the media asked him substantive questions about how his response to COVID-19 would be different from President Trump’s, why he would not condemn Antifa rather than merely “all violence,” whether or not his mental and physical fitness was a problem, or his endless stream of gaffes, such as his claim that voting for President Trump somehow made one not black. When he did emerge, the very objective news media wanted to know what flavor of ice cream he was eating.

The media’s willingness to go to bat for then-candidate Biden is truly astounding. An MRC report found that 17 percent of Biden voters would have withheld their vote for him if they had known just one of eight news stories that mainstream media outlets did not think relevant. Everything from Hunter Biden’s laptop to President Trump’s success in forging peace deals in the Middle East makes the list. It’s no wonder the Biden campaign did so well.

At the time I am writing this, Joe Biden is now President-Elect of the United States of America. He has officially won. I think he won fairly insofar as enough legal votes were cast for him. However, many disagree. The same media that ruthlessly promulgated a narrative of President Trump’s evil and offered to President-Elect Biden a patina of health and propriety are to blame for that. 

I think that President Trump should concede and enter gracefully into the halls of past presidents, though I have no idea if he will do so. I will argue with fellow conservatives about the veracity of the election, about key mistakes made along the way. I’ll defend the Supreme Court’s decision to decline to hear the lawsuit brought by the state of Texas seeking to overturn other states’ certifications of their votes. I think that the best place to focus our attention now is on Georgia, as I’ve written elsewhere

And all the while I will defend those same people who cannot accept that reports from legacy outlets are true. I’ll understand why they are frustrated that the same people who exhibit such bias and hypocrisy call themselves objective news. I’ll balk at the sneering and preening political pundits as they speak about those who disagree with them. We all should. After all, it is the loud-mouthed boy who kept shouting “Wolf!” who is the villain of the story, not the townsfolk who refused to believe him any longer.

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