President Trump announced his long-anticipated “Fake News Awards” Wednesday night. In a tweet with a link to the Republican National Committee’s webpage, the president highlighted a series of false reports from mainstream news outlets during the first year of his presidency.
The litany of incorrect reports included ABC News’ Dow-damaging, breathless report that then-candidate Trump had directed Gen. Michael Flynn to work with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign, the NY Times’ Paul Krugman predicting that Wall Street would “never” recover from Trump winning the White House (he’s one of their economic experts), CNN’s deceptively edited video alleging Trump overfed some fish in Japan (yeah, that was a real thing) and, sadly, many more now-redacted and corrected stories.
Most media outlets ignored or mocked the damaging list of false reports. Or, they employed the tactic of pointing out falsehoods perpetuated by the Trump White House over the past year. Apparently “Whataboutism” is an appropriate and legitimate debating tactic if one is defending the media and attacking Trump. Good to know.
But, if Comcast, Disney, News Corp, and CBS really want their media companies to thrive for the long haul, executives at those stalwart organizations shouldn’t laugh or ignore the Fake News Awards. They should conduct some serious, internal examinations.
In any basic quality system employed by most worldwide industries (from ISO to QS to Six Sigma) companies are called to constantly self-examine and evaluate their quality systems, their manufacturing process and their customer feedback. And the CEO’s of the major corporations that own America’s broadcast and print media outlets know this very well.
In any industry that relies on customer satisfaction in the product produced (in this industry it would be news,opinion and information) quality control over the manufacturing process and positive/negative feedback from the consumer of the product and are the two most important factors to determine whether your business is healthy and sound.
So when evaluating the 2017 performance of media outlets charged with the weighty responsibility to cover American politics, it’s completely reasonable to determine the effectiveness of their performance by scrutinizing the quality of their product and the opinions of their customers.
The sad and embarrassing list of serious factual errors pointed out by Trump is a clear example of an industry whose primary focus has drifted well past the desire to produce a high-quality, reliable product. And the manufacturers of this product don’t seem to care.
It reminds one of the big three auto makers in the late 1970s when they saw cheaper, high quality foreign cars starting to dent their market share. They were quite sure that Americans would keep buying GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC because… well… just because. I mean, after all, they always had so they always will. And boy were they right. Just look at how miserably Honda and Toyota have performed in the US market over the past several decades. And how’d you like the 2018 AMC Pacer?
Of course, having the intellectual heft and arrogant superiority that goes along with being the last bastion of truth, justice and all that is right in the world provides journalists and media personalities a certain swagger and confidence in themselves that dictates that they don’t need to bother themselves with the vulgar attacks from a man like Donald Trump.
I mean, no one will really take these “Fakie Awards” seriously. This is just Trump being ridiculous and obscene. Everyone knows Trump is a liar and the Republicans are complicit enablers and Manhattan and New York journalists are the only true arbiters of what this nation should stand for, right?
It’s just that kind of thinking that persuaded 57 of 59 major publications to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and we see how that turned out. Kinda like the AMC Pacer.