- - Monday, May 21, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The media are trying to destroy President Trump, discredit Republicans and elect Democrats.

What to do? With less than six months until the November election, every day counts. To ignore the media’s nonstop attacks is to condone their goals.

The liberal media bias is the overriding campaign issue. It trumps any legislation Congress could pass. It tops any action the Republican Party could take. And that’s because the media prevents Republican officeholders and candidates from getting their message to the voters. So unless media bias is confronted, it almost doesn’t matter what Republicans do.

Consider the good news: Consumer confidence, economic growth, the unemployment rate and the stock market are all setting multiyear records. If Mr. Trump were a Democrat, he would be praised loudly and hourly by the media. Instead, the media criticizes him and his administration in every way possible.

The media may want their readers and viewers to believe that all is chaos in the White House, but Americans are signaling their disagreement in two ways. First, as of April their confidence in the direction of the country was at an 18-year high. And second, two-thirds of Americans perceive the media as slanted.

Still, the media’s bias takes a toll. When Americans only hear one side of a story, it inevitably has an impact. One investigation found that the media’s bias has cost Republican presidential candidates 5 percent of the vote. In other words, without the pervasive bias, we would have had a President McCain, a President Romney and an overwhelmingly victorious President Trump. Without doubt, many more Republicans would have been elected to Congress, too.

Given the media’s obvious efforts to help determine the outcome of elections, it is inexplicable that Republican leaders choose to ignore the media’s devastating influence. Maybe they feel their message on issues is getting through to the people — it’s not. Maybe they feel the media will eventually play nice — they won’t. They seek more government control, higher taxes and more regulations, and Republicans stand in the way.

Some Republicans say the variety and number of news outlets counters the liberal bias. That is unfounded wishful thinking. For instance, the three network news stations attract 10 times the viewers of Fox News, which is not reliably conservative. National Public Radio, on the left, has more listeners than any radio talk show on the right. And some social media platforms use algorithms that suppress conservative views.

The media have decided to promote a political agenda, not report the news objectively. They tell the American people what to think rather than give them the facts. They have sacrificed their credibility on an altar of partisanship. They can no longer claim to be the neutral guardians of democracy.

If it’s not too late, what should motivated Republican leaders and their supporters do? Assuming they recognize the dire threat posed by the media, three initiatives are necessary to offset the bias:

• Back up Mr. Trump when he points out “fake” news and catches the media off-base. He is leading the charge, but he needs troops behind him. Republicans have been waiting decades for a president who would take on media bias. There is strength in numbers; he deserves our help.

• Educate the voters. They realize the media detest Mr. Trump. They know news stories have become opinion pieces. No other president has received 90 percent negative coverage. And it’s relentless. Voters need to be reminded they are only getting the anti- Trump, liberal angle.

• All Republicans can take action. Speak up. Demand that Republican leaders challenge media bias. Write letters to news directors. Gather information from media watch organizations like the Daily Caller and the Media Research Center. Expose the media as being an appendage of the Democratic Party. They are nearly one and the same — “mediacrats.”

We cannot delay. Every minute that goes by is an opportunity lost. Republican leaders should lace every speech with examples of media bias. Republican stalwarts should contact the media and insist on balanced reporting. And voters should register their complaints by the way they cast their ballots on Election Day.

• Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, serves as chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and is founder and chairman of the House Media Fairness Caucus.


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