The Education of James Goldston
James Goldston is not, nor should he be, a household name. He is the president of ABC News and he is in the midst of a great education on why Americans distrust the American media so much. In the words of Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter at CNN, Goldston “excoriated staff Monday over Brian Ross’s major error on a report about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.”
Ross is the ABC News investigative reporter perhaps best known for claiming the Aurora, Colorado, theater mass shooter was a member of a local tea party group. The shooter was not. Ross stepped in it again this week by claiming the Mueller investigators had gotten Mike Flynn to admit candidate Donald Trump had asked him to contact the Russians. In fact, it was President-elect Trump, after the election, who did so and it was about a matter before the United Nations, not about stealing the election.
ABC News dragged its feet on correcting the major detail that this contact happened after the election and not on the campaign trail. The financial markets tanked during that time. Ross has been disciplined and will no longer be allowed to cover the Trump administration. It was good of Goldston to take action, but in his awakening of what is happening he should look more deeply at his own network and at the news industry.
ABC News is decidedly a liberal news network, whether Goldston wants to admit it or not. He need look no further than ABC News’s chief political analyst, Matthew Dowd, who has publicly flirted with running against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and spends his days on social media blasting conservatives, Christians and Republicans. Dowd worked for George W. Bush before turning on him. Prior to that, he worked for a series of Democrats. ABC News may treat that as the resume of a fair-minded bipartisan, but even Clinton hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal described Dowd as an “opportunist.”
James Goldston has that opportunist set up as a fair-minded, objective “political analyst.” He must have never seen Dowd’s twitter feed where he stands in sharp contrast to George Stephanopoulos, who worked for Bill Clinton before joining ABC News and now, despite clearly being of the Left, tries to cover both sides fairly.
Goldston and others in the media need to understand increasingly the media is insular, narrow-minded and unable or unwilling to see the world through the eyes of those they politically disagree with. They champion partisans like Dowd as political analysts and give short shrift to those of differing opinions. If the greatest trick the devil played was to convince us he is not real, the greatest trick the news media has played is convincing us that partisan Democrats can become neutral, objective observers. Increasingly, they do not even try for the neutrality anymore.
The American media is, these days, much like the Republican Party. The former has tried to view itself as moral crusaders outing people abusing power, and the latter has viewed itself as the moral, pro-family party. But in the last few months, we have seen the moral crusaders in the media are often the ones abusing women, and the pro-family party is willing to put a man accused of child molestation in Senate. Both justify their behavior that they’re really good people and the other, whoever that other may be, is really bad. So but for themselves the other would win.
Perhaps this past week has opened James Goldston’s eyes to some of the problems Americans have with the media and he will not just grow, but will help his news organization grow. Americans know there is such a thing as truth and they would really like it if the media gave them truth unencumbered from the veneer of a liberal worldview. And Americans know that there are multiple public policies that the various sides disagree on. They could sure use a media willing to fairly present both sides without sneering at or stacking the deck against the policy the liberal reporters hate.
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