In journalism, the lofty aspiration for the truth is always subject to human error, the limits of time, and the constraints of space. Walter Lippmann, the dean of modern journalism, noted that journalists are influenced by the images they have in their heads, and they deal with a mass public that is not necessarily adept at navigating through the nuanced esoterica of modern society.
Seeking confirmation of the stereotypes it embraces, the public is prone to dismissing facts that challenge what it thinks.
Journalists begin with their own biases and that of their audiences. Still, there are supposed to be limits.
Much of the mainstream media routinely ignores those limits. If Anderson Cooper’s “360°” had examined President Obama with the same doggedness with which it has examined President Trump, “Tony Rezko” and “Broadway Bank” would have been household words and not just another corruption story out of Chicago.
As part of CNN’s relentless and boring focus on Trump’s sometimes passing acquaintance with facts, Don Lemon invited documentary producer Ami Horowitz to his show. It was Horowitz’s appearance with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that led to Trump’s perception of a terrorist event in Sweden that did not occur.
Trump might have been wrong about the specific event, but he was not wrong about the social problems and violence created by Sweden’s open immigration policy.