No presidential candidate in recent memory has gotten as much preferential treatment from the media as Donald Trump. The reporting on the Donald has been so weak and skewed that it is fast becoming a national disgrace.
Many major national news organizations have disgraced themselves by shining a spotlight on Trump while ignoring his flaws. Strangely, two of the nation’s most liberal news outlets, The New York Times and CBS News, have been among the biggest Trump promoters. The Times’ headline writers in particular appear to be on Donald’s payroll, and CBS has turned its evening newscast into a soapbox for Mr. Trump.
Something to be clear about here is that it is not Donald himself nor his followers who are to blame for this sorry situation. It is the media itself that is the problem. To correct it, we need to start asking journalists and their employers some hard questions about the Trump coverage.
12 Questions the National Media Need to Answer about Their Trump Coverage
- Why has there been so little coverage of the well-known allegations that Trump had extensive business dealings with reputed Mafia bosses in the past? CNN and writer Wayne Barrett alleged that the concrete for one of Donald’s signature properties, the Trump Plaza, came from a company controlled by Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, the boss of the Genovese crime family and Paul Castellano, the don of the Gambino family. Articles about the mob allegations were common in the media a few months ago, but they have largely vanished. Nor has a single question been raised about this on the campaign trail. Trump aspires to the highest office in the land, and voters certainly deserve to know if allegations he did business with the nation’s most notorious organized crime syndicate are true.
- Why have there been no recent questions or stories about Trump University, a real estate education program Donald was associated with from 2005 to 2010? “We started looking at Trump University and discovered that it was a classic bait-and-switch scheme,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told CNN in 2013. “It was a scam, starting with the fact that it was not a university.” There have been three class action suits about the university, which are public record and therefore fair game for reporters. Voters certainly deserve to know if Mr. Schneiderman’s allegations are valid.
- One of the arguments for Donald Trump is his background in business and philanthropy. Why have there been so few articles on Trump’s business career, including the bankruptcies of four of his companies, the failure of his Atlantic City casinos, allegations of corruption and charges that he gave little or no money to charity? Trump claims that his business expertise qualifies him to be president. Shouldn’t we check to see if those claims are true?
- Why have journalists critical of Trump, such as Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston and Barrett, been effectively shut out of the discussion about Trump? Johnston’s 21 Questions for Trump in particular raises numerous troubling allegations about Trump that every reporter should ask. Barrett actually documented his allegations in a book called Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, which is available on Amazon.
- Why have so many news outlets been willing to run numerous articles containing allegations of unethical practices against other candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), but not similar pieces about Trump? On January 31, 2016, The Denver Post ran articles about Cruz’s tithing to his church and Hillary’s email but not one about Trump’s alleged ethical lapses. Why the double standard? The tens of millions of Americans who support Clinton and Cruz deserve an explanation, particularly when the allegations against Trump are far more serious.
- Why is the media paying so much attention to Trump’s birther allegations against Ted Cruz—the charges the Senator is ineligible to run for president because he was born in Canada? Like the similar charges against President Obama, those charges contain an ugly undercurrent of racism and xenophobia. The impression is that Cruz, who is Hispanic (of Cuban heritage), is not a “real” (in other words white) American. Is the media promoting such bigotry by repeating these charges?
- Is the media showing ideological bias by focusing criticism on the conservative Ted Cruz while treating the far more liberal Trump with kid gloves?
- Why is the media focusing so much coverage on Trump’s church attendance? There has been no such coverage of other candidates’ worship. As far as I know, no reporter has followed Governor Chris Christie or Jeb Bush, who claim to be Catholic, to Mass or accompanied U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is Jewish, to synagogue. Why does Trump’s religious observance deserve so much special attention? Why are reporters trying to portray Trump as a good Christian who goes to church?
- Is the largely Manhattan-based media giving preferential treatment to the native New Yorker Donald Trump? Are reporters giving Donald a break simply because he was born in Queens and resides in Manhattan?
- Why is media coverage of the Republican primary contest seemingly skewed to favor one candidate—Trump—while coverage of the Democratic contest seems to be fairly neutral?
- Have some reporters and news outlets such as CBS and The New York Times crossed the line and started actively promoting a particular candidate? Even if that is not the case, it appears that way to many Americans.
- How are Americans supposed to make an informed decision in the presidential election if the media refuses to report the complete story about one of the leading candidates?
These questions need to be answered because they raise troubling ethical questions about the media. Americans need to ask one more important question: Why are journalists not asking these questions of each other? That question and those raised above need to be answered and now if the Fourth Estate wants to maintain even a semblance of credibility in America.