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In Thirst To Get Trump, Mainstream Media Has Lost Its Context

by Jeff Powers, published

San Diego, Calif.- The vast majority of the media in this country wants to see President Trump fail.

Not groundbreaking news as 93% of all stories are negative towards the administration.

Coverage of this administration is three times more negative than for Obama. That rosy narrative of the previous administration some have said, "haunts American discourse." 

Keeping the Oval Office in check is a critical role the media serves, but purposefully omitting key historical facts to push a baked-in partisan narrative is, at its core, violating the mission of the Fifth Estate. Facts matter, and so does context, and far too often during this presidency, journalists have decided that the two are mutually exclusive. They are not.

History has a great thing going for it, it's never wrong.

The mainstream media is not the enemy of the people, journalism that lacks context to serve a partisan narrative however, doesn't help our democracy.

Exhibit A

If the mainstream media wonders why it's so distrusted by the American people, exhibit A, the latest Tear Gas episode at the border.

Members of the media in San Diego, indeed some of my former colleagues, were salivating with the opportunity to reinforce the narrative that the Trump administration was violating "norms," when in fact it had not.

Hysterical headlines were splashed across the nation's newspapers, online websites and social media accounts:

The Washington Post,  "Why tear gas, lobbed at migrants on the southern border, is banned in warfare."

Vox: “Barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas.”

San Diego Union-Tribune: "Trump defends use of tear gas against unarmed migrants, threatens to 'permanently' close border after chaotic clashes"

Just 24 hours later, our "watchdog" was shown to be lacking critical context in their reporting, feeding the false narrative that this administration is coloring outside the lines of norms and doing "inhumane" things, never before considered by the White House.

That narrative then gives political partisans and talking heads the "safe space" to condemn their opponents for the exact behavior their own side engaged in when confronted by the same challenges. What's worse, when confronted that their reporting has a severe lack of context, they take an elitist position and double down on their partisan positions.

It's a sick, unhealthy cycle.

The left celebrates the demonization of the administration.

The right looks at the critical reporting as illegitimate.

And independents who view issues with a critical lens, not as part of a partisan political machine, are left shaking their heads, hoping legitimate reporting focused on solutions for our country will return.

Report: Obama administration BEGAN use of Tear Gas and Pepper Spray

According to a CBD report, the agency began using tear gas and pepper spray during the Obama administration in 2010.

According to published reports, the CBP use of force reports show tear gas used 126 times since 2012 and pepper spray a total of 540 times during that same period.

Tear Gas Use By Obama/Trump Administration:

Courtesy: CBD Use Tear Gas Report

Pepper Spray Use By Obama/Trump Administration:

Courtesy: CBD Use Pepper Spray Report

With these FACTS as a backdrop, consider what the media failed to report:

  • Under President Barack Obama in 2013, pepper spray, reached a record high number of uses, with 151
  • Between 2012-2017 Tear Gas was deployed during Obama presidency 97 times
  • Between 2012-1017 Pepper Spray was deployed during Obama presidency 490 times
  • Trump administration had legal authority to deploy tear gas and pepper spray
  • Caravan members hurled rocks at Border Patrol (as seen on video)

If the media wants to restore its trust, before penning outrage at egregious violation of “norms” or a “radical” departure from the rule of law, check recent history, it has a way of being a useful guide and Democracy will thank you.

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