Thursday, February 22, 2024

Using These Methods, Donald Trump Supporters Can, At Least Some of the Time, Force Hostile Media to Cover Them Fairly

In 2017, I oversaw a project that had aroused several left-of-center people into fits of rage, and it wasn’t long before members of the local mainstream press heard about it. 

A newspaper reporter asked to interview me about this project. I was familiar with her work. Only a few months prior, she had penned a scathing editorial that labeled then-President Donald Trump’s voters as ignorant and the former president himself as a misogynist. The rest of the column was a love letter to Hillary Clinton. After having been screwed over by a left-leaning TV reporter only a few months prior, I vowed not to let this newspaper reporter, clearly a leftist, get the better of me. 

I would take this newspaper reporter up on her offer — under one condition: I would use my iPhone to record the conversation. If she misquoted me or took me out of context then I would blast her and release the recording, from start to finish, on my social media.

The newspaper reporter accepted. She also allowed me to read my quotes before she published them. And even though she interviewed and quoted people who opposed me and my project, she churned out a surprisingly fair and objective piece. 

That’s because I held her accountable. 

Five years later, I continue to ask myself why conservatives and other members of the political right never seem to hold establishment media to the same standards.

I know firsthand how the news business works. I was a newspaper reporter for 10 years. In more than one newsroom, and behind closed doors, I overheard lots and lots of small talk. 

“I hate Republicans.”

“Tea Partiers are all Nazis.”

“Evangelicals are stupid.”

Editors at staff meetings ordered journalists not to report actual news that would help Republicans and hurt Democrats. When Democrats performed well on Election Day I saw reporters and editors gather in the newsroom the following morning and exchange high-fives.

These reporters seriously believe their biases don’t affect how they perform as journalists. Yet many people on the political right believe these people are little more than liberal activists who masquerade as supposedly objective and independent journalists.

With that said, it’s time that conservatives stopped taking a reactive approach to a mainstream press that hates them. They must take an approach that is instead proactive. 

If you are a conservative who wants to hold elected office, already holds elected office, or if you’re just a local grassroots activist then consider the following strategies:

• Research any reporter who contacts you before and if you grant any interviews. Study the reporter’s social media feeds and his or her previous stories. Is this person or his or her news outlet looking out for your best interests? Or are they actively working against them? Determine if the reporter or his or her employer have a history of bias and/or a left-of-center political agenda.

• If the reporter or his or her employer have a history of bias then tell him or her that you’re not blind to it. Lay down ground rules that require fairness and demand absolute objectivity. 

• A reporter’s job is to challenge you on the facts, but if the reporter’s questions seem a little too one-sided then call them out to their face — even if you must do it on live television. Cite the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, especially the part that says “ethical journalism should be accurate and fair.” Reporters are too used to conservatives who are passive and dislike confrontation. This needs to end.

• Don’t take the reporter’s conduct personally. Remember that a small percentage of reporters, as I was, are conservative and/or politically independent and must keep their opinions to themselves if they want to keep their jobs and feed their families. These types of reporters are (reluctantly) following the dictates of their woke editors, woke producers, and woke corporate overlords.

• Don’t forget to get an audio or video recording of the entire interview — as an insurance policy. 

• If the reporter or his or her news outlet ultimately does you dirty then remember that you have a social media page to get your side of the story out. Use it. 

These methods, of course, will require many conservatives to stiffen their spines. This will require conservatives to abandon the idea that maybe, just maybe, members of the mainstream press will take a shine to them and treat them better than they have treated other conservatives. 

Never assume that members of the mainstream press are on your side. Never assume they will treat conservatives fairly. Never assume they want to do anything other than diminish and belittle you.

Come prepared.

Act accordingly.