NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd urged his fellow journalists to hit back against attacks on the media and blamed Roger Ailes and President Donald Trump for the public’s negative view of the press.
Todd played the victim and compared being a journalist today to working in “the segregated South in the 1950s and ’60s.”
“Bashing the media for political gain isn’t new, and neither is manipulating the media to support or oppose a cause,” Todd wrote in an op-ed for The Atlantic Monday. “The closest parallel in recent American history is the hostility to reporters in the segregated South in the 1950s and ’60s.”
Todd called out Fox News personalities Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, commentator Matt Drudge and others, for profiting off the fears of white people.
“Some of the wealthiest members of the media … have attained wealth and power by exploiting the fears of older white people,” he wrote. “They are thriving financially by exploiting the very same free-press umbrella they seem determined to undermine.”
Todd said Trump labeling the press the enemy of the people has delegitimized the media, but said the public’s antagonistic attitude predated the Trump administration.
“Roger Ailes, who went on to help found Fox News, was the most important of those figures,” he continued. “His sustained assault on the press, created the conditions that would allow a president to surround himself with aides who argue for ‘alternative facts,’ and announce that ‘truth isn’t truth.’ Without Ailes, a man of Trump’s background and character could never have won. Roger Ailes was the godfather of the Trump presidency.”
Todd also claimed the recent political rhetoric has caused him to receive “idle death threats,” but said he doesn’t let it bother him, declaring the media’s mission more important than his personal feelings.
“For me, idle death threats are now the norm. (I don’t take them seriously, because if I did, I’d never feel at peace.) But forget the personal animus or safety issues reporters now face. American democracy requires a functioning press that informs voters and creates a shared set of facts,” Todd wrote. “If journalists are going to defend the integrity of their work, and the role it plays in sustaining democracy, we’re going to need to start fighting back.”
“The truth is that most journalists, in newsrooms large and small across the country, are doing their best each day to be fair, honest, and direct,” he concluded. “These values are what Americans demand of one another, and it should be what they demand of their media.”
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