On Trump & Media Bias

I braved the waters and posted some thoughts on Facebook concerning President-Elect Trump and "media bias." Here it is, posted in full:

Okay...whew...I'm about to make a political post, which is the equivalent of saying I'm about to coat my face in honey and blueberries and stick it into a grizzly bear den in April...

My post is NOT bashing Donald Trump or defending Hillary Clinton.
(Read that last sentence one more time.)

My post is about those talking about "media bias" right now as our society continues to adjust to the idea of Trump as president. The same way that many of you didn't really celebrate the election of President Obama, but had to "adjust" to it...many others, including the majority of our major media sources, are doing the same. I understand the word adjust may not really be adequate right now for many of you, but it will serve...

On Media Bias:
First of all, Trump supporters, unless you specifically attended his rallies, the only way you learned that the "media is out to get Trump" is because Trump told you so...through the media. His rallies themselves were orchestrated and produced, not unlike a reality TV show, to achieve a certain effect utilizing specific mediums. Hence, the word media would apply there as well. (Please don't be defensive: I FULLY understand Hillary's events were designed as well...)

I'm not saying there's no media bias. They were biased. Very biased. Every single major newspaper in the country that endorsed a candidate, endorsed Hillary Clinton. Many of them were also very biased against rural Trump voters, and communicated in elitist, divisive ways. That's not my point today. My main point here is that what I'm seeing in these FB Battles concerning media bias is not media bias.

First, understand, there IS a ton of bad media out there. I get it. And early reporting from the traditionally reputable journalists are already showing that bad journalism, i.e. many of the articles on The Good Ship Facebook, contained harmful lies and destructive half-truths. For both "sides."

However, on topic today, if you delighted in the media's constant reporting of Hillary's emails but now scream foul at their coverage of Trump's decisions since the election, then I don't think media bias is the problem.

Moving on, it's not media bias if the media reports something "your person" said or did that you don't like or makes them look bad. That's their job. They "report." When they comment on it, that's when bias leaks in, but hopefully we all realize that we're all biased. Journalists and those of us listening and reading.

“(People) prefer to believe what they prefer to be true.”
Francis Bacon 

Editing videos and sound bites play a part, too, of course, but the media literally word-for-word sharing what "your person" said, or a public decision your person made, that might make them look bad isn't media bias. 
(Ex: If your coach goes for it on 4th and 18 from your own 1 yard line in the 1st quarter, and the media questions that decision, it's not media bias. Coach made a call the majority of sane football fans/coaches would never make.)

It's responsible journalism for the media to not only report what a President-Elect says or does, but to evaluate what those words and decisions mean...especially if that behavior or speech is more than something that makes them look bad, but is actually something that causes (or increases the chance of it causing) harm to other people.

Trump supporters, if the media reports something potentially dangerous or frightening Trump does or says, you can no longer counter with "But Hillary..." The election is over. That ship has sailed. There is now only President-elect Trump. There is no Hillary to compare with. He stands on his own merits and mistakes. Her faults don't justify his behavior. Her emails don't excuse any incompetency he may demonstrate.
Benghazi isn't elevating a known white supremacist to a position of power. He is.

You, and he, must own the fact your champion won. And he gets all that comes with it: "phenomenal cosmic power, itty-bitty living space." The office of U.S. president comes with a bajillion watt spotlight aimed directly at your soul, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (We've all seen Obama's hair color. Enough said.) There is no "wait and see" because he's already making decisions that affect ALL of us living in this country, not to mention people around the world. Every pebble he throws lands in the lake of humanity and sends out ripples for everyone.

Additionally, nobody gets to tell people their fears aren't real. Just because you love big dogs doesn't mean you get to tell a person frightened of your German shepherd that their fear of dogs isn't true, or is completely unfounded. Your lack of fear doesn't mean no one else is afraid. (See also: Snakes. Heights. Needles. Public Speaking. Cheap toilet paper.)

When the media reports that significant portions of our population fear what Trump will say, do, or appoint during his presidency, it's not media bias. It's the media saying: "some people are scared and here's why." They're reporting it because people are afraid. Maybe not the people you see at your local restaurant or sing next to on Sunday morning, but many people ARE afraid. Not just people: American citizens. Our neighbors. Our job right now isn't to say their fear of "big dogs" is irrational. It's to listen. 

Related to that, it's a very cheap and disrespectful thing to say that all these people are protesting because they're sore losers. If you listen, that's not what you'll hear the vast majority of the time (if not 100% of the time.)
And I'll go here:
Many of you this past Saturday (or Sunday) lost your mind and blew a head gasket when your favorite sports team had a call made or not made against them. Your anger welled up and you protested, and when your favorite ball coach did the same, you were right there with him in spirit. (See also: Dabo Swinney. Not insulting the man. I love him and root for Clemson in solidarity with my legion of Tigers friends. But he's the most recent example I saw of this.)

A perceived injustice in a split-second moment in an athletic competition causes us to well up with outrage and express it. Please truly listen to others' fear and anger right now, if you do, you may find their "righteous indignation" has a source beyond an uncalled holding penalty.

Lastly, you've all seen or read about my life with Addi. She's my five year old daughter...and as much as she uses a diverse vocabulary and speaks creatively about a variety of topics, she's still five. That means she can still speak in sentence fragments, contradict herself (sometimes in the same paragraph), and speak from petulance. For me to try and discern her logic and motives, and to predict her behavior, is not a display of parental bias. It's my job as a parent....

Please don't be mad. I'm not calling Trump a child. I'm saying we have an election cycle full of evidence from his speeches and answers to legitimate questions...and they contain many sentence fragments, many contradictions, and many comments made in petulance in response to being challenged. I did not say his speech contained them exclusively, I said that it contains many examples of that. If you disagree with me, we probably won't have much more to talk about. (The definitions of fragment and contradiction are pretty clear.)
More importantly, he is not a five year old, he is the President-Elect of the most powerful and complex nation in the history of humankind...how much more should we expect our journalistic "authority figures" to wade into what he says and does to discern his logic and motives, and to predict his behavior?

And because this is Facebook, I need to make a few comments about comments.

Keep comments civil. I'd rather you just read and reflect, but if you must comment, do it with the same grace you'd like to be addressed with.

I'm open to challenges of things written above. I value honest and well-thought out critique.
I'm not open to challenges of things not written above. I do not value knee-jerk reactions written defensively and dramatically.

This is a thread about media bias in the context of President-Elect Trump. It's not another open forum for round 96 of Crooked Hillary vs. Drumpf. It's also not a thread inquiring about or questioning who I did vote for.

If you read my whole post, and then read my comments on comments, and you still comment on something off-topic or off-logic, I'll probably just ignore it. I ask those who may be tempted to wade in and DEFEND TRUTH to ignore it, too.

I may interact some, I may not at all. Even now, a little bit of my eternal soul leaks out of my sternum as I finish a FB political post and actually prepare to publish it...

LASTLY: If I think you're being an absolute doo-doo head to me or others, I'm going to delete your comment, and unfriend/block you.

Much love to you all. Mercy and grace to our nation and our world.

Matt O.