Advocacy journalism? There's no doubt now

Monday, December 9, 2019
Jody Brown, Steve Jordahl (

newspaper rack (coin type)The media columnist for a liberal newspaper in Washington, DC, says journalists need to step up their game if they want to convince their audience that President Donald J. Trump should be impeached.

For years, conservative media watchdogs have accused biased mainstream reporters of covertly evangelizing their readers and viewers toward liberal points of view. Now Margaret Sullivan finally said it. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, the former public editor of The New York Times says wall-to-wall media coverage of the Trump impeachment drama "is not changing any minds" – so she offers "how journalists can reach the undecided."

Sullivan essentially argues the public needs to be convinced that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office: "Maybe, must maybe, it's the job of American journalism in this moment to get serious about trying to reach these citizens," Sullivan wrote.

Her suggestions didn't go unnoticed. Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-New York) blasted Sullivan's advice, tweeting:

"'Journalists' apparently need to do a better job of being Democratic hack surrogates, according to this gross take."

On social media, veteran journalist and political analyst Brit Hume offered:

"Because, you see, journalists are not simply to report the news without fear or favor. Their mission instead is to convince the public that the president should be impeached and removed. Good lord."

Tim Graham with Media Research Center wrote:

"… Sullivan has offered a perfect example of how the pompous Post sees itself. It exists to provide enlightenment to the masses, and the masses are supposed to respond and give liberals victory at the polls, both at election time and when the media pollsters work the phones. It is their job to destroy Trump's 'darkness' that's allegedly killing democracy."

In an interview with OneNewsNow, talk-show host Kevin McCullough said Sullivan's column is the most blatant admission to date of the bias of the mainstream media.

Kevin McCullough"[To me it] sounds like open recruitment to try to not inform the voters, but to actually snooker them," he says. "And it betrays the bigger problem in journalism-at-large, which is it is not about telling the facts of a story – it is about trying to paint narrative."

McCullough says the public is only getting one side of the story unless they tune into the handful of conservative new sources. "[When] there's no corresponding narrative, there's no contradictive narrative, then we are basically giving assent to takeover by one ideological worldview – which, of course, is the left's desire," he argues.


Scott Whitlock of Media Research Center remembers the day when reporting was about accurately delivering the facts.

"I still have this naïve idea that it is their job to tell people what is happening and what are the facts, and not [try] to] move the needle," Whitlock shares. "It's not [their] job. [Their] job is to document what is happening and let the politicians on both sides make the case."


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media news industry (illustration)Considering how relentlessly biased the mainstream media's impeachment coverage has been, one journalist wonders if the industry will every recover.