March 31, 2019

All we need in the mornings is for Tiffany Cross to remind the media how they are supposed to do their jobs. It's not that hard. Use accuracy, and stop being so deferential to Trump and his racist/misogynistic/homophobic/illiterate (take your pick) voter. Why are so few — even the ones we open-minded, educated, coastal elites rely upon like MSNBC — able to pull it off?

She joined Joy Reid this morning to make the point, when discussing the media's awful hot takes on Trump cheerleader AG William Barr's summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report.

REID: Tiffany the strangeness of the first several hours, initially the headline -- actually the headline of the story is "Inside Trump's Winning Weekend: A New Presidency." That's how good the headlines work for him. This report in Axios says that a source with president Trump at Mar-a-Lago when the Mueller letter came out tells Axios' Alayna Treene, says Trump was initially frustrated with Barr over the line saying the president hadn't been exonerated on obstruction of justice, so that he essentially thought the letter was bad for him. Once he started to watch the TV coverage and realized he was getting positive headlines, he was like, "I feel great!"

CROSS: We all know the president doesn't read as much as he watches tv. This the thing, I want to echo what Eric said. He punched on something so significant. This is yet again a huge failure on behalf of the media. This is not the first time. This is one time where Fox is not stand alone. Across the board, there were no innocent bystanders here. Across the board you saw people blindly accept William Barr's, as the president's handpicked Attorney General, summary and conflate these two things. Conflate Barr's summary with the actual report. You had reporters and anchors asking things like, "Well, now that Mueller has said there's no collusion, what should Democrats do?" I would have to consistently correct people. I haven't seen the report. I don't think you have either. Why are we saying and echoing and sounding like an apologist for the White House, as if we owe this president some sort of huge apology? We didn't prove he didn't collude. We didn't know anything. None of us have seen the report that Barr took three days to summarize 300-plus pages. That's just ridiculous. This happens after 2016 of gifting this man with wall-to-wall coverage of his rallies. Again and again putting on known liars like Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders to echo this president's lies, and then to now gift him with, "Oh, and by the way by the way, Mueller found you innocent." We know that's not true. Just the week the AP Style Guide, all of us journalists know it well, they had to put out guidance to tell journalists, "Hey, guys, when something is racist, it's okay to go ahead and say it's racist." This marks disconnect between media and consumers. This is how you continue to dumb down the American electorate when you don't give people the benefit of the doubt of reporting the truth. You're so concerned with being first and less concerned with being accurate. This is a problem in our democracy.

REID: It's interesting because even with the AP style guide story, the big story was percent versus percentage sign.

But then, speaking of gifts, Cross comes back, a la Columbo with just one more thing, to make the point that has been making me and other liberals pull our hair out for the last two years.

CROSS: Can I just ask -- sorry, if I can jump in really quick on that point and say, all our panelists have made amazing points. It highlights some media outlets are more concerned about offending these Trump voters than they are about speaking the truth. Even on the heels of this, in the aftermath of Barr's summary, you still see all these panels and curiosities about where does MAGA country stand on this, how do people feel about this, this is something you've seen consistently for the past two years. I don't know, I don't remember all this curiosity about Obama voters. I don't remember people sitting around wondering what Obama voters thought every little issue consistently. So again, it's a disconnect with the media, they are consistently out of step with the demographics and the way the country is changing.

Or, dare I ask, does anyone care how the people who voted for HILLARY CLINTON have been faring over the past two years?

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