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Conservative columnist knows nothing about reporting the news | READER COMMENTARY

In this file photo, Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity autographs a Trump hat for an attendee before a Donald Trump campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. Hannity has been at Fox News since it first launched in 1996. But it's only recently that he's become the network's biggest star, outlasting its first breakout host, Bill O'Reilly.
In this file photo, Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity autographs a Trump hat for an attendee before a Donald Trump campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. Hannity has been at Fox News since it first launched in 1996. But it's only recently that he's become the network's biggest star, outlasting its first breakout host, Bill O'Reilly. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/TNS)

One thing is clear reading conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg’s alleged analysis (”Americans are losing trust in media and it’s easy to see why,” Aug. 10) of public distrust of the media — he’s no reporter.

News is the unusual, the new! That may be a revelation to Mr. Goldberg, but then he’s no newsman. He complains that although cable news shows are full of people talking about defunding or disbanding the police, the majority of people of all races and ethnicities in the U.S. don’t want that, according to recent polls.

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Further, he says that the polls show that "8 in 10 Americans think the media is trying to convince people 'to adopt a certain opinion.' " He goes on in that vein.

First, I depend on newspapers for most of my information, and I think they are a far better source than cable TV. Of course, stories about defunding or abolishing police are going to get attention. That’s new! That’s unusual! And yes, the majority of the public doesn’t subscribe to that view! Neither do either of the two major party presidential candidates.

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Near the end of his column, Mr. Goldberg notes that “this isn’t about liberal media bias (the right wing media has biases too). It reflects a tendency for American media outlets to speak to audiences that are unrepresentative of America as a whole.”

As someone who spent 45 years writing about local news in the Baltimore area, I’d say that is a twisted view of what is going on. It’s the reporter’s job to tell people what is happening. This year’s public turmoil sparked by the police killing of George Floyd set off a huge reaction to what is a systemic, long-term problem of racial bias baked into our American mindset. What would Mr. Goldberg have reporters do, downplay or ignore it? Or only report views that they think the majority of Americans agree with?

President Donald J. Trump, backed by Fox News and other right wing outlets, has worked overtime trying to convince people that the actual facts are lies and that only their propaganda should be believed. That, by far, is the reason for declining public trust in news reporting. President Trump and Fox have taught people to believe their own prejudices and ignore everything else. They are working every day to undermine the credibility of people who gather and report the news.

News isn’t what people tell pollsters. It is what is actually happening whether readers, or viewers, like it or not.

Larry Carson, Columbia

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