Journalists discuss conservative media at SMPA panel

Media Credit: Alexander Welling | Photographer

Jennifer Rubin, a columnist for The Washington Post and a contributor for MSNBC, speaks at an event on conservatism in the media at an event in the Media and Public Affairs building Thursday.

A panel of five journalists discussed their views on conservative news media during President Donald Trump’s administration at the Jack Morton Auditorium Thursday.

The journalists and Kara Zupkus, the president of GW’s chapter of Young America’s Foundation, spoke to about 150 people about Trump’s impact on right-leaning news organizations. School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno moderated the event.

Jennifer Rubin, a columnist for The Washington Post and a contributor for MSNBC, said some right-leaning media outlets often stray from objective news coverage and function as “auxiliaries” to the White House.

“Objective truth used to be mainstay of conservatism, as opposed to this notion of alternative facts,” Rubin said. “We do not intentionally report falsehoods. Do we get things wrong? Yes, but we do not make excuses for the president or follow him around.”

Bill Kristol, the founder and former editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, said the newspaper closed in December 2018 because owner Philip Anschutz, a billionaire businessman, thought the publication was “consistently critical of the president.”

“Trump and Trump-ism has put more pressure on conservative media than would normally be the case because of the ferocity with which people hold to Trump as a person,” he said.

Bob Garfield, the co-host of WYNC radio show “On the Media,” said some right-leaning media outlets, like The Daily Caller and Breitbart, may intentionally back Trump for financial gain.

“As much as Trump has benefited from the politics of resentment and run away from all of these bedrock conservative and Republican principles, these media organizations have gone right along with him and that’s because the cash register rings,” he said. “It has nothing to do with ideology. It has nothing to do with conservatism.”

Zupkus, the president of GW YAF, said it is “discouraging” to see conservative media outlets become more focused on Trump’s presidency. She said both liberal and conservative media outlets have “given up” on objectively reporting on Trump, making it difficult to find a neutral news source.

“It is a really hard time for people to find an outlet that has honest truthful reporting, down the middle with no agenda,” Zupkus said.

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