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The jackals are losing badly

Law professor and superstar blogger Glenn Reynolds of explains why dim-bulb White House reporters attacking Trump are doomed to failure:

“Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait. They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control — but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control.

“As Richard Fernandez writes on Facebook, they think he’s dumb because they think he has lousy taste, but there are a lot of scarily competent guys out there in the world who like white and gold furniture. And, I should note, Trump has more media experience than probably 99% of the people covering him. …

“The counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging. The counter-move to bolster its own trustworthiness is by acting more neutral and sober, and by being more trustworthy. If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.”

Some would argue that President Trump and his staff eventually will overplay their hand. But even that won’t sway public opinion because the jackal pack has shown itself incapable of any objectivity. It takes time for credibility to erode and even more time to rebuild it. Major news outlets will be tarnished for a generation or longer. Whether they will survive in their present form is a subject for another day.

I hold no romanticized view of the Fourth Estate and in fact will be entertained as they gnaw at limbs after blundering into trap after trap set by Trump’s people. As Professor Reynolds concludes: “If we had a better press, we’d be much better off as a nation. But we don’t.”

A final note: Professor Reynolds expanded his thoughts into a USA Today column:

It’s long-form Friday

Washington’s Blog outlines the seven reasons major media outlets seem to be so slavishly pro-war. They start with self-consorship:

Remembering Furman Bisher

[The late Furman Bisher always wrote a column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thanksgiving Day, citing things he was thankful for. Today we honor him with a repost from September 2015.]

When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution picked 50 people who have made the largest contributions to the city’s pro sports teams, a big name was overlooked.

That would be Furman Bisher, a fixture in the AJC and its predecessors for almost six decades.

A native of North Carolina, Furman joined The Constitution in 1950. Never one to let underlings eat up travel budget, he became Atlanta’s ambassador to big events and freelanced for national publications.

When politicians decided their city should be minor league no longer, Bisher played matchmaker. A deal to relocate the Kansas City A’s fell through. The Braves agreed to leave Milwaukee and play in Atlanta in 1965, but the move was delayed a year by the courts.

The Falcons also arrived in 1966. Furman backed Lindsey Hopkins to be the owner, but got behind Rankin Smith when the NFL awarded him the expansion team.

Both teams played at the new Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Furman was on the Stadium Authority board and unsuccessfully pushed for a MARTA stop.

At The Journal (he switched to the larger afternoon paper in 1955), Furman churned out columns, won national awards and ran the sports department in a non-endearing manner. He once called a reporter into his office and bellowed, “I’ve got an assignment for you. Find another job.”

Furman was eased out of management as the writing awards and Hall of Fame accolades piled up. He worked at the AJC well into old age, still popular with readers. (Think of him as a talent who could not be imitated, like radio’s Paul Harvey.)

Furman retired in 2009, unappreciated by bosses who cared more about agendas than readers. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 93.

For insiders: Selah.

For everybody else: R.I.P.

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