On Wednesday’s “CNN Tonight,” reporter Michael Wolff warned that the media’s true flaw is that it considers itself more important than the American public — and his co-panelists’ reactions didn’t exactly hurt his case.
Referring to the media’s indignation that Trump didn’t invite them to a steak dinner on Tuesday, Wolff — a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter — said:
“All the press has talked about is this for the last 24 hours…I would say this is a red flag warning.
We have to stop talking about ourselves. It’s not about us.
And unless we learn that, we’re going to continue to go down the road — find ourselves in the position that we found ourselves last Tuesday.”
When CNN’s Brian Stelter laughed at the idea, quickly arguing — along with host Don Lemon — that they had talked about other topics, Wolff continued:
“But nevertheless, they have talked an enormous amount about something that only affects them.”
Looks like Trump went out for dinner tonight — but the president-elect's press pool was not notified, so journalists are not on the trip https://t.co/p2g5X7j8Tg
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 16, 2016
It’s not the first time Wolff has warned about the media’s disconnect with the American public.
The day after the presidential election, Wolff addressed how Trump’s victory exposed the “media’s smug failures”:
“Certainly, there was no moment in the campaign where the Media Party did not see itself as a virtuous and, most often, determinative factor in the race. Given this, the chants of ‘CNN sucks’ at Trump rallies should not have been entirely surprising.
But they were. The media took this as a comment about press freedom rather than its own failure to read the zeitgeist. In fact, it largely failed to tell any story other than its own.”
For what it’s worth, Wolff also made it perfectly clear before the election that, as a journalist, he did not plan to vote — something that “used to be a point of pride among journalists.”
Modern journalists, he argues, have become “passionate, partisan and dead-certain participants,” turning them into “actors not observers” on the political stage.
Earlier this year, a national Gallup poll found that only 32% of Americans had “a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media,” an historic low.
If the media truly wants to return to the reliable reputation it once enjoyed in the U.S., perhaps it should put a little more stock in what journalists like Wolff have to say.