Is the news media biased against Donald Trump?
That charge has been aired in recent days not only by the billionaire candidate, who negs CNN, The New York Times, and the press generally at almost every opportunity, but by several thoughtful political commentators who don’t much like him.
These media critics all cited the same example: coverage of the Republican nominee’s controversial statement that President Obama was “the founder of ISIS.”
That coverage was hardly uniform.
Overgeneralizing in a way that obscured the diversity of approaches different journalists took to the story, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist wrote, “The media immediately decided Trump was claiming that Obama had literally incorporated ISIS a few years back. And they treated this literal claim as a fact that needed to be debunked.”
She accused the media of “hyper-literalism.”
At The Week, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry concurred.
“With all the lies, all the exaggerations, all the ridiculousness that spews forth from his mouth, the media still finds ways to twist and misrepresent what he says,” Gobry wrote. “Take last week's stupid Trump controversy. The GOP nominee, we're informed, believes Barack Obama founded ISIS. Those are words Trump said. It's also true that Trump has trafficked in insane conspiracy theories, so, who knows. But does he actually mean it literally, in the way that when he links Ted Cruz's father to the JFK assassination that's literally what he means to imply? Actually, no. Trump means it figuratively—he means that Obama's policies caused the rise of ISIS.”