Dan Abrams Blasts Journalism Watchdog for Demanding More Media Criticism of Trump Speech


The New York Times changed its “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism” headline after severe online backlash last night, as people said it was a poor framing of President Donald Trump’s remarks Monday.

Following the paper changing the headline, there have been a few takes criticizing the backlash, including from Politico’s Jack Shafer and on Fox News.

Mediaite founder Dan Abrams weighed in on his SiriusXM show today with a critique of a Columbia Journalism Review piece by Jon Allsop panning the Times specifically, but also the press more generally for — as the headline puts it — “letting Trump off the hook” in reporting on his response to the mass shootings.

Abrams called the CJR piece biased and said while the first Times headline was “worthy of criticism,” the revised version (“Assailing Hate But Not Guns”) was fair and accurate. But it wasn’t just the Times facing criticism from CJR:

“An article on the website of CBS, for example, quoted heavily from Trump’s address; only in the 11th paragraph, out of 13, does it note that Trump ‘will still face questions’ about past rhetoric that ‘critics say’ has fueled racial hatred. An NBC News story waited until the 27th paragraph to make a similar point about ‘Trump’s critics.’ Both pieces led with Trump calling out white supremacy.”

“That’s the news!” Abrams responded.

Abrams then read from the NBC report which included a variety of critical comments well before the 27th paragraph. “‘Trump avoided calling for any specific gun control laws, in contrast to a tweet,’ etc. etc.,” Abrams continued. “And the Columbia Journalism Review is claiming that’s not enough?”

Allsop also wrote,”But the premise of Trump’s healing address was a lie, and coverage of it—assuming that it merited attention at all—should have made fact its focus.”

“The Columbia Journalism Review is suggesting the media should not have covered it at all!” Abrams said disbelievingly. “You may hate the president — and you heard me, I’ve been critical on many issues — but the idea that media’s to blame for covering what he said?”

Abrams continued reading from the article: “Trump is culpable for hate in America; journalists should not give the impression that he is invested in working to fix it.”

“That’s an opinion,” Abrams retorted. “It’s really astonishing this is coming from the Columbia Journalism Review.”

You can listen above, via SiriusXM.

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