Criticizing media criticism
I was listening to some old episodes of the “On The Media” podcast today. Here’s one that got my attention: “Impossible!”
The first segment is funny. Jonathan Greenberg is incredulously telling the story of how Trump got onto the Forbes list of richest people (in the 1980s) by talking fast and bullshitting him, and in one case doing a phone interview while pretending to be someone else. The point of the story is “Wow, that Trump is such a bullshitter.”
The host expands on this, saying it’s pretty weird that Trump was lobbying hard to be on the list, since wealthy business people usually try to avoid gratuitous attention. Greenberg agrees: yeah, that’s weird.
The host doesn’t ask Greenberg why he did zero fact checking, took Trump’s inflated statements at face value, never saw the balance sheets, and didn’t see the lobbying as a red flag in its own right.
Jonathan Greenberg was and is an “investigative journalist.” On The Media is an award-winning media criticism show. Why I am still just some wise guy with a blog that nobody reads?
Edit: Greenberg wrote an interesting feature in the Washington Post that answers some of these questions. But it’s still very odd that the “media criticism” show didn’t address them.