The New York Times picked Jim Rutenberg, previously the Times Mag chief political correspondent, as the successor to David Carr in January. On Sunday, Rutenberg finally made his debut.
In his first column, Rutenberg tackled “the disturbing symbiosis between Mr. Trump and the news media.”
Ruternberg’s main point was that because the economy is suffering, the media has no choice but to feed the Trump monster because that monster keeps the clicks—and the ad dollars—coming:
Just as his success at the polls is pushing the Republican Party to reassess its very identity and break with long-held traditions, he is using his ratings power to push the news media to break from its mission of holding the powerful, or really just him, accountable. In other words, to loosen its standards.
We take those standards as a given, but they were established during more economically secure times, when the traditional media was flush and could dictate the terms of news coverage to advertisers, the people it covered and its audience. That leverage is slipping away.
While we don’t exactly agree with Ruternberg’s take (if the media doesn’t blast Trump, who will?) it’s certainly an interesting start.