Reuters thinks Robert De Niro calling Trump 'totally nuts' is worthy of top story status

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday August 15th, 2016

How the media decides an election.

My issue here is with Reuters, not with De Niro. I don't agree with De Niro, but if he wants to say what he thinks, hey. Knock yourself out, Bobby. You have as much right as me or anyone else. Nor do I care that he did it at an event that was supposed to be all about film awards and not politics. Whatever. It's on your mind, say it. Be who you are.

The news judgment of Reuters is another matter entirely. I don't care how much of a A-list star De Niro is. His opinion about Trump is not newsworthy, and it is certainly not worthy of being played as one of the day's top stories. Yet here we are:

U.S. actor and producer Robert De Niro said on Saturday that U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump should not run for president because he was "totally nuts".

Trump, a billionaire businessman seeking his first public office, has courted controversy with a string of inflammatory statements about his main opponent Hillary Clinton, guns, Mexicans, Muslims and war veterans, among others.

De Niro made the comments to a Sarajevo audience as he presented a digital version of Martin Scorsese's film "Taxi Driver", in which he starred, to mark its 40th anniversary.

"I don't know, it's crazy that people like Donald Trump ..., he shouldn't even be where he is, so God help us," De Niro said to wide applause in the Sarajevo National Theater.

"What he's been saying is really totally crazy, ridiculous ... he is totally nuts."

"But I think now they are really starting to push back, the media ... finally they are starting to say: Come on Donald, this is ridiculous, this is nuts, this is insane," De Niro said.

Uh no, the media are not "starting to push back." The media are in all-out war mode against Trump, and they're using the musings of public figures like De Niro to concoct excuses for more negative headlines about Trump. I spotted this story in the Reuters RSS feed that's generated on my custom home page. Check the positioning of the story on Reuters's feed:

Reuters thinks Robert de Niro calling Trump 'totally nuts' is worthy of top story status

Top story. Ahead of an update on the coup in Turkey. Ahead of the Olympics. Ahead of the latest developments in Afghanistan. Yep. A movie actor offering his completely uninformed opinion about the sanity of a man he doesn't know. There's your lead story.

And the reason that's the lead story is simple: The media's number one narrative at the moment is "Donald Trump is evil, insane and a threat to the republic." Anything that fits with this narrative becomes an instant top headline, even if it's nothing more than someone who has no idea mouthing the same notions.

If the opinions of movie actors about the candidates were truly news, where are all the headlines about Jon Voight's takedown of Hillary? Google it and you'll find a few stories - mainly on web-only outlets - but certainly nothing on the level of top story on Reuters.

This is how the media intend to deliver the presidency to Hillary. It's in the way they report stories, but even more so, it's in what they decide is news. You can always find people who are willing to trash a candidate. Good news judgment would suggest that this is rarely worth a story, especially when the person doing the trashing has no particular knowledge to back up his trashing. But that news judgment is out the window this year. The goal of the media is to generate as many anti-Trump headlines as possible, and it doesn't matter if the actual story is really worthy of being a story.

They want to reinforce in your mind that Trump is dangerous, unhinged, etc., while minimizing your understanding of how corrupt, dishonest and incompetent Hillary is.

The current state of the polls suggests the strategy is working pretty well at the moment. Someone had better figure out a way to combat it effectively, and that means more than just complaining about how unfair it is. Or else we're going to end up with the most corrupt individual this nation's political scene has ever encountered in full possession of the powers of the presidency.

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