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Dear Santa

Dear Santa

Wayne Hoffman
December 19, 2020
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December 19, 2020

Dear Santa,

I have but one wish for Christmas 2020: Please send one unbiased Idaho news reporter. He or she need not be wrapped. Just leave ‘em under the tree next to the big box with the Frozen-themed wrapping from seven years ago. 

Santa, I need you to understand the basis of my request: When I was a reporter, the ability to be impartial or unbiased was a yardstick by which our work was measured. A reporter could be accused of many things but to call one “biased” was to attack not only his integrity but also his ability to do his job. An openly biased reporter was an unemployed reporter, as instantly as a reporter who was consistently inaccurate.  

Today, many, if not most, self-described “journalists” think it’s their job to protect the integrity of information coming from the government. But reporters are notoriously terrible at it. They presume that because a government agency or official told them something, it must be true. And anything said against that truth is unquestionably false. How terrible is that?

If you’re not sure, Santa, consider this: Since the November election, reporters and headline writers have thrown around the word “baseless.” As in, “Trump makes baseless election fraud claim” and “Trump files baseless lawsuit challenging election results in Pennsylvania.” The word “baseless” is an editorialization of a news story. That one word serves a singular purpose, and that is to choose a side, in this case, against President Donald Trump’s claims about election fraud.

Now, the media don’t know whether there was election fraud or not. They only know what government officials (apart from Trump) tell them. And they choose not to believe the president because his comments are contrary to certain official positions. Their headlines 400 years ago would have read, “Galileo promotes baseless theory that earth revolves around the sun.” They’re taking a side, Santa, supportive of the government officials who contend Trump is wrong. And that’s not cool. 

Prior to 2020, if someone sued me or I sued someone else, you wouldn’t see a headline that reads: “Hoffman files baseless lawsuit.” The press would wait to see what a court said. Today, news outlets don’t need judges and juries to figure things out. Their hatred of Trump is enough. 

And Santa, I gotta tell you, the one-sidedness in favor of government action explains a lot about why the media have been especially anti-conservaitve in 2020. The governments of the world, including those in the U.S., have weaponized Covid-19 in ways that limit the freedom to assemble, worship, move about, and engage in business and  commerce. Governments have told us how to interact in public and demanded obedience. Those of us who have dared question the varsity of the government experts and the implementation of their policies have been ridiculed and silenced. And woe befall anyone in government who holds power but fails to use it. Such an office holder faces the wrath of those who “buy ink by the barrel.” 

This is perfectly normal in the case of Idaho reporters and editors. Santa, I hope you will take a look at Idaho reporters’ Twitter feeds, where these “impartial” writers are busy castigating conservatives and siding with liberal activists. There are too many to name, and each probably deserves coal in his stocking, but I’ll leave that to you. 

Idaho’s legacy news editorial pages are also as bad as they've ever been. Consider for your “naughty list” the Coeur d’Alene Press’ Mike Patrick, who told me he won’t publish my comments unless I agree to say what he tells me to say or the newish editor of the Idaho Press, Holly Beech, who told me earlier this year that my commentaries opposing Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order couldn’t be published because telling people to make their own decisions whether to leave home or resume business would be “irresponsible.” 

So Santa, please consider my request, which I hope is easy to fulfill. My ideal journalist need not be a conservative. Or a libertarian. Or housebroken. Just unbiased. Fair. Objective. Impartial. I thank you kindly. 

And, of course, Merry Christmas.

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