Trump not the first to battle media bias

Trump not the first to battle media bias
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Trump not the first to battle media bias

The news media has turned into a political party battling President Donald Trump. Journalists have hurled attacks against the president complaining about his income, nepotism, calling him a “Liar” and blaming him for racism and gender bias. Yet the news media is guilty on all counts, from outrageous incomes to nepotism and even lying. But worse, the news media and media bias fuels both racism and gender bias against women. The media hypocrisy is outrageous

By Ray Hanania

President Donald Trump has vowed to change the White House relationship with the mainstream news media and expand access to include new media.

And Trump is justified in denouncing the news media’s obvious bias.

The news media has been wrong on almost everything, from politics to the attendance at his inauguration. (Add the viewing data from both television and internet online and more people watched Trump get sworn in than any other president.)

Instead of discussing the inauguration crowd size properly and fairly, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos (a former top aid to Bill and Hillary Clinton) called Trump a liar on his Sunday morning show.



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It’s amazing how far the biased news media has gone to impact an election, which is not their job.

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Trump’s fight against media bias isn’t a new one. It happened before, in Chicago, and I was at the front lines of that storm.

Jay McMullen, husband of former Mayor Jane M. Byrne, with Ray Hanania weeks after threatening to punch the author in the nose. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania. 1979

Jay McMullen, husband of former Mayor Jane M. Byrne, with Ray Hanania weeks after threatening to punch the author in the nose. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania. 1979

No one in the major media believed Jane M. Byrne would crush the Chicago Machine and Mayor Michael A. Bilandic in February 1979, but she did.

Byrne’s biggest battle, though, was with the news media, and that is Trump’s challenge, too. Byrne failed, but in Trump’s case, he can succeed.

Although Byrne began as a reformer, she flipped and embraced the very “Evil Cabal of Men” she denounced during her campaign in less than six months. Byrne made “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak and the Chicago mob her Council leadership abandoning her reform Council Floor leaders believing they were inept. She realized they were trying to strengthen her real political threat, Richie Daley.

Byrne’s first anti-media outburst came in August 1979 in response to a column I wrote that detailed her plans to oust Cook County Circuit Clerk Morgan Finley. Finley broke a promise to hire her husband, Jay McMullen, two years before.

The column angered McMullen who threatened to punch me in the nose. “I don’t need my wife to fight my battles,” McMullen yelled, but his wife did fight his battles, blaming the story on media bias.

Within one year, Byrne was fighting all the media. She ordered City Council Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Coletta to give 10 more community news outlets access to the already crowded City Hall Press Room.

The newsroom had desks and telephones for myself, the Tribune, Sun-Times, WIND Radio, City News Bureau and the Defender. An ante-room had desks for WBBM, WMAQ and WBEZ radio. The added desks left no room to maneuver, but it didn’t work.

Although Byrne invited the community news media to cover City Hall and “compete” with the Hall’s regular media, she was decades before her time. The community media didn’t have the resources and couldn’t sustain the access.

There was no Internet, blogs or social media to circumvent the mainstream media to reach Chicagoland’s audience.

The personal computer was new. I brought the first one to City Hall in 1979. The Tribune and the Sun-Times followed. Soon the media was mastering computer technology.

But it’s different for Trump today. With the Internet and social media, Trump doesn’t have to be hostage to the mainstream news media, the way Byrne was.

Trump can give his news to the alternate media of bloggers and Twitter scribes. Trump can Tweet his releases instantly to 15 million followers and writers who can provide more objective coverage of his administration. He can ignore the big media networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, WGN and even FOX, and all of the newspaper giants like the Tribune, Washington Post, and more.

Of the nation’s top 100 newspapers, only 2 endorsed him for president over Clinton. Their predictions and analysis were wrong. Why should he continue to cater to them?

Trump doesn’t have to give the media free space, telephones or Internet access. He doesn’t even have to give them rooms to work. They’re owned by big corporations and they can afford to pay. The smaller media is the media that needs support, including independent and community media that have traditionally been excluded from the White House by the major media and complicit administrations.

Trump should invite independent journalists and columnists to cover his administration. Put them in the front row. Tell Stephanopoulos he’s out. This would encourage more diverse news reporting and more competition, something lacking today.

Unlike Byrne who failed, Trump can win. The times are different. The media has changed. The Internet allows access to a huge audience. That would be good for America.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist, feature writer and author. He covered Chicago City Hall  from 1976 through 1992. Permission is granted to republish column in its entirety with full attribution. Email him at with comments. Hanania writes on Middle East issues for and on mainstream issues for

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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