I turned 18 just before the 1992 Presidential election. George H.W. Bush had gone from having a 91% approval rating during the first Gulf War to trailing the Governor of Arkansas. The country had been in recession, but was coming out of it. Republicans blamed the media for not telling the good news stories they thought would turn the tide of public opinion. And so this became a popular bumper sticker amongst Republican partisans:
Republicans blaming the media has polled well for decades. This is not a partisan point, Democrats have their own recurring narratives.
We’re apt to think, though, that our narratives domestically are somehow unique. It’s a great reminder that the same political tactics that work in the U.S. are often employed successfully (and unsuccessfully) abroad. Indeed, the U.S. regularly deploys its political technology intervening in foreign elections. It even intervened in Russian elections!
One of the more interesting side stories in the collapse of Wow Air is that its pilots union sought an investigation of Icelandic journalists for their ‘unbalanced’ coverage of the airline’s hardship. The release sought to uncover details of journalist sources behind detrimental information about the airline, and to investigate whether journalists writing critically had received any benefits from Wow Air competitors.
Calling the coverage “unbalanced”, pilots for WOW Air want the Icelandic Journalists Union to investigate if reporters covering the airline’s financial hardships have been given favours or special rewards from WOW Air competitors.
…In a letter sent to the journalists union, the Icelandic Pilots Union (IFF) wants an investigation launched into favours granted to reporters, such as free tickets, from competitors of WOW Air in light of “unbalanced coverage” on the airline’s financial troubles.
Wow Air, Copyright: zhukovsky / 123RF Stock Photo
Ironically Wow Air itself provided free flights to journalists to influence coverage, and of course stories about the imminent demise of the low cost carrier turned out to be accurate rather than fake news.