It continues to be amusing, and pathetic, to hear the legacy media squeal about President Trump’s horrible breaches of Americanism and patriotism. Why, Mr. Trump is undermining the very foundations of democracy! He’s un-American! The irony of one of the least patriotic, most anti-American, organs in existence suddenly claiming their role in our republic is virtually holy is breath-taking. Suddenly, these self-imagined elite citizens of the world are defenders of the Constitution? Why? Because Mr. Trump is daring to tell the truth about them. He’s not afraid to take on people who buy ink by the barrel, and that changes the entire game.
President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media ‘is the enemy of the American people.’
Even by the standards of a president who routinely castigates journalists — and who on Thursday devoted much of a 77-minute news conference to criticizing his press coverage — Mr. Trump’s tweet was a striking escalation in his attacks.
Thus far, the article is nearly neutral in its coverage, but notice Mr. Trump has forced the media to defend itself, a position it is very much not used to occupying. Alas, Mr. Trump is right, and neutrality is a fleeting thing:
The president has referred to the media as the ‘opposition party’ to his administration, and he has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda. But the language that Mr. Trump deployed on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.
‘Oh boy,’ Carl Bernstein, the journalist who helped to uncover the Watergate scandal, said on Friday, after a reporter read him Mr. Trump’s tweet.
‘Donald Trump is demonstrating an authoritarian attitude and inclination that shows no understanding of the role of the free press,’ he added.
On the contrary NYT and Mr. Bernstein, Mr. Trump knows the legitimate role of a free press all too well, and the First Amendment works both ways. Citizens, and even the President, may criticize the press all they like. History is clear, when Republicans are in office, the press loses all objectivity and treats them like enemies to be destroyed. Note the slobbering coverage of Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, as opposed to the brutal and unethical broadsides of the press against Mr. Trump and his family: “rape Melania,” Melania is a hooker, “ Barron Trump is autistic,” “Donald Trump has an insestuous relationship with his daughter,” and the list of infamy goes on and on. For the most recent list of malicious media lies told about Mr. Trump, go here.
Mr. Bernstein said the president’s language ‘may be more insidious and dangerous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press.’
‘But there is a similarity in trying to divide the country, and make the conduct of the press the issue, instead of the conduct of the president, he said.
Let’s review: has Mr. Trump slandered the press? No. He’s told the truth about their lies. Has he signed an executive order to diminish the First Amendment? No. Has he asked the Congress to write legislation to curb the First Amendment? No. Is he filing daily lawsuits against the press? No. Instead he is consistently, and accurately, criticizing the press for it’s anti-democratic advocacy. There is no lack of coverage of the conduct of the president, even if much of it is malicious lies, nor is Mr. Trump trying to stop that coverage, except to shame the press into honesty. With this in mind, it’s rather difficult to see the insidious danger about which Mr. Bernstein speaks.
Mr. Trump’s tactic of pitting the press against the public was mirrored in a survey distributed by the president’s team on Thursday, which urged Trump supporters ‘to do your part to fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.’
Survey questions included, ‘Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?’ and ‘On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)
The poor press! They’re not used to taking criticism; they’re only used to dishing it out. Imagine how hurt their special snowflake feelings must be! They’re the elite, smarter and more moral than the God and gun clingers out there in flyover country who refuse to see the press is acting in their own best interests, the interests they’re not evolved enough to recognize. Still, a few media outlets have reported recent survey results that show the public trusts the press less than Congress, which is quite a feat. Obviously, they’re living down to our expectations. Notice how the NYT preaches to the choir:
On Thursday, Mr. Trump expressed his distaste for journalists in more populist terms, saying, ‘much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests.’
‘The public doesn’t believe you people anymore,’ Mr. Trump added.
‘Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you.
Are the media enemies of the American people? Yes. They have, like never before, abandoned any pretense of objectivity and truth and are seeking, in league with Never Trumpers, the deep state, and virtually the entire Democrat party, to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump, a man elected in a fair and untainted election. One month into his administration, they are already talking impeachment, though some media outlets admit he has done nothing at all worthy of impeachment. This unholy troika refuses to accept the results of the election, and gives preferential press time to anyone crying “resistance,” or “Trump is illegitimate.”
Their quarrel with Trump is not that he has done anything illegal or unconstitutional–you’re not going to bring up the 9th Circuit? Good. I thought not–but that he is actually working to require the federal bureaucracy to obey the law and the Constitution. No more lunatic, evil prince and princess status, no more malicious, evil apparatchiks like Lois Lerner harming Americans, no more federal bureaucrats breaking the law, destroying documents and hard drives and blatantly, arrogantly lying about it before Congress.
When the press behaves responsibly, when it requires a minimum of two credible sources before publishing a story–and actually speaking with the target of the story for confirmation before publication would be nice–when it refrains from editorializing in news stories, when it approaches all politicians of all parties with reasonable skepticism, and when it sees itself as servants of the people, then it is participating in our democracy. Then it is a friend of democracy and of the American people.
But when the Press sees itself as above the people, when it sees them as witless sheep to be controlled and forced to think the “right” thoughts and believe the “right” things, when it goes to publication with rumors, or assertions any reasonable reporter should know are false, when everything it writes is an editorial, most disguised as news, when instead of employing reasonable skepticism about all politicians, it treats Republicans as enemies to be destroyed at any cost, the press is the enemy of democracy, and of necessity, of the people.
Mr. Trump is exactly right, and the American people, even Democrats, know it. They will not, of course, admit it. The press certainly won’t, and in that failure lies their economic downfall. No one need buy a newspaper or turn on the TV anymore to be well informed. The fact that Mr. Trump is going around the legacy media, that he has removed the media filter between him and the public, scares the hell out of them, and scared people make foolish, desperate decisions.
The American media landscape is changing. The legacy media is too arrogant to recognize or halt its own demise, a demise it has, and is, bringing on itself. One is tempted to think their comeuppance a good thing, but we shall see. Is telling the public the truth, is professional objectivity too much to ask? Apparently so.