by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump is the best thing to happen to the news business in a long while.
Ratings are up, and news subscriptions are booming. And as several journalists discovered early on, performative opposition to the Trump administration comes with lucrative speaking gigs, cable news contracts, glow-up profiles, and large followings on social media.
But now that a Democrat is set to occupy the White House, many of the same reporters who coasted to book deals and better jobs on the back of the anti-Trump “resistance” are not sure what comes next. All they know is that they’ve no intention of approaching President-elect Joe Biden’s presidency with the same histrionics and hostility that boosted their careers in the Trump era. …
… They don’t plan to apply to the Biden White House even an ounce of the vigor that they brought to their coverage of the Trump administration. CNN’s hotshot fact-checker is even preparing to branch out from covering just presidential remarks.
It’s an absurd choice for ostensibly serious newsmen, considering that the man who will soon be president was also vice president for all eight years of the Obama administration, back when scandals and body counts were aplenty. Biden served in the No. 2 spot in a White House that droned U.S. citizens, spied on the press, and created power vacuums across the Middle East, including the one that led to the rise of the Islamic State. You would think that the self-styled defenders of truth, justice, and the American way would be eager to take to Biden the same no-nonsense approach they took to Trump, meaning with aggressive, unrelenting skepticism, but you would be wrong.
The way certain journalists explain the discrepancy in tough news coverage, Trump is uniquely dishonest, so he deserves a uniquely engaged, if not outright hostile, press. But even that rationalization is nonsense.