by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Daniel Davidson writes at the Federalist website that a news media industry that idolized President Obama and demonized Donald Trump cannot take on the role of holding the new president accountable for his actions.
Since Donald Trump’s election, the mainstream media have been by turns hysterical and condescending. Whether it’s Trump’s rebuke of the cast of “Hamilton or his phone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, the press seems to think we’re already on the verge of a constitutional crisis at the hands of a dangerous yet idiotic president-elect.
Same goes for the media’s coverage of Trump supporters. Last week, a clip of CNN’s Alisyn Camerota speaking with Trump supporters made the rounds, in part because the supporters insisted that millions of illegal immigrants voted, and in part because Camerota reacted to them with the utmost disdain. …
… Right now, the media should be asking themselves: Why did Trump win white college graduates? Why did he outperform Mitt Romney among blacks and Hispanics? Why did lifelong Democrats in the Rust Belt vote for him?
If the mainstream press wanted to understand and explain Trump’s appeal, they could talk to any one of the millions of ordinary Americans with non-crazy views who voted for him. Instead, the media have gravitated toward fringe supporters and conspiracy theorists—the New Hampshire lawmakers who claimed that millions of people voted illegally, the handful of white supremacists who praised Trump at a recent conference in Washington DC, the malign influence of Alex Jones and readers of Infowars.
By insisting on an ideological narrative at the expense of honest reporting, and by reacting with hysterics every time Trump tweets something provocative, journalists are undermining their credibility. As fun as it is to laugh at hysterical journalists, we actually need them to be credible because they have an important job to do: hold the incoming Trump administration accountable for real abuses of power.
Arguably, the media long ago lost all credibility with its fawning coverage of the Obama White House. Faced with the task of covering a president who shared all their favorite progressive narratives, biases, and priorities, the press abdicated its responsibility to hold political leaders accountable.
From the collapse of Obamacare to the ginned-up narrative undergirding the Iran deal, the Washington media establishment balked every time it should have held the Obama administration’s feet to the fire.
Instead, it went after anyone who dared to question the administration’s policies.