No institution in the world is more heroic than the media, according to the media.
Reporters and news commentators are patting themselves on the back this week following news that President Trump is the projected loser in the 2020 election, aggressively toasting one another as if they stormed the barricades personally to depose an entrenched, well-armed dictator.
A bold boast for an industry that so routinely got it wrong during all four years of Trump’s presidency.
“The media never fully learned how to cover Trump. But they still might have saved democracy,” reads an actual headline published this weekend by the Washington Post.
Its author, Washington Post columnist and former New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, writes, “Without the reality-based press, whatever its flaws and shortcomings, we would be utterly lost.”
If by “lost,” she means Nicholas Sandmann would still be an anonymous Kentucky resident, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would not have included reporters publishing scurrilous and absurd allegations of sexual misconduct, and the public would have been spared nearly three years of Russian conspiracy theories, then, yes, we surely would have been “lost” without the “reality-based press.”
Embarrassingly, Sullivan is not the only person in the news business who is using Trump’s likely defeat as an opportunity to reflect on the alleged greatness and nobility of the press.
The Guardian, for example, has amended the boilerplate solicitation for donations affixed at the end of its stories so that it now reads (really, you must read the entire thing):
A fresh start for America … … as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win the US election. The American people have disavowed four years of a thuggish presidency. They have chosen decency over dysfunction, fact over fiction, truth over lies, and empathy over cruelty. They have rejected the last four years of ugliness, divisiveness, racism and sustained assaults on constitutional democracy. And even as Trump plots legal challenges and levies unfounded claims of fraud, it is clear America is moving on.
Now, the real work begins.
Removing Trump from the White House is one thing – fixing America is another. Many of the systemic issues that afflict the country will remain in place once he leaves Pennsylvania Avenue. Two eight-year Democratic presidencies over the last 30 years have not significantly impacted these issues. A stark racial wealth gap, school segregation, corrosive inequality, a climate crisis and a democratic deficit at the heart of America’s electoral college are but some of the issues that confront the new president.
With the Trump administration drawing to a close, we welcome the opportunity to refocus our journalism on the opportunities that lie ahead for America: the opportunity to fix a broken healthcare system, to restore the role of science in government, to repair global alliances, and to address the corrosive racial bias in our schools, criminal justice system and other institutions. We will report on the massive economic transition needed to stem climate change and we will continue to question the unchecked power of corporations and Big Tech.
For the record, the Guardian is a British newspaper. Thanks for the concern, fellas, but maybe tend to your own house first.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza simply shared a photo of himself wearing a hoodie that reads, “AMERICA NEEDS JOURNALISTS.”
“Journalism helped save this country,” proclaimed former CBS News correspondent Don Champion as he shared a picture of a napkin supposedly given to him in 2017 that has the words scribbled on it, “you are vital stay strong.”
If one did not know any better, one would think that the rounds of self-indulgent congratulations were written by men and women who quite literally stormed the beaches.
The New York Times even published a post-election profile of one of its own reporters, titled, “Trump Presidency Is Ending. So Is Maggie Haberman’s Wild Ride.” The article’s subhead adds, “For the last four years, the Times reporter has been the human incarnation of a nation riveted, like it or not, by Donald Trump.”
A general rule in journalism states that reporters should avoid becoming the story. However, in the Trump era, it has proven extremely lucrative to become the story. Sure, one can simply report the news in a professional, down-the-middle manner, but one can get so many more clicks, viewers, speaking gigs, and book deals by playing the role of a “resistance” officer.
At CNN, host Don Lemon, who has suffered nothing under the Trump presidency, declared on Saturday, “I can’t tell you how difficult it’s been as a journalist to cover this dark part of our history. Let’s hope the attacks on journalists, journalism and EVERYONE end. Time to move into the light.”
Lemon, you may recall, hosted a segment in January that mocked Trump supporters as illiterate rubes.
Also at CNN, ABC News reporter and president of the White House Correspondents Association Jon Karl announced this weekend that he had turned off his notifications for Trump’s tweets. CNN host Brian Stelter responded solemnly, saying “I’m going to follow your lead.” Stelter then took out his phone and changed his notification on live television.
It is not news reporting. It is all self-indulgent performance art.
Author: Becket Adams
Source: Washington Examiner: Media declare themselves the real heroes of the Trump era