If the last year or so since Donald Trump won the presidency is any indication, then the answer is: “Yes, everyone has lost their minds.”
Trump is unsuited for high office, let alone the presidency. But what’s really become apparent over the past few months is how woefully inept and irresponsible the mainstream media has become over the past year.
Last week, Trump announced that he would be handing out awards for lying and misinformation in journalism. The proper response to this announcement should’ve been a hearty laugh and the quick quip: “There’s no doubt that President Trump is an expert in lying and misinformation.”
Instead, the Washington Press Corps got on its high horse (and, for the record, this started early last year with The Washington Post’s “Democracy dies in darkness” campaign) and lost their minds.
“Conservatives” are not immune
Before I arrive with today’s news hook, I want to cast you back to last month’s Charles C. W. Cooke article on the Post’s “conservative blogger,” Jennifer Rubin.
Since Donald Trump burst onto the political scene, Rubin has become precisely what she dislikes in others: a monomaniac and a bore, whose visceral dislike of her opponents has prompted her to drop the keys to her conscience into a well. Since the summer of 2015, the many acolytes of “MAGA!” have agreed to subordinate their true views to whatever expediency is required to sustain Donald Trump’s ego. Out has gone their judgement, and in has come their fealty; where once there were thriving minds, now there are just frayed red hats. During the same period, Jennifer Rubin has done much the same thing. If Trump likes something, Rubin doesn’t. If he does something, she opposes it. If his agenda flits into alignment with hers—as anyone’s is wont to do from time to time—she either ignores it, or finds a way to downplay it. The result is farcical and sad; a comprehensive and self-inflicted airbrushing of the mind.
The most obvious example of Rubin’s Trump-induced insanity is Rubin’s complete reversal on the Paris Climate Accord. She was against it, until Trump was also against it, now she’s for it.
At best this is unprincipled; at worst, she’s lost her mind. For the record, former conservative David Frum decided to come to Rubin’s defense, but only ended up unwittingly proving Cooke’s point, and outing himself as yet another who’s lost his mind.
The Committee to Protect Journalists
In response to Trump’s awards announcement, the Committee to Protect Journalists responded with its own awards: the “Press Oppressors” awards. The CPJ handed out several to strongmen, and former Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, of countries where men and women practicing journalism really do put their lives on the line.
For the record, the last time a member of the White House Press Corps was assassinated by an U.S. president, including Trump, is: Never.
So, the CPJ gave Trump their “Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom” award, writing:
The United States, with its First Amendment protection for a free press, has long stood as a beacon for independent media around the world. While previous U.S. presidents have each criticized the press to some degree, they have also made public commitments to uphold its essential role in democracy, at home and abroad. Trump, by contrast, has consistently undermined domestic news outlets and declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders such as Xi, Erdoğan, and Sisi. Authorities in China, Syria, and Russia have adopted Trump’s “fake news” epithet, and Erdoğan has applauded at least one of his verbal attacks on journalists. Under Trump’s administration, the Department of Justice has failed to commit to guidelines intended to protect journalists’ sources, and the State Department has proposed to cut funding for international organizations that help buttress international norms in support of free expression. As Trump and other Western powers fail to pressure the world’s most repressive leaders into improving the climate for press freedom, the number of journalists in prison globally is at a record high.
The idea that any foe of press freedom around the world has been emboldened to do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise but for Trump’s “fake news” rhetoric is laughable.
Add to that the belief touted by too many journalists in America today that they’re somehow especially brave for standing up to President Trump. They aren’t brave. Nothing bad is going to happen to any of them for standing up to Trump. They won’t get demoted or lose their jobs. The IRS won’t audit them. The FCC won’t shut them down. They won’t be murdered by agents of the government.
If you’re really looking for serious attacks on press freedom in the United States you really need to look no further into the past than the last administration, you know, that scandal-free one run by President Obama that subpoenaed phone records from the Associated Press and named Fox News journalist James Rosen a “criminal co-conpsirator.”
Get a grip
The news media may be receiving accolades from Hollywood and the radical left for the way they’ve covered Donald Trump’s presidency, but, it’s cliché to say it: This is how you got Trump. There’s a vast middle of America who are seeking sober, responsible news coverage and they aren’t getting it.
The media has lost their minds. Here’s hoping they come to their senses.