Cheap Seats 2018
Perspective - 08/08
By Rich Trzupek
Let’s start here: I’m not saying that everyone on the left who disagrees with President Trump in general and with his aggressive approach toward the mainstream media specifically is accusing the president of being a modern-day Nazi. However, there are enough people out there who openly profess or imply that opinion that yours truly feels compelled to set them straight.
Trump and many in his administration don’t believe that the MSM comes anywhere close to providing consistent, unbiased, factual coverage of events. So do I. So do millions of Americans.
Trump and many in his administration feel that many journalists in the MSM distort their coverage of events based on their personal political preferences and their personal opinions regarding causes and outcomes related to those events. So do I. So do millions of Americans.
Trump and many in his administration choose to highlight those instances where MSM journalists screw things up in the dual hope of: 1) providing an alternative point-of-view that the public may consider, and 2) giving MSM journalists pause when they think of themselves as the sole arbiters of the truth in 21st century America – as many of them (see Jim Acosta) seem to believe themselves to be. I approve of this strategy. So do millions of Americans.
In pushing back against a journalistic establishment that retreats into victimhood whenever its bullying is exposed, Trump has gone for the jugular. The MSM’s attitude toward GOP administrations in recent decades has been: “Don’t you dare criticize us – we’re journalists beyond reproach – the very foundation of a free, democratic society!”
For the most part, previous Republican presidents have played that game for decades, treating the MSM as if journalists didn’t have skin in the game, when everybody short of moron knew they did. Trump, being Trump, put an end to that silly play-acting. Trump, being Trump, did so in the most dramatic, self-aggrandizing and effective way he could dream up: Calling out the worst of the hypocrites in the MSM using the crass, snarky messaging that is his strongest weapon and biggest vulnerability.
Calling out hypocrisy, prejudice and inaccuracy among the privileged-class that many of the MSM believe themselves to be does not come without consequences. MSM journalists are trained to deliver stories that have “punch” – stories that will grab their readers’ attention and improve ratings.
The line that separates “punch” from “outrageous hyperbole” is fuzzy enough in the best of circumstances. When that line involves an administration and president you despise who DARES to deny your journalistic infallibility when one KNOWS THAT ONE is reporting “impartially” it’s not really a line at all. It’s a pretend barrier that disappears more quickly than President Obama’s quick-dissolving line Barry purported to draw before Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad. It’s a line that MSM journalists joyously leap across, cloaked in the glorious robes of righteousness.
Which brings us back to the whole Nazi thing. MSM journalists absolutely hate that Trump’s message – questioning both their virtue and infallibility – can gain any traction in modern-day America. Surely, those who respond to such messaging are illiterate hillbillies. Surely, Trump is a fascist.
As to the first argument, it’s a huge mistake to dismiss Trump supporters as hicks, or white supremacists, or elitists, or whatever version of enemy one might choose to embrace. Trump is about changing business as usual, and if you truly want to defeat the man and his ideas, you have to convince an electorate that is a whole lot smarter than you think that business as usual doesn’t need to be changed.
As to the second, anyone who thinks that Trump is a fascist for criticizing the press reveals his or her utter stupidity and ignorance. Hitler did not criticize the opposition press when he assumed power – he eliminated it. No opposing viewpoints would be tolerated. Outlets who dared to do so were shut down, firmly and permanently. President Donald Trump hasn’t used his power to shut down or suppress any of the media outlets who openly despise him.
So, I’m not at all worried about the future of the Republic or the vitality of the First Amendment when President Trump or members of his administration call out the New York Times or CNN for questionable reporting. That, it seems to me, should be part of a president’s prerogative. Should he ever attempt to use his official powers to force those organizations to shut down or alter their operations, let me know I’ll have your and their back. Until then, I’m pretty happy with the way things are.