Sometimes I wonder if Ben Sasse tires of being the smartest guy in the room. The Republican Senator from Nebraska always seems to have the right things to say and delivers it in just the right way.
This time, Sasse has weighed in on President Donald Trump’s ongoing war with the media. He appeared on Jake Tapper’s State of the Union to discuss Trump’s attacks on various elements in the media. He shared his thought that the president’s words and actions damage America’s view of a free press:
“I mean there’s an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage, and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain about that, and trying to weaponize distrust,” Sasse told [Tapper].
He went on to remind viewers that our First Amendment freedoms are interdependent:
“The First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment. And you don’t get to separate the freedoms that are in there,” he told Tapper.
“And you don’t have religion without assembly. You don’t have speech without press. We all need to celebrate all five of those freedoms, because that’s how the ‘e pluribus unum’ stuff works,” Sasse continued.
Brilliant, once again! It’s easy (and presumably fun) for Trump to go after “fake news” and pick at the low hanging fruit of the media, but when he lobs attacks on those who are doing their job well or makes wholesale digs at the press in general, he’s only making himself look bad.
As my colleague Susan Wright said over at Red State:
The majority of mainstream media is depressingly left-leaning. And yes, it’s understandable that some in the viewing public may have reached their limit with being talked down to by some of the liberal elites that make up America’s press rooms. The public has options, however. They can change the channel. They can even rant among themselves, and that’s perfectly acceptable.
For a Republican president, just to take the job is to put themselves in the line of fire. The difference, however, is that they know it ahead of time, and their emotional state is on firm enough ground that they can stand above the fray. They don’t get down in the muck with the leftist media. They just burrow into their work and be about the business of governing.
But Donald Trump is different. He gives them fodder for their abject hatred of him, and it doesn’t seem to occur to him that every second of coverage of one of his ridiculous anti-media tweets is a second of coverage that doesn’t look at what his administration is actually accomplishing. This isn’t the kind of Donald-Trump-is-different that made him attractive as a candidate.
I wish I could get what people are saying when they say that Trump doesn’t take any crap, and that’s why he won the election. There’s a difference between not taking crap – and I’ll admit that I love when he gives back what the left dishes out – and being a jerk.
Maybe one day Trump will learn the difference between the tweets that make him look bad and the tweets that highlight the good things he and his administration are getting done. When he does, a lot of conservatives will breath much more easily.