We conservative bloggers need to be careful what we wish for. For years, we’ve accused the main stream media of bias, collaborating with politicians, being a revolving door with friendly administrations, and reporting every spoon-fed story straight from whatever organization they support. And now they’re worried because of Donald Trump.
Nobody has singlehandedly confounded the MSM more than Trump, who simultaneously knows how to motivate, manipulate, and berate the media into becoming his plaything. But when they have something important to report, or when they have decided to turn on Trump, he has robbed them of their God-given right to bite the hand that has fed them.
Then they get all sanctimonious about free speech, the First Amendment, journalistic integrity, the duty of the Fourth Estate to the public, etc. The reason they’re upset isn’t only because they care dearly about those things (after their readership, circulation, ratings, bonus checks, and jobs), but because they now see Trump leading over Hillary in the polls and that Trump may actually have a chance to win.
Listen, I sympathize. I’ve been telling everyone who would listen that Trump is a scorpion since July. I’ve explained how he’s built a cult. I’ve done everything but climb the Washington Monument and proclaim the sky is falling for people to see who they’re dealing with.
But now it’s like Bree Olson, Charlie Sheen’s ex-live-in, getting upset that Sheen exposed her to HIV. Olson was a porn star who was paid tens of thousands a week, and reportedly signed a non-disclosure with Sheen, who had more women through his bedroom than Wilhemina Models has during a casting call.
The point is: You lose the right to complain when you’ve laid yourself down for money, for others pleasurable hours watching you “act” like a lover, sold yourself into stardom, then called foul when the world thinks you’re a slut for having done so.
The press, especially the Washington Post, did a good job holding Trump’s feet to the fire on his veterans donations. They claim during the Tuesday press conference that they had him on the defensive. But not really. He called ABC reporter Tom Llamas a “sleaze.” So what? When I saw him in person he continually berated the press, who are penned up like cattle at his rallies (and unable to leave unlike other campaigns).
At his press conference, Trump said, “I have to tell you. The press is so dishonest and so unfair.” Trump whined, “I sent people checks of a lot of money, and we’re going to give you the names right now, which is what you want, and instead of being like thank you very much, Mr. Trump or Trump, did a good job. Everyone’s saying who got it, who got it, and you make me look vert bad I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job, so I will give you the names if that’s what you want. ”
This seems pretty consistent from what Trump has said all along. Of course Trump was caught dead center in a lie (as much as you can nail Jell-O to the wall) so he had to come clean, but his attacks on the press seemed no more “defensive” that they ever were.
But the press seems, suddenly, afraid.
Jeremy Diamond has covered Trump for CNN since the beginning, with (thankfully for him) the exception of a couple of vacations. He and his colleague Teddy Schleifer have seen Trump go after reporters since he had Jorge Ramos escorted out in late August. But Wednesday’s lede was “Donald Trump on Tuesday went on a sustained frontal assault against the media during a contentious news conference.”
Charles Blow at The New York Times wrote:
This isn’t the first time he has used base language to attack reporters with whom he disagreed or was annoyed. The New York Times has collected a comprehensive list of his Twitter insults (often waged against journalists), which simply boggles the mind. (I am among those he has accused of “dishonest reporting.”)
But even that isn’t what’s most troubling. What’s troubling is that under a Trump administration, the First Amendment itself — either in spirit or in law, or both — could be severely weakened. What we have to worry about is a chill wind blowing from the White House.
This is no small thing. Our constitutionally protected freedom of speech and freedom of the press are pillars that make this country great, and different.
Then Blow went back and quoted Trump’s promises to “open up those libel laws” from February. Yes, now is the time to take that seriously, as if in February he didn’t mean it? After much of the media gave away $2 billion in free air time and hundreds of thousands of words spilled over thousands of column inches?
But now they’re upset because Trump is ahead of Hillary in the polls. That’s the real reason. They were okay with him being a thin-skinned, vulgar, dictator-praising thug back when it was obvious he would lose the White House to Hillary Clinton. In fact, they rather enjoyed seeing him make a mockery of the other GOP candidates.
They were overjoyed when Ted Cruz lost Indiana and they could start calling Trump the “presumptive nominee” because then Hillary was trouncing him. But now they’ve got to live with the disease they festered when they got in bed with Trump.
I feel genuinely sorry for Chris Cillizza, who really meant it when he wrote “Accountability isn’t a partisan issue. Never has been. Never will be.” Because for him, it’s not. But for much of the MSM, it is as partisan as hell.
Like the rest of the GOP who has to live with Trump and own him, the media that now finds itself writing, like Blow, “Freedom of speech and the press are principles that we must protect from this wannabe authoritarian,” also has to own him. I realize that’s tough nuts, that they’re suddenly worried about it, but that’s the bed they slept in.