The mainstream media is in a hurry to delegitimize President Donald Trump, but in doing so may delegitimize itself.
Below are both egregious and minor examples of the press’s bias within the past few weeks. It’s not one example alone, but the confluence of all of them that’s so outlandish. Combined together, there’s little doubt about why Mr. Trump’s team may want to take a more combative tone with the working press:
1. Comparing the language used in the Associated Press’s tweets on President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration with Mr. Trump’s
Obama 2013 inauguration tweet: “A day pulsing with history draws the masses to President Barack Obama’s second inauguration”
Trump 2017 inauguration tweet: “Hundreds of thousands expected to clog the nation’s capital for Donald Trump’s inauguration”
2. Minutes after Mr. Trump’s sworn in, multiple news outlets ran Trump impeachment stories
Washington Post headline at 12:19 p.m. on Inauguration Day: “”The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun”
Huffington Post: “Here are the current betting odds on Trump being impeached”
Time: “There’s already a campaign to impeach Donald Trump”
New York Daily News: “Here’s how President Trump may have already set himself up for impeachment”
3. Comparing Mr. Trump’s inauguration speech to Hitler/Nazism
On ABC News on Friday, analyst Terry Moran said: “People want to hear that message of America First. However, it carries with it overtones from the 1930s, when an anti-Semitic movement saying we don’t want to get involved in Europe’s war, it’s the Jews’ fault in Germany. The words themselves carry very ugly echoes in our history.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called Mr. Trump’s speech “Hitlerian” and The Washington Post immediately revised an article titled: “President Trump’s ‘America First’ slogan was popularized by Nazi sympathizers.”
This is all insane. For starters, Mr. Trump’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are Orthodox Jews. The son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been named to a top White House post.
Not to mention, in Mr. Trump’s speech he said: “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’”
These lines would never be in a Nazi speech.
Also, Mr. Trump restored Winston Churchill’s bust to the Oval Office. Mr. Churchill helped to eradicate the Nazis.
Lastly, Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign slogan was “Country First” and the press had no qualms about that. Moreover, Hillary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan was one used by Italian fascist Mussolini — but never mind that.
4. Analyzing Mr. Trump’s speech as ‘dark’
The Atlantic wrote that Mr. Trump’s speech was “unusually dark;” USA Today thought it was “Short, dark, and defiant,” and The New York Times declared it was a “dark hard-line” speech.
But let’s recall some lines from Mr. Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech:
“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” Mr. Obama plainly stated. “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
“These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics,” Mr. Obama said. “Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.”
So no, he didn’t use the word “carnage” but he did say the U.S. was in “crisis,” the economy was “badly weakened,” and there’s a “sapping of confidence” across the land, and a “nagging fear.”
This is hardly upbeat. Yet, in 2009 it was met with universal praise by the media.
“In his Inaugural Address, President Obama gave them the clarity and the respect for which all Americans have hungered,” The New York Times editorial board proclaimed.
“It filled us with hope that with Mr. Obama’s help, this battered nation will be able to draw together and mend itself,” The Times wrote.
So dark times are brighter with a progressive in charge. Got it.
5. Nitpicking Mr. Trump’s health, eating habits
In 2008, The Washington Post did a feature on Mr. Obama’s health, titled “As Duties Weigh Obama Down, His Faith in Fitness Only Increases.” The story included this crazy praiseworthy, googly-eyed line describing Mr. Obama’s physique: “The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.”
What does Mr. Trump get? This stupid article by Vice — “We Made Our Health Editor Eat Like Trump for a Week and She Felt Terrible.”
A quote from Vice’s health editor: “I wake up from a dream…to face the reality of another meaty day in Trump hell.”
6. Reporters tweeting garbage
Supposedly unbiased reporters have taken to Twitter to report 140 word stories about Mr. Trump and his team, none of which are large enough to give the proper attribution or context. Most are grossly unfair, like New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman tweeting: “Trump sent [Sean] Spicer out to give statement yesterday, a longtime Trump adviser says, but afterwards Trump said ‘he was terrible,’” referring to Mr. Spicer’s first press conference.
First, we have no idea who this source is — is it a person who could’ve wanted Mr. Spicer’s job? It’s completely unfair.
Katy Tur, a reporter with NBC, has made it a habit this campaign season of retweeting cynical tweets of Mr. Trump or his team. Her latest (I guess) was to mock Mr. Trump’s decision to take the first question at his press conference from the New York Post, not more storied organizations like The New York Times.
She retweeted “Hell hath no fury like a front row scorned,” and “second question goes to Christian Broadcasting Network.”
Olivia Nuzzi, at the Daily Beast is also a perpetual, combative and sardonic tweeter.
“Absolutely surreal to see Omarosa, the quintessential reality TV villain, sitting in the White House briefing room,” she recently wrote.
7. Slow to retract, correct erroneous stories
The Washington Post, in an effort undoubtedly aimed at trying to undermine Mr. Trump’s legitimacy by fanning the flames of a Russian cybersecurity threat, ran with a story that falsely claimed Russia hacked into the electrical grid of a Vermont utility. The false story — published without getting a comment from the utility — set off a panic among journalists and soon went viral. It took The Post two days to completely debunk its own story with another article, but by then, the damage had been done.
Matter of fact, New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan used the story to question Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. Jack Kelly in his confirmation hearing, seemingly unaware the incident she was citing never happened.
Politico had a similar problem with its report that Mr. Trump’s Treasury pick Steve Mnuchin foreclosed on a 90-year-old widow’s home over a 27 cent debt. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, New York Magazine and the Huffington Post all ran with the story — except it wasn’t true.
According to Ted Frank, a litigator who runs the Center for Class Action Fairness — and who has a very active Twitter account — the entire thing is false. Mr. Mnuchin’s company had nothing to do with the litigation and her home was never foreclosed on.
Mr. Mnuchin was later questioned on the story at his confirmation hearing. Politico has yet to retract or issue any type of correction.
I won’t even go into Time Magazine reporting Mr. Trump had removed the MLK bust from the Oval Office. It was corrected, but not before it went viral.
8. Coverage of Melania Trump’s gift to Michelle Obama
One would think that Mrs. Trump’s gift to Mrs. Obama, on the steps of the White House on Inaguration day, would be covered respectfully. It looked like a big, blue Tiffany box, and it was a nice gesture.
Not according to the snarky mainstream media.
“Michelle Obama side-eyeing Melania Trump is Inauguration Day’s best meme,” Yahoo News reported.
“The Internet is commemorating Michelle Obama’s final morning as First Lady by turning her into a #NeverTrump meme,” Yahoo wrote. “While the meeting was perfectly diplomatic, screengrabs of Michelle’s expression became an instant meme. Is that a side-eye, or just a bad camera angle? You be the judge. Remember that time Melania ‘borrowed’ that speech from Michelle? Twitter does.”
So, if I’m to get this straight, Mrs. Obama is the hero for awkwardly accepting a gift and the gift-giver is to be condemned?
9. Crowd size
Yes, crowd size. The mainstream media only seems to give a darn about it when it advantages them. Throughout the campaign, when Mr. Trump was filling stadiums, they poo-pooed it as not a real indicator of his strength (CNN ran the headline: “In presidential elections, size doesn’t always matter” back in August).
But I guess size does when they can demonstratively show Mr. Obama’s inauguration got bigger crowds than Mr. Trump’s. It’s just one more way they’re trying to delegitimize him — you see, Mr. Trump really isn’t that popular after all, they argue!
MSNBC ran a story titled: “Why the paltry crowd for Trump’s inaugural matters,” basically saying exactly that.
For every person who went to one of his rallies in Middle America, you don’t need to question his popularity — you’ve seen it with your own eyes.
10. Relentless and stupid ‘fact-checking’
Yes, every president needs to be fact-checked, but we’ve reached a new level of insanity with Mr. Trump.
The Washington Post decided to fact-check his inauguration speech, taking issue with many innocuous statements such as: “You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
How is this not true? According to an earlier report by CNN: “If Donald Trump makes it from the corner office to the Oval Office, he will be pulling off an unprecedented feat: He will be the only head of the executive branch of government whose principal professional credential is having served as a chief executive officer.”
More than 60 million people voted for him. And yet, somehow, The Post doesn’t agree.
Yes, Mr. Trump is prone to hyperbole, but so are all elected officials. Wouldn’t it be rich if the press took it upon themselves to fact-check Mr. Obama on Benghazi, the IRS tea party scandal, the cash payments made to Iran, being able to keep your health plan, etc.?
But I guess in those days fact-checks weren’t needed. The press could just take everything Mr. Obama said at face value.
The radical hypocrisy is appalling — and the American people are beginning to see through it.