Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has coined a new phrase: “the Acela media.”
His reference was to the high-speed Amtrak train that travels between Washington, D.C., and Boston. Mr. DeSantis was indirectly criticizing the major media that have headquarters along that corridor, media that largely decides what Americans will know — or not know — about the COVID-19 virus and other subjects.
Watching the daily White House press briefings about the virus appears to have put reporters’ biases on naked display. Someone should come up with videos comparing how the press practically worshipped President Obama and his spokespeople with softball questions to the confrontational, ideologically slanted and “gotcha” questions thrown at President Trump.
The conservative website Newsbusters.org has compiled a “top 16” list of outrageous statements and claims recently made by TV network hosts and “journalists” that read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee.
From MSNBC host and former John McCain 2008 campaign aide Nicolle Wallace: “This moment is like every other in Donald Trump’s presidency, where it’s about his fragile, teeny-tiny ego, and the vast nation that he leads, and he’s making all his decisions based on press coverage. … The difference here … is that people are dying, more than 30,000 people have died. The virus is still spreading across the country and Donald Trump today, like a punk, seemed to tweet about protesters.”
Ms. Wallace ignores the administration’s mitigation efforts many believe have sharply reduced the number of projected deaths from 2.2 million to fewer than 50,000 to date. As Mr. Trump said at Monday’s briefing, if he discovered a pill that cured the virus the media and Democrats would still criticize him.
How’s this from New York Times columnist David Brooks on the “PBS News Hour”: “If you said anything nasty about Donald Trump, you don’t qualify for the [re-opening] committee. And that basically guarantees a very low level of competence from that committee. The North Korean-style, you know, loyalty tests are going to be crushing to the competence of any effort going forward.”
Thomas Friedman in The New York Times echoed his colleagues, who seem to daily ratchet up new labels to apply to the president. Mr. Friedman recently called the president “unhinged” and “reckless.”
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, got Newsbuster’s No. 1 award for saying the following: “The Republican Party claims to be the party of life, if you’re talking about the unborn. But if you’re the born, my God, watch out. If you’re especially in the Greatest Generation, if you’re a World War II veteran in your 90s, if you’re a Vietnam veteran in your 60s. If you’re a Korean War veteran in your 70s or 80s, well, the Hell with you. … They’re saying, ‘Well, yeah, they’re gonna die. Yeah, we know older people are gonna die. The Greatest Generation, a lot of people are going to die there. A lot of people are going to die that are Korean War vets and Vietnam vets. But you know what? We have gotta get Wall Street purring again.”
And then there is the media’s most potent power — the power to ignore certain stories.
For those who are passive in the way they receive information — that is accepting what the major media “report” and say — these and worse comments are accepted as truth. It is why socialism and the Democratic Party, which offer free stuff in exchange for votes, are so appealing to especially the young.
The media’s liberal slant is likely a major factor contributing to the decline of newspaper circulation and broadcast news ratings. It is all so predictable that people don’t need to waste their time (or money) reading and watching.
They’re all aboard the Acela media.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).