Normally so censorious of shutdowns, the media seemed eager for one on Thursday. Pundits offered up preemptive excuses for Senate Democrats who seek to torpedo a deal. The more that Democratic senators behave like hack liberal activists, the more the media cheers them on. The media is in a disruptive mood and sees a shutdown as a win for Trump’s enemies. Even as the House passed a bill to fund the government on Thursday evening, MSNBC contributor Howard Fineman was babbling about the GOP as the party of shutdowns.
The same media that lectures Trump on the importance of propriety and respect for custom shills for shutdown artists, secessionists, sanctuary city mayors, nullifiers, civil-disobedience advocates, criminal leakers, agitprop anarchists, and assorted public figures who fantasize about harming the president.
We refuse to “normalize” the unconventional behavior of Trump, say journalists, even as they constantly indulge the unruly behavior of the left. Look at the media’s endlessly uncritical coverage of mayors and governors who defy immigration law. Or look at its fawning coverage of pols who proudly say that they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of this president. The media is perfectly happy to normalize frivolous boycotts, trivial calls for impeachment and censure, and sabotage by civil servants.
During the Obama years, the media treated resisters as states-rights freaks. Editorials poured forth comparing them to Deep South segregationists. Now the media lionizes state officials who promise to ignore the Justice Department and other federal agencies. CNN’s coverage of California as a “sanctuary state” has been nothing if not supportive and carefree. Oakland’s mayor has said that she will go to jail before cooperating with the federal government. Good luck finding any negative mainstream media press coverage of her. MSNBC will probably turn her into a contributor.
Gone are the windy chastisements directed at state officials like Kim Davis. Now the ticket to media approval is open defiance. The same journalists who pretend to worry about the corrupting power of Trump’s language lose all delicacy on the topic of drugs. They consider opposition to federal drug laws a very wholesome cause and champion state officials who subvert Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
When they hold federal government power, liberals speak gravely of the importance of adhering to laws. The moment they are out of power they start breaking them, and the media normalizes their lawlessness. Rebellion becomes chic again.
For a year the media has rattled on about “threats to the republic” while stoking them on the left. At the very moment they primly monitor Trump’s tweets, they give liberals permission to engage in all manner of incivility. CNN’s idea of a responsible, sober, civil commentator is Ana Navarro, who says the president is “unfit to be human.” And that is what is said on the air; imagine what is said in the green rooms.
Far from guardians of decency and stable standards, journalists serve as apologists for the ratty ends-justify-the-means radicalism of the 1960s. In their slavish, nostalgic tributes to Daniel Ellsberg, journalists reveal their own anarchic attitudes. Meanwhile, they cast the most conventional exercises of power by a duly elected president as an “outrage.” The unstated premise of this infantile coverage is that the chief executive has no right to run the executive branch. A media that pretends to fret over the decline of institutional respect (for the FBI, CIA, and the Justice Department, etc.) seeks to strip any from the presidency. Trump can’t even express an opinion without the media calling him an “autocrat.”
Trump’s jocular “fake news awards” on Twitter occasioned a speech by Senator Flake comparing Trump to Joseph Stalin. The media covered the ludicrous speech breathlessly, thereby normalizing a new low in senatorial smears.
The press, of course, lived up to the president’s criticism by sending off its stars to chat about the awards with smug liberal late-night talk show hosts — a vivid confirmation of the collapse of all “reporting” into liberal opinion and attitudinizing. All the old journalistic conventions, as phony as they were, have disappeared and the Jake Tappers and Anderson Coopers don’t even pretend to observe them anymore. The press has become exactly what the Trump White House calls it, an opposition party. Instead of stopping the normalization of low standards, the press has embraced them, decaying as rapidly as the leftist rabble it seeks to help.