An unelected branch now thinks it’s king.
The media have decided that reporting the news is no longer sufficient for them. They’ve decided they want to participate rather than just observe and report the passing scene. For example, they have taken upon themselves the negating of the results of the 2016 presidential election. They’ve arrogantly concluded they’re entitled to greater responsibilities and influence.
In the past most conservatives considered the mainstream media to be part of the support system for the Democratic Party, its public relations department or marketing division. Recently the direction of control in that relationship has reversed. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that it’s the media, not the Democratic Party, who are driving the bus.
Does it make any difference if it’s the media or the Party that’s in control? Even though the philosophies and objectives of the two are indistinguishable, one important difference is that the Democratic Party’s leaders are elected by voters and are at least somewhat subject to constitutional limits. The political parties are supposed to be governing. That’s their historic role. Although imperfect, public officials are constrained by a system of checks and balances. The media are not.
The media have chosen to abandon reporting in favor of making and maneuvering the news. Given the vital role of the press, this is not a healthy situation. A big problem for the rest of us is it’s not possible to both report the news and make the news. A choice has to be made. There is an opportunity cost for the media’s self-appointed expansion of its roles and responsibilities. A void now exists where the media used to be.
The press is the only private institution referred in our Constitution. Our country’s founders wisely knew how important a free press is to the success of the country. A characteristic of dysfunctional nations is the absence of independent, objective media.
The media are attempting to govern the country, but no one has elected them and they have not been open and honest about how have has redefined their role. Who put them in charge of destroying a duly elected president? Do most Americans want the media to be governing our country? What are the media’s qualifications for governing? Journalism school? Gender studies?
Is deliberately influencing political choices and policies a proper role of the press? If that’s what they want to do, they should run for office.
Ideally and traditionally the role of the press is to bring transparency to the government, to shine the light of day on politics and politicians. Ironically, the press is not even being transparent about its own objectives and motivations. There’s a fundamental dishonesty about what the media are up to. Why can’t they be open and honest about their motives? Probably because they know what they’re doing is wrong and cannot be admitted.
In regard to Donald Trump the media have blood in their eyes. They will never forgive him for defeating their pre-inaugurated candidate, Hillary Clinton, for president. He is well underway to erasing much of Barack Obama’s legacy. In their eyes that amounts to sacrilege.
The media are determined to get their revenge. Judging from their behavior the election of Donald Trump is the worst thing that’s ever happened in their lives. (What does that say about their lives?)
There is a raw visceral hatred of the man. They hate his personality and they hate his policies. He is everything they’re not: he’s positive, they’re negative; he’s proud, they’re guilt-ridden and self-loathing; he thinks big, they think small; he’s a regulation-hater, they’re regulation lovers, he’s blunt, they’re mealy-mouthed. Trump has sent an unambiguous message to the establishment — the jig is up. The media are a major part of the establishment and are not going away quietly.
It might be an asset or a liability, but Trump seems to bring out the worst in his political enemies. The ways he causes his opponents to behave makes them look positively deranged.
The hatred of Trump bleeds over into a hatred of those who voted for him. The Trump despisers cannot even begin to relate to anyone who would vote for someone they find so utterly despicable. They are fomenting hatred and doing their best to spread it as far and wide as possible. A problem for them is that Trump supporters comprise a large portion of their potential customer base. They hate Trump so much they’re willing to ignore that fact.
It’s possible they will succeed in severely damaging and limiting the Trump presidency. The media have numerous weapons at their disposal. They can select which stories to report (and sensationalize) and which stories to ignore or bury (which was their standard practice during the Obama presidency). The media’s one-sided and distorted treatment of Trump during the election campaign almost resulted in him losing to one of the least likable and most flawed candidates in U.S. political history.
However, the media’s power is not unlimited. They did everything they knew how to get Hillary Clinton elected. It wasn’t enough. She isn’t who resides in the White House. (Thank God!)
If the media succeeds in its crusade to destroy the Trump presidency it will be a very bad thing for the country. It will even be bad for the media. Their hysteria and fact twisting (fake news) is doing serious damage to their credibility. Without credibility the media don’t amount to much.
The media, the left, the Democrats, no one, can predict the future. In fact, the media’s recent track record for predicting could not be much worse. It’s entirely possible that Trump could be a successful president. The media have set the bar so low for him anything short of catastrophe will be seen as success. It might only take, for example, something like substantial tax reform and a few quarters of three or four percent GDP growth. That would be a fate worse than death for Democrats and the left. At some level they know that his success poses an existential threat to them.
The media and their kindred spirits have embarked on a high-risk strategy. They’re dead certain that Trump is a disaster waiting to happen and that it will in fact happen. If they’re wrong about that, they’re toast. They have no fallback strategy, no “Plan B.” They have absolutely no positive message. Their sole strategy is “resist!” Spiro Agnew would describe them as “nattering nabobs of negativism.”
Besides being unpredictable, reality is ironic. The media’s attempt to weaken Trump could end up making him stronger. As the old adage warns, “If you’re going to kill the king, make sure you kill the king.” Although the media do not advocate killing Trump, they do advocate killing his presidency.
The uncertainty of the future is the main reason not to get overly worried about it.
Michael Vadon/Creative Commons