The Washington Post, under the open and pretentious partisanship of its owner Jeff Bezos, recently unveiled a new slogan, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Liberal journalists like to flatter themselves with such adages even as they conceal their own devious practices from the light of scrutiny.
Their convulsions over Trump are due in large part to the light he is shining on their biases. They had grown accustomed to serving as unquestioned propaganda ministers for the American public, but now he is spoiling their fun. To quote MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, it is “our job,” not Trump’s, to “control exactly what people think.”
One of the media’s favorite methods of controlling what the public thinks is to disguise editorializing as front-page “news.” Upon closer inspection, these stories often turn out to be partisan speculation, sloppy opining, or ideological misdirection.
This week’s editorial line masquerading as objective news at the Post is that Trump is already alienating his voters. Never mind that last week’s line at the paper was that conservative enthusiasm for Trump at CPAC troublingly exceeded expectations.
In a foreshadowing of many such skewed stories to come from the mainstream media, the Post reported that “many” Iowans who voted for Trump “are already disappointed” in him. That sounds bad, right? Until you read the story and see that all the paper is rattling on about is a handful of ambivalent Trump voters who continue to feel ambivalently towards him, and then some Iowans who either didn’t vote at all or voted for Hillary who still dislike him.
The story starts with Tom Godat, an electrician who voted for Trump as the “lesser of two evils.” So his disappointment level didn’t have far to drop. Yet we’re told in an omniscient tone that he is “a little embarrassed” about his vote, even though the caption accompanying his photo reads, “Tom Godat has voted for Democrats in the past but now wants to give Trump a chance.” Apparently the caption writer and the reporter didn’t sufficiently collude on the piece.
The next quote about supposedly disappointed Iowan voters strangely comes from a young voter who sounds pleased with Trump:
“He’s doing what he said he was going to do, that’s the biggest thing,” said Tyler Schurbon, 23, who describes himself as a “progressive Republican” who falls asleep watching Fox News each night. “A lot of people get into the presidency, and they just completely forget what they talked about.”
The next Iowan quoted in the piece didn’t even vote for Trump:
“I hate to say it, but I voted for Hillary,” said Dave Drew, 71, a longtime Democrat who retired from Maytag in the early 1990s after working there for 27 years. “I voted against Trump. We didn’t have a choice. I mean, I don’t think she was the greatest choice. I don’t think he was, either. Joe Biden would have been my choice.”
Then we get to an unnamed truck driver who mowed “Trump” on his lawn. But he doesn’t sound disappointed either:
“He went against the grain — took it up as a hobby and asked the questions no one wanted to ask,” he said. “I have never heard of a president getting scolded or put down for upholding his promises.”
His presence in the article makes no more sense than the next person quoted in the piece, an Iowan who declined to vote for Clinton or Trump. This woman, who is married to a Muslim noncitizen, as the Post hastens to inform us, gets a picture too — in a story allegedly about disappointed Trump voters. No matter; she is accorded space to trash Trump’s travel ban tendentiously.
This is followed by a quote from an El Salvadoran in Iowa who has “hired a lawyer to help him become a citizen.” So now, late into a piece ostensibly on disappointed Trump voters, we have a non-citizen declaring his disappointment with Trump’s immigration policy to readers. How fair, how newsworthy!
The next quote at least comes from a Trump voter, Jim George, but you can’t tell if he is disappointed or not. It sounds like he is just reiterating the ambivalence that he felt at the time he voted for Trump:
“I voted for the Supreme Court. I didn’t want to vote for Trump,” said George, who is opposed to abortion. “With Trump, you just hold your nose.”
The piece closes with more useless quotes from some women attending a yoga class that don’t substantiate the headline either. One of the women didn’t vote and the other who did vote for Trump says, undercutting the point of the piece, “I am going to support what he does just because I think that we need to.”
So, in a piece with the title, “These Iowans voted for Trump. Many of them are already disappointed,” readers get, if we score generously, only one quotation of clear-cut, post-election disappointment justifying the headline and that comes from a “lesser-of-two evils” Trump voter.
And the Post wonders why Trump calls these stories “fake news”? If democracy dies in darkness, so does journalism, as “objective” reporters put half-baked propaganda on the front page.