Media bias is a safe haven for conservative writers. It’s something Republicans, conservatives, tea partiers, and Trumpublicans can all agree on: the media favors Democrats. This is true not just in the news, but in movies, television, music, books, book reviews, video games, video game reviews, sports reporting, and every other form of mass communication.
It’s useful to report it. To blog it, to social media it, to water cooler it. Only pointing it out can keep people aware of it. The bias is there. There are a thousand reasons for it, but let’s just establish it as a “known fact” for the moment.
With that fact in mind, it’s no surprise to most of us that President Obama had a pretty trouble free run with press. They didn’t like to question him. They did it reluctantly if at all. When they could be bothered to criticize or question, they dragged their feet to do it. They apologized for it. Literally. And they turned on reporters who asked real reporter questions.
So it is that Jon Karl, Jake Tapper, and Ed Henry were frequently targets of the firing squad while Obama was in office.
Unlike a lot of Trump republicans who just discovered politics last year because THE WALL, I’ve actually been around for a while. Watching, writing about, and staying current with politics and media bias and elections and even going out and voting in non-Trump elections (gasp). All new things to some. But for those who have been here, we remember when Jake Tapper was routinely bashed as a right-wing goon, even by some fellow White House reporters.
Why? Because he, and very, very few others, actually asked real questions. Right-wing blogs used to post in amazement about how Jake Tapper was the lone voice in the briefing room who dared to press the Obama administration on issues. My memory extends that far back, all the way into the dim recesses of “a few years ago.”
Now today, in Trumpmerica, the press aren’t just biased they’re “treasonous” and the “enemy.” There is absolutely no limit to how far the denizens of #MAGA social media will go in their condemnation of the press. Like our own intelligence community, they become enemies of the state the moment they cross His Royal Hair. So that guy who was “wow this one reporter is actually asking the tough questions” has become “literally Satan” according to the unhinged “right” wing.
This morning, The Hollywood Reporter covered an interview of CNN’s Jake Tapper by leftwing blogger and MTV News correspondent Ana Marie Cox. There is nothing wrong with the fact that she interviewed him, or that he consented to that interview. People blog. With opinions and bias. It’s allowed. It’s like, our business model here at RedState.
And here at RedState, our most excellent and sharp-eyed Mickey White noticed something in that interview.
Cox, who interviewed Tapper throughout the one-hour panel, asked him whether he had changed the way he worked in light of the new administration. “I don’t think I changed anything,” he said. “I was doing the fact checks and the commentaries about the importance of empirical fact and truth during the campaign.” That comment prompted Cox to quip: “You were into facts before facts were cool.”
In response, Tapper noted that he was also hard on President Barack Obama’s administration. “To be completely candid, I did fact checks about Barack Obama, too, not at the same rate, nor was there a need for them at the same rate,” he said. “I know people that hated me back then but now like the fact checks I’m doing about Donald Trump. I feel like I’ve stayed consistent.”
There are two ways to interpret this. One, as Mickey notes, is that he simply takes it for granted that Obama didn’t require as much “scrutiny” as Trump. That’s by far the more prevalent point of view in our media. They just didn’t think he required the scrutiny, and they were pretty much on board with him and hoping his agenda became legislative, fiscal, and regulatory reality.
The OTHER way, which I say is the correct way, is that Obama didn’t tell so many fabulous and absurd lies for no reason like Trump does. That, friends, makes Tapper’s statement 100% correct.
I know, oh my God, right? Obama is the most evil human being ever, you have to be unhinged to say he’s not a liar!!!!
Except I didn’t say that, and neither did Jake Tapper. The cynics and Trumpublicans love little sayings, and one of their little sayings is “all politicians lie.” Both Trump and Obama lie and lied. We know some of Obama’s bigger ones, like the huge, consequential, and dangerous lies they told to sell the disastrous Iran nukes deal. But Trump said that thousands of people were on rooftops in New Jersey celebrating as the Twin Towers burned.
We also know that Obama used the power of government to investigate his foes (INCLUDING the press), that his Justice Department was legally, morally, and ethically compromised … we could go on. Trump thinks Ted Cruz’s dad killed JFK.
Trump is a serial liar. It’s a passion, a hobby, a pastime. He lies like you breathe. Obama told big lies that required investigations. Trump tells obvious lies you can fact check with a browser, and big lies that require reporters to uncover them. He can’t help himself.
Trump requires more fact-checking because Trump doesn’t check his facts. He spouted off on a Saturday morning on Twitter that Barack Obama bugged his residence. You can spin forever about whether his associates were or were not under, subject to, or inadvertently a part of some type of surveillance. But Trump said they tapped the phones in his building, and he said it without knowing if it was true or even thinking of how stupid it sounds.
Trump requires more fact-checking.
He just does. He says crazy, unfounded, untrue stuff. Obama needed scrutiny, investigation, questioning, and critical coverage. And Trump needs to be fact-checked. I’m sorry if it messes with GOP narrative, but truth doesn’t care about your point of view. He’s a liar. Sorry.
That doesn’t make him worse or better than Obama, it doesn’t mean Obama wasn’t nefarious and dishonest, and it doesn’t mean the media in general weren’t in the tank for him. It means only and exactly what it says: Trump requires more fact-checking. He says more things that aren’t true. Facts are what the press should be interested in.
And it’s what Jake Tapper did when President Obama was in office, despite media bias, despite liberal viewpoints, despite being bashed as some kind of right-wing troll. He’s supposed to be adversarial. And that’s consistent. (He even went on the record in defense of Fox News when Obama targeted them, unlike pretty much every other press outlet who thought it was a merry old time.)
The press is guilty of many things. They were not just soft on Obama, they were doting and devoted to him. And they gave Donald Trump a free ride through the Republican primaries because they thought it was funny that he was trashing Republicans and they thought there was no way he could beat Hillary.
Saying that doesn’t mean you can’t also say that Jake Tapper and Jon Karl and a few others did in fact dare to question Obama, and it doesn’t preclude you from saying that Tapper continues to do the job of a reporter today.
By the way, I called out Obama on his lies for eight years, and media on theirs for over a decade, here at RedState and elsewhere. I’m consistent, too.