This is taking projection to a whole new level.
It is an amusing thing to watch, seeing the press at one time claiming they are happy to be rid of President Trump, all while they are incapable of leaving the man be. They still invoke his name, still complain about him while out of power, and even still cover his activities. The Hill was stalking him on his golf course his first day out of office. And they are still running claims that Trump was ‘’attacking‘’ the media.
This claim surfaced once again when MSNBC regular and part-time historian, Michael Beschloss weighed in on the matter. Mike has been a tad unfocused in the days of Trump’s last month. Just before his departure, for instance, Beschloss suggested Trump would resort to Martial Law and use of nuclear weapons to remain in office. Now he is continuing to weave fables of hysterics.
If you like the fact that we Americans still live in a democracy, thank every courageous and truth-seeking journalist who was attacked for four years by a President of the United States, who called them “enemies of the people."
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 26, 2021
Yes – he said things. Those journalists who likened themselves to firefighters or the soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy were sure rendered by spoken words. It was the common theme throughout his administration, that Donald Trump was ‘’attacking’’ the free press. While true that he had stern words and harsh criticisms for the media – frequently in non-Presidential fashion – what were his actions, exactly?
The question is a curious one for a significant reason. Note one example in Jim Acosta, who constantly claimed to be threatened and silenced…in his regular daily reports, panel appearances, media interviews, Twitter feed, talk show visits, and published book. Funny how the journalists threatened with censorship never manage to shut up about it. But while the press loves to go on about how oppressed they were under President Trump we are seeing disturbing examples of calls to limit expression and clamp down on specific outlets — from the press.
When the accused tyrant Donald Trump had multiple accounts shut down (in ironically tyrannical fashion) you had Alexander Nazaryan proposing extending a blacklist to include a number of journalists with whom he disagrees.
At ABC News Rick Klein ominously proposed that it was not enough that Trump was not reelected. ”Getting rid of Trump is the easy part. Cleansing the movement he commands is going to be something else.’’
MSNBC’s resident ”conservative’’ Nicolle Wallace proposes that all Republicans be submitted to truth panels before they are approved to be able to express themselves. We assume her brown blouse was not back from the cleaners for this segment.
And over at CNN Oliver Darcy is diligently lobbying cable providers and satellite networks such as Comcast and Direct TV to take down his competitive news networks. He is actively calling to have FoxNews, Newsmax, and OANN removed from channel packages.
All of this greatly exceeds any action we saw from President Trump regarding the press. You can point to select times he hinted at misguided actions in reaction to events. On Twitter, he once theorized about stripping the license from NBC News. He once threatened to ‘’strongly regulate social media’’ during one of his spats with Twitter. While completely out of line and, frankly, unrealistic these were still only words spoken.
More threatening to the integrity of the media were the Presidential actions we can point to. We saw the Justice Department subpoenaing records from the Associated Press, for instance. The courts were used to target a journalist who reported on the administration, another was taken to court to expose a confidential source, and there was a record number of prosecutions against the media seen. Add to that that over three-quarters of all Freedom of Information Act requests were roundly ignored by the administration.
Those are all deeply serious threats to journalism’s integrity and the Constitutionally-stated freedoms granted to the press. But of course, since all of those examples were during the Obama administration there was no howling from the general media about all of the dangers they experienced.
This is shaping up to be a real challenging year ahead of us. The media, already a collection of distempered souls, have appeared to be growing ever more off-kilter and challenged by factual frameworks; even the fact-checkers this month have become dismayed with how to behave. When the very people accusing President Trump of dangerous attacks are engaging in activities which are far more threatening we are falling into a rabbit hole where fewer things make sense anymore.