Yesterday I wrote about the news media, offering them a reminder as to why the public trusts them the same (or maybe less) than the politicians they cover. On cue, members of the media spent nearly the entire day complaining about Trump and what he said about the press. They crapped the bed when he tweeted the following:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Bless their little insensitive hearts. They could barely take it. But just to give one example of how the press handled it, here is what Ryan Lizza had to say:
I was on the fence about this, but how can journalists go to WHCA dinner and toast somebody who has branded them an "enemy" of the state?
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) February 17, 2017
Putting aside Lizza’s silly comments about the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is nothing but an event where journalists get to pretend they’re celebrities, he completely misstates what Trump said! Trump specifically said the “fake news media” are the “enemy” of the “American people.” Consider the source. Lizza is the one who tweeted a quote from Jeb Bush about mass shootings that purposely left out critical context.
People in the media are proving to be just as thin-skinned and just as narcissistic as President Trump and President Obama. Just as Donald Trump needs to get over it when he decides to start a flame war against a critic, the press needs to get over it when Trump complains about them. Somebody said to me, “Trump was unhinged, but who cares if he was whining about the media? The point is he was whining instead of being a President.”
That’s perfectly stated.
It’s fair to make the case President Trump is attempting to delegitimize the press. But in the course of his near one month in office, he’s delegitimized the judiciary, Congress, NATO, the intelligence community and more. Every day the press is busy fighting on Trump’s turf by battling him about themselves, is another day issues such as the repeal of Obamacare, tax cuts and the nomination of Neil Gorsuch remain untouched. There are still important questions about Russia that need to be answered and investigated. That Trump needed to declare his administration is a “finely tuned machine” when it’s a train wreck needs follow-up.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of these people who thinks Trump is the brilliant Svengali, able to manipulate the press at will. What’s going on is the equivalent of a gorilla and a group of chimpanzees flinging s**t at each other.
However, the media is busy engaging in a battle they likely will not win if they continue to make it about themselves. Trump has a core of supporters who will follow his lead no matter where it goes. If he determines tomorrow The Wall Street Journal is “fake news,” they’re going to agree and start saying it. If Trump is left alone to grouse about the media, he loses out.
Two days ago, Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back a last-minute Obama coal mining regulation. He did with coal miners by his side along with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Optically, this was a terrific win for Trump. The problem is, hardly anybody noticed it because he was too busy screaming at the press and the press screamed back.
It all comes down to this for the mainstream media: Do your job. Stop making threats to boycott the White House Correspondents Dinner. Stop blubbering about our supposedly “threatened democracy” because the President is having a hissy-fit on Twitter. The fourth estate has more important things to do than see who between them and President Trump can pee more on each other’s leg.
Get to work.