In the past few months, we’ve seen several public incidents involving Trump supporters or even members of his administration, and members of the opposition. These episodes range from accosting, harassment, and even assault.
Personally, I don’t think the fact that someone clings to a different worldview than I do means they should be treated in a physically violent manner. Apparently, that mindset isn’t as widely held as I once believed. Now, we have high-profile individuals like Representative Maxine Waters encouraging citizens to harass Trump officials in public. Unfortunately, her attempt at persuasion isn’t the first of its kind nor will it be the last.
Corresponding with the increase in aggressive tendencies is the back-and-forth between the president and the media. President Trump routinely calls the media “the enemy of the American people.” Instead of using the term “enemy” for actual foreign threats, like Kim Jong-un or Vladimir Putin, he uses it to describe CNN, the New York Times, and similar outlets. This is harmful and does nothing to spur on constructive dialogue. It certainly doesn’t motivate news organizations to take a hard look at themselves. Statements on the media complex could – and should – be handled better. But then again, gentle language is not the president’s strong point.
No, the media is not our enemy. Each outlet is full of bias because humans are at the helm. It’s never going to be any other way. That being said, they do need to be responsible in their reporting. Opinion columns and punditry is one thing, but when it comes to facts, there is only black and white.
On Monday, my colleague Brandon Morse covered the incident concerning Turning Point USA’s own Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens while they ate breakfast in Philadelphia. These two were harassed and assaulted by members of an Antifa mob. They were screamed at and had water poured on them, and Leftist lunatics are to blame.
The encounter was violent and criminal. Yes, as someone who isn’t really a fan of Kirk or Owens, for reasons that I won’t get into here, I can admit that they were horribly wronged and the perpetrators should be held accountable. (Isn’t that amazing?) But some members of the media, in their reaction to Monday’s mob treatment, took a…less accusatorial approach.
Over at The Hill, the protesters were simply “confronting” a “far-right group.”
WATCH: Antifa protestors confront far-right student group at restaurant, pour water on leader https://t.co/1wVPsddUIf pic.twitter.com/PqQDlz7FbH
— The Hill (@thehill) August 7, 2018
Confronting is to challenge someone. Said challenge may lead to an argument, but the idea is that there is a mutual exchange of ideas. Sure, these ideas and the feelings behind them may be angry or downright hostile, but a confrontation certainly allows for the other party to have their say.
This was not a confrontation. It was an assault.
Also, there was no group involved. Kirk and Owens were two people pitted against an angry mob. As I’m sure you’re aware, Antifa’s modus operandi involves assault, vandalization, and violent attacks.
You in no way have to agree with Kirk and Owens to report the truth of the matter.
There are other examples but they all show the same thing: a sanitization on the part of the media of the basic facts in order to direct a narrative. Thankfully, there is video from Monday’s breakfast mob meeting, but that’s not always the case.
Despite all of this, I still maintain that the media is not the enemy of our nation and the people who reside within its borders. We have actual foes and real, serious threats, both foreign and domestic. The media is often problematic and obsessed with a narrative, but they are not the enemy. It’s imperative that we support a free and open press even if we disagree with them on a regular basis. In fact, just because you oppose some take from a news outlet doesn’t mean they are wrong. In the case of the president, he believes any negative reporting – even if it is solely based in fact – is proof of fabrication or a sign that the media is his rival.
Just as the media is not always right, they are also not always wrong. Any extreme position that confers either distinction on them is wholly inaccurate in itself.
We are all sinners and saints.
Kimberly Ross is a senior contributor at RedState and a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.