Leave it to Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse to be the voice of reason.
While President Trump is intent on ramping up the caustic rhetoric towards the media, cooler heads, like that of Sasse, are stepping forward and speaking real truth.
“I mean there’s an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage, and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain about that, and trying to weaponize distrust,” Sasse told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“And it’s not helpful to call the press ‘the enemy of the American people,'” Sasse added, referring to a past comment by the president. Sasse warned such rhetoric could lead to a new form of “tribalism.”
He’s absolutely right.
Donald Trump is not the first president to get bad coverage from the media. He’s the first to dissolve into a ranting puddle of crazy over it, though.
The majority of mainstream media is depressingly left-leaning. And yes, it’s understandable that some in the viewing public may have reached their limit with being talked down to by some of the liberal elites that make up America’s press rooms. The public has options, however. They can change the channel. They can even rant among themselves, and that’s perfectly acceptable.
For a Republican president, just to take the job is to put themselves in the line of fire. The difference, however, is that they know it ahead of time, and their emotional state is on firm enough ground that they can stand above the fray. They don’t get down in the muck with the leftist media. They just burrow into their work and be about the business of governing.
Donald Trump, however, writes their script for them every day, acting like a maniac through the very public venue of Twitter, and giving his detractors ample ammunition.
Sasse went on to express the importance of embracing the First Amendment, and those freedoms given to Americans through it: Religion, assembly, speech, protest, and a free press.
“The First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment. And you don’t get to separate the freedoms that are in there,” he told Tapper.
“And you don’t have religion without assembly. You don’t have speech without press. We all need to celebrate all five of those freedoms, because that’s how the ‘e pluribus unum’ stuff works,” Sasse continued.
And lest the Trump faithful feel Sasse is picking on Trump again, he also pointed out that the press bears some responsibility to get things “right.”
The Nebraska senator also expressed concern that the U.S. could get “to a place where we don’t have shared public facts,” or scenarios in which echo chambers within the press arise.
Sasse also said media outlets should admit their mistakes and fire people when necessary.
“There should be journalistic ethics and integrity,” Sasse added.
There should be, and there has been more than a single instance of media outlets getting things wrong.
When those events occur, it’s up to the editorial board to hold staff accountable. If it happens too many times, they may very well see their readership or viewership fall away, as people become more and more disillusioned with a shoddy editorial process.
That being said, it is not our president’s job to try and turn the people against the media, and we all should be concerned about a president who spends more time attempting to do so, than actually governing.