If anyone doubts for a moment President Donald Trump’s campaign to call out the mainstream media for misrepresentation, telling half the story or pushing outright lies is having an effect, last week should have caused those doubts to evaporate. Last Thursday, some 100 newspapers joined together, one might say colluded, to publish editorials in an effort to blunt Trump’s “dirty war on the free press”, as CNN called it.
Of course the media would have us believe President Trump started the whole thing, or at best, the mainstream media was merely doing its job of reporting the news fairly. This presumes the public has no memory of any kind. Few people seem to remember the Obama administration at one time floated the idea of placing government representatives in newsrooms across the country. When Obama departed the White House, he righteously praised the press. “America needs you and our democracy needs you,” Obama said. “Having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder.” All of that should have been true, but it was surely at variance with the Obama administration’s record. It was President Obama, despite campaign promises to the contrary, who utilized the Espionage Act to prosecute those who leaked stories to the press, as well as terrorize journalists. It was Obama’s Justice Department who got access to the personal email of a FOX News reporter, while at the same time placing the journalist’s parents and colleagues under surveillance. Obama regularly banned photographers for news organizations from current events. Trump wasn’t the first president to extensively use social media; Obama used it to avoid reporters and went for long periods of time without holding press conferences. Obama still holds the worst record in American history for not fulfilling requests for public records under the Freedom of Information Act. Where was the outrage from the free press of the United States of America? That can be answered by pointing to one news organization who actually awarded the Obama administration an award for transparency, which occurred at an event closed to the media. It was the Obama administration who named one journalist as an unindicted co-conspirator for the sin (not an actual crime) of having reported news.
Leonard Downie, who was once upon a time the executive editor of the Washington Post, described the Obama administration’s determination to stop leaks as “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.” Downie was affiliated with the Post during the Watergate scandal and should know what he’s talking about.
Perhaps leaking government information should be aggressively pursued, but the media sees it as quite terrifying because they like publishing the information leaked. Yet because it was Obama, they remained largely silent.
Which is worse, Trump referring to the media as an “enemy of the people”, or using the FBI to spy on reporters and their families? Can you imagine what the press would do had Trump done precisely what Obama did?
The fact many of you reading this are completely unaware of what has gone on is further evidence of the double standard in reporting the news. When news is reported honestly and fairly, there is no double standard.
Many editorial writers have been reassuring us the mainstream media is neither monolithic nor do they all think the same thing. When more than 100 newspapers join together to condemn the president in a coordinated attack, that seems an especially preposterous assertion.
The press would have us believe whatever Donald Trump does on a given day, it is unprecedented, or no administration in the history of the country has ever done anything like it before. That only holds true if we all have amnesia, and believe me folks, the mainstream media really wishes we all had a terrible case of amnesia right about now.