Donald Trump certainly has a way with words. Words that hit you in the gut, whether you agree or disagree. The very same words that rouse his enthusiastic core infuriate those who despise him. True, he’s not strong on subtlety or nuance but sometimes the essence of his message is founded in truth.
For example, he has frequently declared that the press (or the media) is “the enemy of the people.” Now, I’ll concede his wording is overblown, and his generalization is too broad. In fact, in a November interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Trump dialed it back a bit when he explained that this description doesn’t apply to all journalists just a large subset that he calls “the Fake News,” which is a Trumpism for biased news. (Given his combative style, Trump probably figures “fake” is a harder-hitting term than “biased.”) But he’s right about him being the enemy of liberal journalists with a decidedly anti-Trump bias who lambaste him in columns and editorials or purposefully spin their reporting to his detriment.
Freedom of the press is specifically protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The founders recognized that a free press is essential to a free society, holding people and institutions to account, especially government. It’s been said that countries that have newspapers filled only with good news also have jails filled with good people. In a perfect society, the press would be fair, objective and ethical. But this isn’t a perfect society and the press is made up of imperfect people, just like the rest of us.
Although the press, collectively, isn’t the enemy of all the people, many in the press are the enemy of some of the people (like conservatives) and are cheerleaders for those they favor (like Barack Obama). And journalists tend to be liberal. I’ve known some liberal journalists who candidly acknowledge this and others who deny it. That latter group is either lying or delusional. Perhaps, living in a cultural cocoon of fellow liberals, short on a conservative perspective, they believe this is the norm and lack the self-awareness to recognize their own bias.
Trump has certainly given many ample cause for criticism and to many others, praise. But to a great number of journalists, Donald Trump is political Public Enemy Number One. This is all too obvious in their daily coverage of him. In what appears to be their self-righteous mission to hobble his presidency or drive him from office, they’ve thrown pretense of journalistic fairness and objectivity to the winds. In effect, they’ve enlisted in the progressive anti-Trump “Resistance.” Think of CNN’s Jim Acosta as their poster boy.
It’s undeniable that the dominant major news media in this country have a distinctly liberal bias. That includes ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, The NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time magazine, the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, etc. Yes, the Fox News Channel has a conservative bias, but has far less influence on public opinion. It’s prime-time news audience is only 2.5 million viewers, which is overwhelmed by the daily aggregate prime-time television news audience at ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS of over 22 million. And the dominant liberal media have gone to war against Donald Trump.
Trump’s principal defensive weapon is Twitter, which fits his style — short and not so sweet — and goes directly to the public, bypassing the liberal media filter. When he counterattacks, media liberals circle the wagons. In August, led by the Boston Globe, hundreds of newspapers (including the liberal and anti-Trump Denver Post) linked arms and ran anti-Trump editorials feigning the endangerment of a free press. Nonsense. They blamed Trump for undermining their credibility. Come on, the credibility of the dominant liberal media has been sinking like a rock for years, long before the Trump era, and justifiably so. Trump has simply amplified it.
And the notion that the free (liberal) press is any danger of suppression by the government of an “autocratic” Trump administration is belied by their relentless attacks on him over the last two years which will continue with impunity — and constitutional protection. To that point, a federal judge recently mandated that Trump give Jim Acosta back his White House press credential.
Mike Rosen is an American radio personality and political commentator.