Is the media the enemy?

Rich Lowry, writing at Politico, notes that the media has come to occupy in Republican politics a unifying opponent once held by the Soviet Union.

His column originally was titled The Media Is Trump’s Soviet Union (and subsequently retitled The Media Is Trump’s Evil Empire):

For most Republicans, what matters most about Donald Trump is that he’s demonstrated resolve against the enemy—not the Islamic State or the Taliban, but the media….

The media has become for the right what the Soviet Union was during the Cold War—a common, unifying adversary of overwhelming importance….

Now, a policy of containment, preferably rollback, of the mainstream media occupies that central role….

As Lowry points out, Trump’s relentless attacks on the media work both because of historical antipathy by Republicans towards liberal media, but also because there is an obvious extreme media bias that has gone into overdrive.

Seemingly as if on cue, Nicholas Kristof in The NY Times declared We’re Journalists, Mr. Trump, Not the Enemy:

Look, we in journalism deserve to have our feet held to the fire. We make mistakes all the time, and too often we are superficial, sensationalist, unfair, defensive or diverted by shiny objects. Critics are right that we in the national media are often out of touch with working-class America, and distressingly often, we are lap dogs instead of watchdogs.

Yet for all our failings, journalism remains an indispensable constraint on power. Trump has systematically tried to delegitimize the institutions that hold him accountable — courts, prosecutors, investigators, the media — and that’s the context for his vilification of all them, for we collectively provide monitoring that outrages him.

The Featured Image to this post is from a Republican primary debate hosted by CNBC that devolved into the equivalent of heckling by the moderators:

What passes for journalism is a grotesque attempt to shape elections in favor of Democrats. They have disgraced their profession and done more damage to themselves than Trump ever could have done to them.

The greatest threat to a free press is a press that is so biased and such bullies that people view the press as the problem, not the solution. Don’t blame the messenger, Donald Trump.


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