By Dave Andrusko
I’ve had my share of “conversations” (via twitter and email–hardly anyone actually phones any more) with “mainstream media” types since November 8. If ever for a nanosecond, I suspected the near universal hostility toward pro-life Donald Trump would take a day off, that exercise in naivety has vanished in a poof of bias and rancor.
As I suggested ahead of time and since, the disdain, the dismissive attitude, and the derision with which these elitists treated not only President-elect Trump but the 60 million people who voted for him would only escalate. That is, after a couple of perfunctory “maybe we didn’t really understand what was going out there in the hinterland” pieces. (See below.)
Just now I just took a quick glance at the front page of the Washington Post’s webpage. There was one favorable post on Trump. The vitriol, the hysteria, the end of life as we know narrative of all the rest demonstrated that reporters and columnists and editorial page writers are only getting worse. To be honest to read major publications saturated with hatred and paranoia for Trump is deeply disconcerting.
Fox News’s Howard Kurtz critically examined a meme that began months ago and is now escalating in intensity: the media must resist “normalizing Donald Trump.”.
What the heck does “normalizing” mean?
Donald Trump, they say, should not be normalized.
To be “normalized” would be to be treated as just another president-elect putting together his Cabinet and White House staff. A normalized process would involve skeptical coverage, aggressive coverage, but would fit within the template of previous transitions.
What those who decry the normalization of Barack Obama’s successor are really saying is Trump is not a legitimate president, and doesn’t deserve to be treated as such.
But why would you treat Trump as you would any President elect if (had you read the Post and the New York Times and CNN and kindred outlets) you can already hear the sound of Brownshirts marching into the streets?
And of course anything that happens (except, perhaps the murders of police officers which doesn’t get this group particularly exercised) is Trump’s fault. In that vein did you know, according to The Boston Globe’s Renee Graham,
“Make no mistake: Trump’s election is as disastrous as an Old Testament plague. His election has sparked anger and anxiety, driving thousands nationwide into the streets in protest. Between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. last Wednesday, when Trump’s victory was inevitable, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recorded a 250 percent spike in calls.”
Any violence that takes place is on his head, not on those who torch and destroy.
Of course this technique is older than the aforementioned Old Testament plagues: to induce violence and then play the victim.
Quick word about, “Fixing America’s Nearsighted Press Corps: U.S. Media’s Real Elitism Problem,” by Andrew McGill .
McGill quite properly points out that you can transfer the elitist from the East Coast to Middle America without having much, if any effect, on expanding the bandwidth of his vision. He talks about one reporter in particular, former Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham, as a perfect test case.
In a phone interview with Ingraham, who had moved to a county in Minnesota, Ingraham tells McGill
Voters in Red Lake County voted for Trump in a landslide, 61 percent to 29 percent. More striking, Clinton’s showing here was the worst of any Democratic presidential candidate since at least 1960. Given the vociferous campaign that played out on TV — and seemingly across the country — I wondered how such a dramatic political shift could be happening in an almost hidden way among my neighbors. It was, in some way, no surprise that busy reporters based in D.C. and traveling nonstop around the country had not grasped the entirety of this shift. I lived here every day. I missed it, too.
The point is while embedded in rural Northwest Minnesota, a reporter can be just as isolated from what normal people are actually thinking as they are when they reside in the media bubble in fashionable media haunts in Washington, DC. One has plenty of illustrations of how ordinary Americans are feeling, the other virtually none.
But, in either case, if you are not going to just take his or her own pulse, the reporter must (a) Get out and talk to people, (b) start with the presumption that they are (at least) as decent a human being as the reporter is, and (c) if what they find “confirms” what they suspected going in, alarm bells ought to go off.