By Curtis Houck
For the latest print issue of National Review dated February 11, editor Charles C.W. Cooke offered one of the best eviscerations ever of the liberal media for their odious behavior, declaring them to be “[v]ain, languid, excitable, morbid, duplicitous, cheap, insular, mawkish, and possessed of a chronic self-obsession that would have made Dorian Gray blush” led by people like CNN’s Jim Acosta acting like “a member of the cast of Hamilton.”
Cooke pulled no punches, beginning the tour de force entitled “Bad, Press” with a strong thesis:
Our national press is a national joke. Vain, languid, excitable, morbid, duplicitous, cheap, insular, mawkish, and possessed of a chronic self-obsession that would have made Dorian Gray blush, it rambles around the United States in neon pants, demanding congratulation for its travails. Not since Florence Foster Jenkins have Americans been treated to such an excruciating example of self-delusion. The most vocal among the press corps’ ranks cast themselves openly as “firefighters” when, at worst, they are pyromaniacs, and, at best, they are obsequious asbestos salesmen.
He emphasized that this problem is “getting worse” seeing has how the liberal media still haven’t come to grips with why the American people rejected their world view in 2016. By refusing to look themselves in the mirror, Cooke observed that the Trump presidency “has been an unmitigated disaster for the political media.”
In turn, the press have “treated his presidency as a rolling opportunity for high-octane drama, smug self-aggrandizement, and habitual sloth” where “explosive, unsourced reports” are “the modus operandi.”
After a hilarious hypothetical story about the President having killed Leon Trotsky in 1940 (six years before he was born), the National Review editor used that to make a broader point and promptly took glorified CNN PR agent Brian Stelter to the cleaners (click “expand”):
Everyone, that is, but the victim of the frenzy — who is usually Donald Trump but might also be Brett Kavanaugh or Nikki Haley or Ben Shapiro or a county comptroller from Arkansas or the children of Covington High School or someone who just happens to share a name with a school shooter and once complained online about his property taxes — who will complain bitterly about the spectacle and then be condescended to on the weekend shows by professional media apologists such as CNN’s Brian Stelter.
This phase is the final one within the cycle, and it may also be the most pernicious, for it is here that it is made clear to the architects of the screw-up at hand that they should expect no internal policing or pressure from their peers and that, on the contrary, they should think of themselves as equals to Lewis and Clark. To watch Stelter’s show, Reliable Sources, after a reporting debacle is to watch a master class in whataboutism and faux-persecution, followed by the insistence that even the most egregious lapses in judgment or professionalism are to be expected from time to time and that we should actually be worrying about the real victim here: the media’s reputation. This, suffice it to say, is not helpful. Were a football commentator to worry aloud that a team’s ten straight losses might lead some to think they weren’t any good — and then to cast any criticisms as an attack on sports per se — he would be laughed out of the announcers’ box.
When it comes to the media’s repeated mistakes, Cooke noted for the Stelters of the world that “‘[a]ccountability’ doesn’t mean ‘always running a retraction when you get it wrong” but rather “learning and adapting and changing one’s approach.”
Instead, the political media have shown an undeniably arrogant tendency to both view themselves and demand others see them as “the very embodiment of liberty.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.