Welcome to the age of self-congratulatory media. “Democracy dies in darkness” goes the ridiculous tagline on The Washington Post’s front page. Reporters openly call themselves heroes and firefighters.
Yet when it doesn’t fit the standard left-wing narrative, our Guardians of the Galaxy are MIA.
On Sunday, the Unite the Right II rally of white supremacists fizzled out. Antifa demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., who gathered to mark the anniversary of the first Unite the Right rally, threw eggs at Secret Service, were arrested for assaulting a man wearing a Make America Great Again hat, launched fireworks and smoke bombs at police and assaulted NBC reporter Cal Perry. Perry had his camera knocked out of his hands while the protester screamed profanities at him.
The story appears on various media sites, and several reporters tweeted about the attack, but the outrage was muted. Instead, nearly every outlet went out of their way to gently describe the Antifa mob. The headlines at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post made sure to call the group “anti-hate protesters.”
After two years of constant self-applause, and furrowed-brow concern about President Trump sowing mistrust in the media as well as possibly instigating violence against its members, where is the outrage when a reporter is physically assaulted?
Had it been an alt-right member doing the attacking, is there any doubt the story would lead all news shows and make the front page of all the major newspapers?
Also on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio sat down with Brian Stelter at CNN to continue his crybaby “News Corp is mean to me so I wish they’d disappear” tour.
Stelter had been pummeled on Twitter for glossing over the mayor’s comments when he originally made them the prior week. When de Blasio commented, “If you could remove News Corp from the last 25 years of American history, we would be in an entirely different place” some people reported it as an attack on the “press.” Stelter made sure to clarify that this was merely an attack on Rupert Murdoch and his properties. Doesn’t count!
On Sunday, Stelter let de Blasio’s ludicrous claims about The Post stirring up racial animosity by, for example, opposing David Dinkins, go unchecked. He mostly nodded along as the mayor ranted about what a better world it’d be if everyone just agreed with him.
Stelter isn’t always this even-keeled. In 2017, Trump tweeted “@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!”
Stelter described this tweet by Trump as “an invitation to undemocratic regimes around the world to harass CNN journalists” despite the fact that it was nothing of the sort. But somehow de Blasio openly wishing for the demise of media in the city he runs didn’t rise to nearly the same level of concern.
In June, following the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland, Stelter was happy to speculate whether Trump might be the cause. Without naming anyone in particular, Stelter’s daily newsletter noted “many people wondering if the incident was somehow inspired by [Trump’s] anti-media rhetoric.” It wasn’t, but the media got two days to fantasize that it was until all the details were known. For some reason those same journalists seem a lot less worried about de Blasio’s rhetoric.
Donald Trump didn’t invent deep mistrust of the media, he merely capitalized on it. Over 70 percent of Americans think traditional media outlets report news they know to be fake. News consumers see media folks worrying about threats that don’t exist while ignoring actual incidents of violence by people the media doesn’t wish to offend.
It should be very easy to care about the physical assault of a fellow journalist. It should be quite simple to defend local news from a power-hungry wannabe authoritarian mayor. But you’d have to be dedicated to the industry instead of your ideology — and this week we learned just how many in the press choose the latter when the two conflict.