The liberal media are doing their best to feed the street fight that the GOP primaries have become, pushing for greater, and fiercer, attacks on Republican front-runner Donald Trump. At the same time the media are doing their best to protect Hillary Clinton in many different ways: by minimizing her legal and ethical troubles, avoiding discussions of her foreign policy record, and deliberately ignoring the close ties between the media and the Clintons. After her resounding primary victory in South Carolina, the relief is palpable that Mrs. Clinton appears well on her way to wrapping up the nomination in the next few weeks, avoiding a protracted battle. We’ll see.
But in the meantime, the mainstream media are clearly trying to help her. For example, Maria Cardona appeared on air 50 times between August 2015 and February 2016. Yet, according to Lee Fang of the left-wing website Intercept, 40 of those appearances “presented her as a neutral Democratic strategist or CNN contributor.”
In reality, Fang writes, “…in none of her appearances was it disclosed that [Cardona’s] firm, the Dewey Square Group, has been retained for consulting work by the Clinton Super PACs or that her colleagues at the firm are working on behalf of the Clinton campaign.” Cardona has many reasons to support the Clintons, yet her loyalty to Hillary is not being regularly disclosed.
Last May, when news broke about ABC’s George Stephanopoulos’ secret contributions to the Clinton Foundation, we called for greater transparency from reporters, to disclose their conflicts of interest—as called for in the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics. Fang lists five pundits who have not properly divulged their connection to Republican or Democratic campaigns. There are many more in the media establishment with conflicts of interest that we could list here.
Rupert Murdoch is attending a $2,700-a-plate fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in the United Kingdom. Does this mean that Fox News is also supporting Clinton? Not necessarily, and he’s certainly not the only network executive or owner to donate to politicians. Yet when the head of the cable news network viewed by most conservatives makes such a donation, it raises concerns.
We have reported again and again on how news organizations, such as The Washington Post, exonerate Clinton’s apparent potentially criminal behavior in an attempt to smooth her way to the White House. Media bigwigs have orchestrated love-ins for their favored candidate, and have largely restricted themselves to softball questions that ignore the real issues.
And it is the media that have helped promote the Trump phenomenon. He has shown that he can garner unlimited free media, so why pay for ads, and why build the ground game? Trump can just use the media—and they will use him right back.
Now that the media have helped establish Trump as the runaway frontrunner, these reporters and news organizations are starting to have buyer’s remorse, comparing him to Hitler, Kim Jung Il, and Stalin.
Harvard professor Danielle Allen penned a column for The Washington Post entitled, “The moment of truth: We must stop Trump.” “I believe that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, and I intend to vote for her, but it is also the case that she is a candidate with significant weaknesses, as your party knows quite well,” writes Allen. “The result of a head-to-head contest between Clinton and Trump would be unpredictable. Trump has to be blocked in your primary.”
Allen wrote, “I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand.”
When Michael Smerconish, who has a Saturday morning show on CNN, asked her to defend her Hitler reference, she replied, “I wasn’t actually making a straight comparison between the two individuals, just a comparison about the political situation and the political realities…” No doubt.
As a Clinton supporter herself, is Allen offering this advice altruistically? Certainly not. By attempting to stoke an “anyone-but-Trump” backlash, Allen joins the rest of the media in a full-out attempt to practically guarantee, as they see it, Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances.
The Washington Post has made its own position clear, with a February 24 editorial, “GOP leaders, you must do everything in your power to stop Trump.” “If Mr. Trump is to be stopped, now is the time for leaders of conscience to say they will not and cannot support him and to do what they can to stop him,” writes the Post’s editorial board, mirroring Allen’s exhortations.
These opinion pieces are not actually intended as friendly advice designed to shore up the Republican Party’s chances in the general election. Rather, they are calculated to sow dissension and ensure that the Republican Party is so badly damaged during the primary and caucus process that they will have little chance against Mrs. Clinton in November. If they thought Trump would be easy to beat, they would be delighted to see him get the nomination.
It should not be surprising, then, that the mainstream media have been salivating over the spectacle of last Thursday night’s no-holds-barred attack on Trump by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). And Trump gave as good as he got, punching back hard at his opponents.
“Neither Rubio nor Cruz has relished going after Trump in the past, perhaps fearing the blowtorch counterattacks that were leveled at others who are now on the political sidelines,” writes Dan Balz for The Washington Post. “But by Thursday night, they had no choice. Amid a rising Republican chorus urging them to go after the front-runner, the two answered the calls.”
Meanwhile, the Democrats are stacking the deck for Clinton by allocating superdelegates in her favor.
Fifteen percent of the Democratic Party delegates, or 712 votes, are set aside for current and former leaders in the Democratic Party, according to the Post. “These so-called superdelegates are not required to support a particular candidate,” it reports. “They may ignore voters’ preferences if they wish.” Such a policy allows the leadership of the Democratic Party to help select the candidate that they feel would perform better in the general election. Those 712 superdelegates represent about one-third of the total number of delegates needed to win the nomination.
In contrast, the Republican Party selects its nominee based on primary and caucus voting results.
Allen’s column pushed for the Republicans to rally around Senator Rubio in a last-ditch effort to rid the party of Trump. Similarly, The New York Times is pushing a long-shot theory where Rubio loses in all Super Tuesday primaries, yet has enough delegates to challenge Trump in a contested convention.
The media are out to destroy the Republican Party’s chances of winning in November. They realize that a new attorney general, under any of the three leading Republican contenders, may very well have the appetite to look into, for example, the corruption and politicization of the IRS under the Obama administration, and take another look at Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of classified information.
The media were thrilled to promote Donald Trump for president when he meant good ratings and lively discussions. But now that he is the clear frontrunner to get the nomination, panic has set in that against a scandal-plagued candidate like Mrs. Clinton, with more baggage than a train station and the cloud of an FBI investigation hanging over her head, Trump could actually win.
But there are a lot more twists and turns likely to come in this unparalleled presidential election cycle. What happens if the Justice Department indicts Hillary for mishandling classified materials? What happens if they don’t? What happens if the Democratic race is close, and super-delegates start shifting to Bernie? Would that be the cue for former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to enter the race? And on the Republican side, what happens if Cruz or Rubio start to gain momentum, and everyone drops out except for Trump and either Cruz or Rubio? How would Trump do one on one with either of them? Stay tuned.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at [email protected]