It’s unintentionally laughable when cable news hosts like Rachel Maddow break in to announce that MSNBC will not be airing any of Donald Trump’s post-arraignment speech live because “there’s a cost to us as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things.”
These pompous announcements aren’t simply about what’s true and what’s false. They are about how the media elites run our democracy by telling us what happenings we’re all supposed to be talking about, and what should be shamed out of existence.
Or take, for example, how Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler spit nails that conservatives are talking about George Soros throwing a million dollars at a leftist PAC right after it pledged a million dollars to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the man now prosecuting Trump. Kessler proclaimed, “the intense focus on Soros is misplaced.” To connect factual dots between Soros and Bragg is “incendiary.” He’s the Focus Checker instead of the Fact Checker.
We’re in the earliest days of the 2024 presidential election cycle, and the Democrats and their media allies appear to be attempting to create a rerun of 2016. Devote all your journalistic resources and live coverage to the monstrosity that is Trump. Count on Republicans to jerk their knees and rally around Trump’s flag, in the desperate hope Republicans lose again, as they have in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
There was a moment in the all-night cable news hootenanny after Trump’s court appearance where the pundit collective on CNN was fake-lamenting that Trump is dominating the “news” scene.
Maggie Haberman of The New York Times said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to ignore the Trump spectacle, “except that Donald Trump was carried live, on Fox News, tonight. That doesn’t happen that often anymore. And that tells you a lot about how the oxygen is getting sucked.”
CNN analyst David Urban declared, “There’s no space for a Mike Pence, or a Chris Sununu, or someone else who’s getting in the race, to say, ‘We put some daylight here, let me try to… separate myself.'”
Analyst Alyssa Farah Griffin underlined the point: “Nikki Haley was at the border. I believe Mike Pompeo traveled to Ukraine. And those things are not breaking through.”
It’s unintentionally laughable. CNN doesn’t have the power or the resources to do a two-minute news report on Haley or Pompeo? The “breaking through” is something they can’t help to accomplish? They don’t manufacture any “oxygen”? Now, no one would say a strategist would expect Arraignment Day to be a great day for publicity. But this is all about the media’s endless Trump obsession.
One of the most annoying things about how the media run our democracy — and especially our presidential campaigns — is that these “experts” will tell us who they deem is plausible and who is not plausible long before anyone goes to a poll and votes. They’ll take a national poll and then ignore anyone who’s not in double digits.
Pardon the audience if none of us buy the idea that the media would like the Republican primaries to be more competitive, because that’s not what the evidence of media output shows. We’ve counted 658 minutes just on ABC, CBS and NBC from the day Trump told everyone he was going to be arrested. Then these people lament that no one else can “break through.”
The media shouldn’t shamelessly pretend that they don’t try to set the agenda of politics and try to cut our metaphorical meat like we’re children. They’re counting on Republicans to rebel against their loathing — and vote again for the sore loser so he can lose again.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.