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Suddenly, Friendly Reporters Are Offensive

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The Trump administration is less than a month old, and former Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, the brand-new national security adviser, has resigned. This matches the picture the anti-Trump media want to paint right now: Chaos. Disarray. Amateur hour.


They also expect the president to help them paint it. This is why they're going nuclear. But he chose to ignore them instead.

Journalists came out of a joint press conference between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau livid that the president had called on two "friendly" journalists instead of someone who would hammer him about Flynn. They bashed the two American questioners for asking the leaders about relations between the U.S. and Canada. But are the media elites really always hostile to "friendly" questioners?

Former President Obama (and Democratic presidents before him) could always call on friendly journalists at these usually staid joint press conferences. Journalists didn't yell at one another for not being harsh enough. They had no interest in scalps in the first month.

Over the last eight years, the press was never interested in making trouble for Obama. Instead, it projected the opposite. He was "scandal-free." If he had trouble, it didn't come from a rough press conference. It emerged from evil Republicans who were plotting.

Exhibit A is ABC's Terry Moran. Eight years ago at this time, Moran interviewed the new liberal president for "Nightline." He looked at Obama in sorrow and said, "Mr. President, you got no honeymoon, not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation." He then speculated: "I wonder, in coming into the presidency, maybe you were too nice. If I'm a Republican senator or a Republican Congress, I think you're a very nice guy but I don't have enough reason to fear you."


But on the day of the Trump-Trudeau press conference, Moran went on Twitter to hail former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen for "ripping the sh*t out of Stephen Miller's (and POTUS) claims of massive voter fraud in NH." He then retweeted thirteen tweets in which Cullen mocked Trump's voter fraud claims with pop culture references from "The Simpsons" to "The Partridge Family.'

Exhibit B is Brian Williams, whose 2009 prime-time Obama White House special featured a trip for cheeseburgers (What a regular guy, that Obama!) and good night handshakes and bows. He said: "Mr. President, that is your elevator. Thank you, sir. Have a good evening."

But when it came to pounding Trump and Flynn, Williams displayed his typically shameless audacity, complaining that "no matter how robust the press corps covering the president, the president controls the flow and the topics in a de facto way by deciding who to call on and who not to call on."

Obama controlled his flow by calling on Williams.

Exhibit C is CBS News promoting White House correspondent Major Garrett's lament. He said, "The central personnel question hanging over the Trump White House was not asked."

That's especially rich coming from the network of Obama's "60 Minutes" sympathizers. Steve Kroft offered Obama five softball interviews in 2008 in which he skipped every social issue, from gays to abortion to quotas. He also skipped health care and climate. And he skipped Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. Kroft threw "hardballs" like, "Do you think the country is ready for a black president?" Once he became president, Kroft graduated to asking, "So have you gotten into a routine?"


These exhibits could fill a floor of the Newseum. All you need to know is that journalists have an on-off switch for accountability. It was off for eight years. Now it's on, and they're lamely pretending it's always been on.

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