During the presidency of Barack Obama, the media gladly circulated his view that Republicans were hostage takers and terrorists. After the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, journalists spilled a lot of ink covering Republican rhetoric and how it had fanned the flames of hate. Reporters went to tea party rallies, found the most offensive person who was often a union activist play-acting as a racist tea partier, then portrayed all the tea party activists as violent racists.
Fast-forward to our present politics and Democrats are going on television claiming Republicans want to kill people, will let people die and have blood on their hands. Then a nut job attempted a mass assassination of Republican members of congress. Fueled by 24/7 news coverage, a hatred of the president, and a very real belief that the Democrats' rhetoric was on point, James Hodgkinson decided to take matters into his own hands. He came up with a list of Republicans to kill, got a gun and went off to murder.
More Democrat activists and pundits that I would have ever guessed cheered on Hodgkinson and regretted only that he had not actually killed Republicans. Democrat activists and party leaders in Colorado, Nebraska and New Jersey were caught lamenting that Congressmen Steve Scalise lived. A week later, Democrats were back on television again claiming the GOP wants to kill people. Senator Bernie Sanders, who James Hodgkinson supported, claimed people needed to do everything they could to resist the GOP.
Then President Trump attacked the press. He called CNN fake news and his supporters labeled journalists "terrorists." According to the president, no one should believe the fake news. His supporters want to shut down the press. The relationship has been hostile for a long time, but the latest hostility came after two CNN reports were very publicly retracted. The first claimed former FBI Director James Comey would deny he told President Trump the president was not under investigation. Comey actually confirmed there was no investigation. The second claimed the president's friend Anthony Scarramucci had connections to a nefarious Russian investment group. Scarramucci does not, and CNN not only deleted the story, but they pushed out the three reporters who created the story based on a single anonymous source.
Suddenly, the media is concerned about rhetoric again. Republicans may want to kill you and Democrats are given a platform to tell you this, but it is way out of bounds for the president to call the media "fake news" or for his supporters to call reporters "terrorists." It is shameful and we are all supposed to be outraged.
One wrong does not make a right. But I would hope the media might understand the present reaction against it by the right. For years the media has served as a leftwing propaganda outlet, running fawning pieces about the left and hostile pieces about the right. Just last week, CNN ran a story about a woman who claimed she would have to go to Mexico to buy birth control if the GOP passed its healthcare bill. Planned Parenthood's fingers were all over the story and the truth was nowhere to be found in the story. They followed it up with a fawning profile of President Obama's jeans.
If the media is not going to be fair to both sides, they cannot expect the party they treat unfairly to care about the press. We should all be concerned that the president seems very distracted by his war on the American press at a time North Korea, Russia, China, Iran, ISIS and more seem emboldened. But let us not pretend that the current hostility towards the American press is undeserved. People have finally had enough of the media's liberal biases. The media's response is to whine, play victim and engage in the same whataboutism and tit for tat they decry others engaging in.
There are a lot of serious issues domestically and in the world today. But both the president and the press seem more intent on feuding with each other than actually focusing on issues people care about. Both sides look small.