About Face: Media Outlets' Cringeworthy Shift from Resistance Leaders to Cheerleaders

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 10:05 AM
About Face: Media Outlets' Cringeworthy Shift from Resistance Leaders to Cheerleaders

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

Most members of the mainstream media have always been left-of-center liberals, exhibiting undeniable bias over many years, particularly on certain cultural issues. During the Trump era, much of the press took up positions as vanguards of the Resistance, toiling in a unified front to weaken and defeat a president they collectively loathed – despite their addiction to him as a bottomless source of content and interest. When the Larger Goal required the suppression of a legitimate news story shortly before the fall election, many journalists enthusiastically participated in its squelching (click here and scroll). Now that the deed is done, and Donald Trump is out of office, some journalistic organizations aren't attempting to hide their excitement over the new administration. This whole thread merits your attention, but here are a few fragrant examples:

Other headlines and on-screen graphics might as well read, "we, journalists, are very happy now":

Then there are the quotes and images I had to double-check, just to make sure they were real:

That CNN chyron might be loosely translated to, "our preferred political party is now in power (screw you)." There's no denying that the previous president lied frequently (including advancing an especially damaging, pernicious lie) and threw frequent roundhouses at the press. But it's embarrassing for our self-appointed guardians of truth to clap along like trained seals about the amazing veracity of the new administration – especially when said new administration burst onto the scene with a significant lie about COVID vaccine logistics. Beyond the cringey giddiness and glowing coverage, what has been more disturbing are a recent discovery and a recent trend. The discovery was the Washington Post's decision to stealthily remove an unflattering anecdote about Kamala Harris in a long-dormant news story. The details, uncovered by Reason, are summarized here. WaPo eventually offered a weak explanation and restored the original version, having been caught. One wonders exactly when the "unhelpful" passage got memory-holed, how and why that decision was made, and how many times similar things have occurred. Then there are the growing calls to ostracize, boycott, or de-platform media organizations that stray from the consensus, under the guise of combatting "hate" or "threats" to the country:

The drumbeat for cable companies to act has grown louder. Oliver Darcy, a media reporter at Fox News rival CNN, said after the riot that “it is time TV carriers face questions for lending their platforms to dishonest companies that profit off of disinformation and conspiracy theories.” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof said that “cable providers should be asked why they distribute channels that peddle lies.” And Washington Post columnist and CNN analyst Max Boot wrote that cable providers should “step in and kick Fox News off.” If Newsmax and rival One America News Network “continue to incite viewers, they, too, should be booted off,” he added.

This is the Washington Post's media columnist:

To be clear, the "important aspect" she refers to is badgering cable providers to refuse to offer networks like Fox News. Leftists are witnessing the heavy-handed authoritarianism of social media bans and exploring how they might expand similar pressure campaigns on other fronts. It's not about the "truth" or saving America from disinformation. It's about silencing opponents. And it's becoming more and more mainstream. Writing at Tablet, Armin Rosen notes that some of the loudest pro-censorship and anti-speech views and voices are emanating from within the journalism community itself, citing numerous examples in this piece:

The notion that free expression is sedition’s handmaiden or that the prevention of treason should be a higher goal than the open exchange or exposure of allegedly dangerous arguments are not controversial views anymore; they pop up frequently, among putatively liberal-minded commentators in The Washington Post and The New York Times...Media skepticism toward free expression actually began long before the Capitol riot – and before Trump was elected...support for the mainstream American free speech norms of earlier, less-Trump-addled times is increasingly cast as a kind of sinister eccentricity...For the rising, pro-censorship voices in media and beyond, history has no tides, just correct answers. What objection will today’s anti-speech intellectuals mount if someone in power decides they’re the ones who have it all wrong?

I'll leave you with this:

"58% think that 'most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.'"