Excerpted From Kyle Smith’s Broadside In Today’s New York Post: It’s contrary to the laws of nature for a tabloid writer to tell the gentry media not to go berserk. It’s like a cat telling his owner to stop coughing up hairballs or Iron Man asking Captain America to be less arrogant. Here at The Post, our mission statement does not include understatement. We provide journalistic Red Bull, not Sominex.
Nevertheless, a word of neighborly advice to our more genteel media friends, the ones who sit at the high table in their pristine white dinner jackets and ball gowns. You’ve been barfing all over yourselves for a week and a half, and it’s revolting to watch.
For your own sake, and that of the republic for which you allegedly work, wipe off your chins and regain your composure. I didn’t vote for him either, but Trump won. Pull yourselves together and deal with it, if you ever want to be taken seriously again.
What kind of president will Trump be? It’s a tad too early to say, isn’t it? The media are supposed to tell us what happened, not speculate on the future. But its incessant scaremongering, the utter lack of proportionality and the shameless use of double standards are an embarrassment, one that is demeaning the value of the institution. The press’ frantic need to keep the outrage meter dialed up to 11 at all times creates the risk that a desensitized populace will simply shrug off any genuine White House scandals that may lie in the future (or may not).
Hysteria is causing leading media organizations to mix up their news reporting with their editorializing like never before, but instead of mingling like chocolate and peanut butter the two are creating a taste that’s like brushing your teeth after drinking orange juice.
Look at the bonkers reaction to every move made by Trump’s transition team. “Firings and Discord Put Trump Team in a State of Disarray,” ran a shrill New York Times headline, though it took President-elect Obama three weeks to name his first Cabinet pick. “Trump Transition Shakeup Part of ‘Stalinesque Purge’ of Christie Loyalists,” screamed NBC News.
The Huffington Post noted “Donald Trump’s Transition Team, Or Lack Thereof, Is Causing Real Panic.” “ ‘Knife Fight’ as Trump Builds an Unconventional National Security Cabinet,” said CNN. “Trump Transition: ‘Stalled . . . Scrambling . . . On Pause,’ ” said CBS News.
OK, so Trump was evidently surprised he won — possibly because he was too credulous toward The New York Times, which gave him a 15 percent chance of doing so. Still, he has a couple of months to assemble his team. If Trump rushed to make his picks more quickly than Obama did, The Times would be yowling that he’s careless and impetuous.
After reports of discord and disarray dominated the news for a day, later stories suggested that disgruntled lobbyists who couldn’t get past the doorman at Trump Tower were leaking the information, meaning that, as Trump tried to drain the swamp in Washington, the media were taking the side of the swamp. (Note that reporters swooned when President Obama promised to bar lobbyists from his circle, then shrugged when Obama reneged.)
After Trump gave the media the slip Tuesday night and went out for a steak, NBC harrumphed, “With his Tuesday night actions, the Trump administration is shaping up to be the least accessible to the public and the press in modern history.” Quite a leap there, especially considering the wall of opacity erected by the current administration, which has been stonewalling Freedom Of Information Act requests for years.
Once, hard-nosed city editors told cub reporters, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Nowadays, all that really matters is whether your mother advances what longtime New York Times editor Michael Cieply, a 12-year veteran of that institution, called “the narrative” — the predetermined party line that Times reporters are expected to rigorously adhere to and find evidence for. It’s what social scientists call “confirmation bias,” and if the Times actually cared about being seen as impartial, it would have fired executive editor Dean Baquet in the wake of Cieply’s revelations on Nov. 10. It didn’t.
The media are reaping what they’ve sown, and there’s no law that says President Trump has to hold press conferences. Trump’s behavior toward the media has been at times scary (such as when he publicly vilified NBC reporter Katy Tur in front of a restive crowd) and at times ridiculous (when he sends out dumb-ass tweets about the “failed New York Times,” which is actually profitable and has gained 41,000 subscribers since Election Day.)
If anyone should be looking at the man in the mirror, it’s the media. The media’s approval rating hit an all-time low of 32 percent this cycle, according to a Gallup poll in September, meaning the fourth estate are even less loved than Trump, their favorite punching bag — who, by the way, has 51 percent of Americans feeling more confident, against 40 percent feeling less confident, about him than they did before the election. The past week of post-election media hysteria is apparently being heavily discounted by the public.
Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds’ characterization of reporters as “Democratic operatives with bylines” is taking root in the American mind. Among independents, according to Gallup in September, the media had an approval rating of 30 percent; among Republicans 14. Almost everyone but Democrats think the media are biased, and support for that view goes way back. Keep reading