In a culture addicted to outrage it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find the media spinning themselves into a position of beloved victimhood after President Donald Trump released a tweet on Friday specifically calling out the poor reporting of five news organizations.
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
The Earth shook. The sky fell. 140 characters, or less, spun the press into spasms of deflection and self-righteous indignation. How dare the President use their invented term, “Fake News”, against them? Senator John McCain (R-AZ) took things a step further in an interview with Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” claiming Trump’s behavior towards the media was “how dictators get started.”
Not to be outdone, nearly every contributor from the five cited news organizations began claiming the President wanted to limit the First Amendment and the freedom of the press. In a society that believes hashtags effect change, #NotMyEnemy started trending on twitter with people competing to out martyr each other, hyperbolically alluding to certain apocalyptic cataclysm for America waiting just around the corner.
Twitter now produces dictatorships and hashtags are the weapon of the modern freedom fighter, or at least those who claim to be so on facebook.
How did we get to this absurd position in history?
Well, there was the time that CNN contributor Donna Brazile leaked debate questions to Hillary Clinton during the primary, and the time the DNC worked with CNN to formulate questions Wolf Blitzer was going to ask in an interview with Donald Trump.
Let us also not forget about the DNC working with CNN to come up with questions for Ted Cruz, and the dinner parties thrown by Clinton’s campaign manager for writers at the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN — you know, the five media organizations criticized by Trump. The problem wasn’t that Trump singled out these five groups, the problem was that 140 characters didn’t allow him to cite the rest.
Remember the “lady with the rash” at the March Town Hall? The CNN contributor, writing from her ipad for convenience, was sure to send Clinton’s campaign manager a heads-up about that question in an email titled “One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash”. It continued, “Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint.”
Sure enough at the Town Hall a lady with a rash stood up and asked the question:
After my family, the city of Flint and the children in D.C. were poisoned by lead, will you make a personal promise to me right now that, as president, in your first 100 days in office, you will make it a requirement that all public water systems must remove all lead service lines throughout the entire United States, and notification made to the — the citizens that have said service lines?
Recall that this was not the first question leaked to Clinton.
The President did not select these sources for criticism out of thin air. Wikileaks emails, confirmed as authentic via DKIM, have shown the world how tightly the DNC worked with these media groups in opposition to the Republican candidate — and Bernie Sanders – remember him?
Additional examples include the unvetted publishing and widespread reporting of the fake “Russian Dossier” (the word “dossier” makes it sound more legitimate and spy-like), the racially charged removal of Martin Luther King Jr’s bust that never happened, or CNN using their own cameraman to feign outrage over Trump’s election win in an effort to incite protesters. Then there was CNN claiming it was illegal for anyone but the media to read Wikileaks dumps, a writer at The New York Times giving the Clinton campaign an option to “veto what you didn’t want”, and the Clinton campaign having access to upcoming articles being written in the Wall Street Journal, TIME, and other sources. Glen Thrush of Politico even admitted to his own collusion, seeking John Podesta’s approval of the wording in an article he was writing.
All of this, of course, very much in violation of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.
Nobody, not even President Trump, is calling for the destruction of the First Amendment. Nobody is calling for the freedom of the press to be curtailed. Calling out five organizations with a proven track record of poor reporting in a nation with thousands of media sources does not threaten freedom of speech. Context needs to be considered. Journalists on the front line covering the war in Syria, starvation in Africa, corruption in Eastern Europe, or lethal water in Flint were not referenced in the President’s tweet. Considering the evidence of collusion provided, it should come as no surprise (and I’m sure it doesn’t) that the five listed were referenced. Now it’s a competition between them to see who can appear more victimized – and they’re free to do so.