The Washington Post’s media opinion columnist Margaret Sullivan criticized the “embarrassingly complimentary” TV coverage for President Joe Biden and issued a warning for the press going forward.
Journalists openly celebrated the end of former President Donald Trump’s time in office and spent considerable efforts praising Biden and his new administration. Sullivan wrote on Thursday that the “return to norms” due to a less-contentious president is “potentially dangerous” for the future of journalism.
“We run the risk of being seduced by an administration that, in many cases, closely reflects our values: multiculturalism, a belief in the principles of liberal democracy, and a kind of wonky idealism,” Sullivan noted.
“The commentary from TV broadcasters across the board, all day long, was at times embarrassingly complimentary. Maybe that’s fine for a day or two while everyone takes a few sighs of relief that democracy has survived its stress test,” she continued. (RELATED: Here’s The Type Of Media Coverage You Can Expect For The Next 4 Years)
Sullivan wrote about how the press changed under the Trump administration, too. According to her, the national press changed and improved by the end of Trump’s tenure. Journalists began to stand “up for democracy” and learn how to present elections in a more substantive way, she argued.
“But now that the comfortable norms have returned, and the new administration is so much easier for most national journalists to like, the old journalistic norms may return, too,” the article reads. “That would be a shame. The lessons were hard-won. They shouldn’t be forgotten.”
Throughout Sullivan’s opinion piece, she also offered up some praise for Biden’s administration, calling White House press secretary Jen Psaki “prepared,” “professional” and “noncombative.” The press briefing on Wednesday night, according to Sullivan, was “so normal — so weirdly normal.”
“This return to norms is wonderfully welcome after the horrors of the past four years,” Sullivan added before going into her warnings for the future.