The media’s war on Trump is destined to fail. Why can’t it see that? By Thomas Frank.
The people of the respectable east coast press loathe the president with an amazing unanimity. They are obsessed with documenting his bad taste, with finding faults in his stupid tweets, with nailing him and his associates for this Russian scandal and that one. They outwit the simple-minded billionaire. They find the devastating scoops. The op-ed pages come to resemble Democratic fundraising pitches. The news sections are all Trump all the time. They have gone ballistic so many times the public now yawns when it sees their rockets lifting off. …
The news media’s alarms about Trump have been shrieking at high C for more than a year. It was in January of 2016 that the Huffington Post began appending a denunciation of Trump as a “serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, birther and bully” to every single story about the man. It was last August that the New York Times published an essay approving of the profession’s collective understanding of Trump as a political mutation – an unacceptable deviation from the two-party norm – that journalists must cleanse from the political mainstream.
It hasn’t worked. They correct and denounce; they cluck and deride and Trump seems to bask in it. He reflects this incredible outpouring of disapprobation right back at the press itself. …
The press is a herd now:
The truth is that the unanimous anti-Trumpness of the respectable press is just one facet of a larger homogeneity. As it happens, the surviving press in this country is unanimous about all sorts of things.
There are their views on trade. Or their views on what they call “populism”. Or their views on what they call “bipartisanship”. Or their views on just about anything having to do with the decline of manufacturing (sad but inevitable) and the rise of the “creative” white-collar professions (the smart ones, so meritorious).
This is one of the factors that explains the many monstrous journalism failures of the last few decades: the dot-com bubble, which was actively cheered on by the business press; the Iraq war, which was abetted by journalism’s greatest sages; the almost complete failure to notice the epidemic of professional misconduct that made possible the 2008 financial crisis and the rise of Donald Trump, which (despite the media’s morbid fascination with the man) caught nearly everyone flatfooted.
Everything they do, they do as a herd – even when it’s running headlong over a cliff. …
Why it happens — they are all members of the new elite class:
These things don’t happen because the journalists that remain are liberals. It happens because so many of them are part of the same class – an exalted and privileged class. They are professionals and they believe in the things that so many other professional groups believe in: consensus, “realism”, credentialing, the wisdom of their fellow professionals and (of course) the stupidity of the laity.
This is the key to understanding many of their biases – and also for understanding why they are so utterly oblivious to how they appear to the rest of America.