The goal was 100 but at this writing 70 news organizations, including major dailies such as the Miami Herald, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Denver Post, have agreed to “produce independent opinion pieces about Trump’s attacks on the media.” Leading the campaign is Marjorie Pritchard, deputy editorial page editor of the Boston Globe.
“We are not the enemy of the people,” Pritchard told reporters, and as she tweeted, “This is not about being a Democrat. And this is not about being a Republican. This is about the importance of a free press, enshrined in the Constitution, something we should all get behind.” Even so, readers had cause to wonder if the “coordinated editorial campaign” was something of a non-event.
Coverage of President Trump in the establishment media remains approximately 90 percent negative, so the campaign would hardly signal a new direction. Readers might also wonder about the rallying cry.
President Trump has not tampered with the First Amendment and never said the media was the enemy of the people. He did tweet “It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!” Readers might take the coordinated campaign as another example.
The Washington Post is not an official part of the coordinated effort, but columnist Kathleen Parker charges that Trump has launched a verbal open season on journalists. As the Post noted, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens shared a voice-mail warning, “I don’t carry an AR but once we start shooting you f—ers you aren’t going to pop off like you do now. You’re worthless, the press is the enemy of the United States people and, you know what, rather than me shoot you, I hope a Mexican and, even better yet, I hope a n—– shoots you in the head, dead.” Since this came from an anonymous source, readers could easily believe somebody just made it up.
“The way I view it is, we’re not at war with the administration” explained Washington Post editor Martin Baron. “We’re at work. We’re doing our jobs.” Baron also said “I just look at it as a new administration that we should be covering as aggressively, as energetically as possible. If Hillary Clinton were in the White House, we would be doing the very same thing.” Readers might not think so.
The Washington Post was not very aggressive on the Clinton Foundation, an open-faced bribery scheme that signaled how the Secretary of State would act as president. The best reporting on the Clinton Foundation came from Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash, not the Washington Post, New York Times, or CNN, but the possibilities do not end there.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, the former First Lady violated several statutes involving the handling of classified information and destroyed evidence including some 30,000 emails. Those still exist in some form but the investigative journalists of the establishment media do not pursue them in aggressive style.
If the Boston Globe, Washington Post or New York Times possessed this trove they would likely suppress it. In the old-line establishment media, the truth of a story matters less than whether the facts might validate President Trump. Recall that he called his opponent “Crooked Hillary.”
The 2016 loser travels the world talking about the places in America she “won” but the establishment media hangs on the loser’s every word. The establishment media take seriously the absurd tale that Trump, the 2016 winner, colluded with Russia to steal the election from Hillary, and that James Comey and Robert Mueller are men of great integrity.
For all but the willfully blind, the coordinated editorial campaign has been in place all along, with far more than 100 members. Witness the New York Times, where the erudite William Safire once held forth, hiring a bigot like Sarah Jeong. This bottom-feeder has no record of thoughtful essays, articles or books but for the Times her racist tweets are enough.
The coordinated media campaign ignores the reality that the greatest threat to press freedom comes from Muslim jihadists, who murder journalists for publishing cartoons and hand out death sentences on authors such as Salman Rushdie. Likewise, the far-left thugs now busting up campuses are not big fans of the First Amendment.
Despite the claims of Marjorie Pritchard, the coordinated campaign does confirm that the establishment media is the attack arm of the Democratic Party. The media barrage started during Trump’s days as a candidate, escalated sharply after his 2016 win, and is now surging as never before. Yet, the president’s approval rating continues to rise.
A full 52 percent approve his handling of the economy, 43 percent on immigration, 41 on foreign policy and 41 percent on trade for an overall rating of 45 percent. So look for the president to keep hammering the media. As the coordinated editorial campaign confirms, what some persist in calling the “mainstream media” is really a fathomless sinkhole of fake news.
Photo: Tony Fischer