Supporters of President Trump have initiated an effort to expose individual members of the press for inappropriate slurs and acts by them in years past. Some of these Trump supporters believe that a war is underway between the president and the press, and what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Is it fair that every statement made by the president going back decades can and has been used as fodder to discredit him, while some people accusing the president are guilty of similar racial, misogynistic and otherwise bigoted missteps? Should members of the press be immune from criticism and consequence? Should journalists be sheltered because the press as a group is protected by the Constitution? Are journalists above the law and generally accepted rules of society?
Note: This essay was inspired by a NY Times story titled “Trump’s Allies Scour Internet to Punish Press.”
The blowback by conservatives is clearly a vindictive response to unfair treatment of Trump and his allies; you know “fake news” and all that stuff. The Internet has been a treasure trove for journalists critical of Trump and his sycophants. When dirt is uncovered the Times, CNN, MSNBC, the major TV networks and late night TV are quick to air it. Now their opponents are looking for dirt online.
Just because the press is protected (and for good reason), does not mean reporters and commentators should forgiven for past deeds and inappropriate comments. All is fair game. Journalists and any one else are vulnerable for their history. Justice Brett Kavanaugh was lambasted for immature activities several decades earlier, so a racial slur by a respected journalist should not go unpunished or unmentioned regardless of the inevitable responses by their employers and friends. This is the new paradigm.
Some of those caught with their pants down, so to speak, are asking how a boyhood prank or comment in the locker room could result in losing their jobs. Well the Internet does not discriminate. If you post something untoward, it may bite you in the rear decades later, even if you are a journalist, corporate titan or a politician. But the hypocrisy of those who think they can criticize and be excused for the same indiscretions is laughable, and over. The Constitution will not save anyone hereafter.
Having said all this, the state of affairs existing between the liberal press and conservatives is shameful. Journalist traditions are being ignored every day by over zealous reporters who would do anything for a scoop and, more important, an opportunity to take down Trump. The things being written and said are too often not vetted, cruel, twisted and unfit for print. Moreover journalists frequently encourage sources to “talk” even if it is unethical or illegal to do so. Sources take all the risks while journalists hide behind the skirt of the Constitution. Newspapers are no longer sources of unbiased reporting. Most are bastions of one-sided commentary.
Trump says he has nothing to do with these gossip trolls that are exposing liberal members of the press. But, you can be sure that he loves their intentions.
The unseemly war between the administration and the press is taking this country to a new low. Both sides are responsible, and there is no end to it in sight.