The Democrats Lose, Claim They Have No Media Support

Some terrible conclusions will be drawn from the terrible election results for Democrats. One may be the assumption that these bad results reflect a media that’s too hostile to the Democrats.

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post tweeted this lame summary from former Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer: “Republicans have a massive communications advantage … Glenn Youngkin used the right-wing media to communicate his MAGA credentials to the base without offending Independents and Trump-skeptical Republicans.”

Democrats are known for saying crazy things when they lose.

Pfeiffer is saying with a straight face that Republicans have “created a powerful, self-serving media infrastructure,” and apparently the Democrats have nothing resembling a Democrat media.

The night after the election results, I was pleased to be invited to join the Paley Center’s Media Impact panel on Zoom to discuss media coverage of the Biden White House. We began by stating that no politician believes the press is fair. Although this is true, it is largely meaningless. Republicans expect aggressive unfairness. Democrats expect cheerful compliance.

Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist announced that the press under Biden had transformed from “cartoonish hostility to gentle sycophancy.” That’s quite right. I said it changed from “frenzied resistance” to “assistance.” The media has reverted to helper mode. They were dedicated to uncovering the rot under former President Donald Trump. They are dedicated to explaining the plans, as is President Joe Biden.

Sean Spicer, former Trump press secretary, author and Newsmax host, explained with great skill that the media has moved beyond telling stories with facts and into offering their endless opinions and analysis. He said the difference in reporter tone between a Spicer briefing and a Jen Psaki briefing is “embarrassing,” and the difference is “not debatable.” Under Trump, “it was advocating why he was wrong, and under Biden, it was why he was right.”

New York Times opinion editor Patrick Healy bizarrely denied there had been a “reset” in the media’s orientation under Biden. He also denied Biden enjoyed a traditional honeymoon period with media. Instead, there was an increase in aggressive coverage because the Jan.6 riot. There was intense coverage of violent Trump fans and Trump’s election denials, but not of Biden.  But then Healy claimed something I could not abide, that no national media organization today “can really survive … if you’re not telling the story in a good-faith way on people of both sides.”

In reality, the Times and The Washington Post paraded about in the Trump years telling bad-faith stories about Republicans, under pompous slogans such as “The truth is more important than ever” (the Times) and “Democracy dies in darkness” (the Post). I stated that they clearly sought to build an anti Trump subscriber base. I said, “I don’t think anybody believes that The Washington Post and The New York Times are here to represent all of us.”

Healy shot back: “Tim, what do you have against democracy? What are you against truth? I don’t understand you,” and then he smiled. The point he was missing, probably on purpose, was that these slogans announced, “We are democracy and truth. You Republicans are dictatorship and lies!” Humility is not in their marketing plan.

The press was then asked to improve its approach. Conservatives are hesitant about the idea that liberal media would seek to build trust if they were to give equal time and fair treatment to the (evil!) Republicans. They are committed to making the world “a better place” by their lights, and stick to the Lester Holt mantra that “Fairness is overrated.”

The Daily Signal is open to all perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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