There’s a lot of finger pointing today as the left is trying to figure out how this happened. Was it because we didn’t pick Bernie? Was it because Millennials stayed home? Should Elizabeth Warren have run?
If the winning Republican had been anyone but Donald Trump, those would be valid questions. But the reality is that none of that matters because the only reason Trump even existed as a candidate was because of the “liberal” mainstream media. We have just witnessed the single greatest failure of American journalism in the history of the country.
From the moment Trump announced his run, the “liberal” press was in love. Not with his politics, but with the ratings and clicks he generated. CBS’ CEO, Les Moonves, summed up this entire election back in February, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,”
That craven abrogation of responsibility was the defining characteristic of Trump’s news coverage. As long as Trump made them money, newsrooms all over the country were all too willing to give him a free pass and all the airtime he could ever want. Some estimates of the free publicity Trump received were as high as two Billion dollars’ worth.
At the same time the press was whoring itself out to Trump, they couldn’t stop themselves from recklessly tearing Clinton apart. From their relentless obsession with the non-story of her emails to the comically bad reporting on her foundation to the bizarre panic over her pneumonia, the “liberal” media was so overt in their need to “end the Clinton dynasty”, as Steve Schmidt put it last night, they might as well have declared Trump the winner two months ago.
The “liberal” press normalized Trump’s racism, misogyny, ignorance, corruption and dishonesty for over a year while abnormalizing Hillary’s run-of-mill screw ups. This was not accidental. This was two basic impulses of the media, chasing ratings and bashing Clinton, that combined to form a toxic vortex that sucked the entire country down into the gutter.
The question now is whether the “liberal” media will roll over and show its belly to Trump or if they’ll ever remember that journalism is not beholden to power. Maybe the shame of what they’ve done will motivate them to be better despite their worst instincts.
The “liberal” media once fell over themselves to sell Bush’s lies to the country and we could be faced with another cowardly surrender. But Trump has been threatening to destroy the media for months and in his arrogance, he may just force the press to do its job the way the Founding Fathers intended.
It’s a slim hope but a real one, nonetheless.