Let’s be very, very clear: As superficially satisfying as many of us on the right may find it, President-elect Trump’s treatment of the CNN reporter at his press conference today wasn’t appropriate. CNN didn’t exactly sneak into the press conference, and many Americans still use it as a source for information. Trump’s style may differ, but there are ways for a president to express disapproval without excluding journalists and, in turn, their audiences.
That said, Trump is less likely to receive push-back from his political allies than he should be for two reasons. First, the double standard of the mainstream media leaves its practitioners deserving of ire. Here’s a fresh example: After weeks of hearing how unconscionable it was of Russia to use hacking and other methods to manipulate the American public, Politico reports:
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
If these efforts had worked out and Clinton had been elected, would she be the subject of as much aspersion as Trump has been with respect to Russia? Not a chance. That fact leaves conservatives who aren’t comfortable with Trump’s style, views, or policies less likely to echo a media that we find so incredibly un-credible.
But that’s only the first-level problem. The deeper hindrance is that the mainstream media aided, rather than checked, President Obama when his administration suppressed the Tea Party. Consequently, we’ve less leverage on our side. As Glenn Reynolds often writes, the government and media crushed the polite Tea Party; welcome to the impolite consequence.