Donald Trump officially took office last Friday, and the members of the media are losing their minds. After the inauguration, mainstream outlets were salivating at the anti-Trump protests and marches. They just couldn’t get enough. Those stories are certainly newsworthy, but that the media obsesses over them is symptomatic of the new, troubling age of political media.
To understand this new age, we need to look at the one before. The free press is one of America’s greatest institutions, and in recent years, the architect of its public opinion. Former President Barack Obama was a press darling who faced the bare minimum of criticism. The cast of Saturday Night Live sang a “thank you” song to Obama in front of his portrait.
Now, their darling has ridden off into the sunset.
Senior Editor of The Federalist Mollie Hemingway argued in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that the media’s credibility suffered at their own hands. She’s absolutely right. By giving the Obama administration a pass on lie after lie, they are unqualified to fairly cover the new administration.
This is a real shame, because it appears we need fair coverage now more than ever.
On Saturday, in an informal press conference, Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that “we’re going to hold the press accountable.” Additionally, President Trump said while visiting the CIA that he was declaring war on “the most dishonest human beings on Earth.” This is pretty rich, especially coming from the guys giving “alternative facts” on crowd sizes at the inauguration.
Sounds a little Pravda-esque, no? We need to dispel the notion that the president should have any say in how he is covered. Just as we have a separation of church and state, we should also have a separation of press and state.
Unfortunately, in an era of fake news, bias, and media activism, we need the free press now more than ever.