No amount of ‘painful road of introspection’ can fix what the media did to this country and to American democracy.
If you have nothing going on and 10 hours to spare, you should still find something to do other than read the tragically long article in the Columbia Journalism Review that bills itself as a reckoning for the appalling misconduct of the news media during the Trump years. It’s too little and about six years too late for that trash.
Mummified legend Bob Woodward is quoted in the piece, authored this week by former New York Times journalist Jeff Gerth, urging newsrooms to “walk down the painful road of introspection.” Gerth himself says “news outlets and watchdogs haven’t been as forthright in examining their own Trump-Russia coverage.” He ticks through a series of prominent writers and editors who “declined to comment” on his exhausting attempt at serious — very, very serious — media accountability.
So what? They did what they did. They continue to do it. They have achieved their goals and shown they’re willing to defend their victories with whatever it takes. But we, the people who called B.S. from the beginning, are supposed to be impressed, grateful even, that someone of prestige is acknowledging that we were right?
Gerth, Woodward, and the rest can go practice having a stroke.
No amount of “painful road of introspection” can fix what the media, conspiring with the Democratic Party and the permanent Washington bureaucracy, did to this country and to American democracy. They beat a terrifying lie — a sitting president as an asset of a foreign adversary — into the public consciousness for more than two years, crippling the political agenda Trump was duly elected to enact and, certainly, aiding in the denial of a second term in office.
But look! Here’s a renowned journalist giving them a stern talking-to!
Nobody cares. It’s over. They won. And they’ve never stopped.
As horrid as the media was pre-Trump, its shortcomings were mostly recognized as “liberal bias.” What they did beginning in 2017 and ever since isn’t bias. It’s dishonest. It’s malicious. It’s evil.
Gerth even has the nerve to offer the media some cover in his piece, faulting Trump, who, as president, “seemed almost to be toying with the press, offering spontaneous answers to questions about Russia that seemed to point to darker narratives.” That’s a convenient explanation for the two years of breathless, unrelenting headlines and cable news graphics declaring that “the walls are closing in,” “the noose is tightening,” and “we’re at a turning point” of the Russia saga. Remember those? That went on for years. Years.
And then, one sleepy Sunday in the spring of 2019, Attorney General William Barr revealed the truth: The Justice Department’s special counsel, with unlimited resources and funding, found no collusion between Trump and Russia.
It was time to give up the ghost. So they did.
Yeah, right. They then claimed that even if there wasn’t technical collusion, there were attempts at collusion. There was never going to be an admission that the country had been conned, manipulated, and had.
Instead, they eventually changed the subject, agitating nationwide rioting over a race conflict that doesn’t exist and instigating mass hysteria over a virus that passed through 99 percent of the population without incident. They did it, all of it, to dispose of Trump and discredit the movement that put a genuine Washington outsider at the highest level of government for the purpose of real, fundamental change. It was a great success.
Let’s eagerly await the “long road of introspection” the corrupt media will take in 2029 when, again, it’s too late to do anything about it.
Eddie Scarry is the D.C. columnist at The Federalist and author of “Liberal Misery: How the Hateful Left Sucks Joy Out of Everything and Everyone.”