Even though Donald Trump won the presidential election, thereby causing “pessimism about the liberal project,” Barack Obama is winning the post-election, and Obama’s “vision of the country…will ultimately win out,” asserted New York’s Jonathan Chait last Sunday. According to Chait, the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration and last weekend’s protests over his executive order on immigration “have drawn on powerful American ideals: inclusion, social mobility, and optimism. Obamaism may have lost control of the levers of government, but it has never lost the country.”
“The most important development of the last half-century in American politics,” believes New York magazine’s Chait, is “the Republican Party’s embrace of movement conservative ideology.” In a Thursday post, Chait cited six books, none of which was written by a conservative, that “help elucidate” this phenomenon. Among Chait’s choices: E.J. Dionne’s Why the Right Went Wrong; Richard Hofstadter’s Social Darwinism in American Thought (“scathingly dispatches a powerful right-wing idea that was destined to endure: the notion that the free market is a perfectly just mechanism for rewarding value and punishing failure”); and Paul Krugman’s Peddling Prosperity (“a powerful critique of supply-side economics…which Krugman aptly dispatches as simply crankery lacking any grounding in serious economic theory”).
Some liberals were disappointed by the result of the presidential election. Others were devastated. Former Fox News Watch panelist Gabler is in the latter group. “The anguish of Nov. 8 has not subsided,” wrote Gabler in a piece that appeared last Thursday on Salon and originally ran at BillMoyers.com. “We think of the election almost as a kind of death -- the death of the America we thought we knew or the death of a democracy we thought impervious -- and ever since, we have been cycling through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’[s] stages of grief…Many of us cannot rouse ourselves to rail at the system or the voters or God. It’s as if anger is an insufficient response.”
When Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015, the savants in the news media weren’t just skeptical — they were openly disdainful of the man who will be sworn in as America’s 45th President at noon tomorrow. Reporters sniffed that Trump’s campaign was a “carnival show” which threatened to turn the GOP primary race into “a joke.” CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called Trump a “fool,” NBC’s Chuck Todd blasted him as “a political streaker,” and pundit after pundit insisted the real estate mogul had no chance of winning.
Millions of Americans will celebrate Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, but the vast majority of journalists probably won’t be among them — and it’s not their scrupulous “objectivity,” or a unique aversion to Trump’s personal style, that keeps them from joining the party. Reviewing the media’s inauguration coverage since 1989 finds that incoming Republican presidents receive little of the worshipful coverage that’s accompanied the ascension of Democratic presidents. Instead, journalists measure new presidents using their standard liberal yardstick.
Next Tuesday, three days before the current POTUS becomes an ex-POTUS, Jonathan Chait’s Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail will be published. On Tuesday, New York magazine, where Chait is the chief political pundit, ran an excerpt from the book in which he claimed, “The truth is that Obama enacted careful, deep, and mostly popular solutions to a broad array of problems to which his opponents have no workable response.”
In the mid-1990s, when the great Norm Macdonald was kicking off his “Weekend Update” segments of Saturday Night Live with, “And now, the fake news,” pretty much everyone knew what he meant. These days, however, disputes over definitions of “fake news” seem as common as fake news itself. It may be that the lefty writer angriest about fake news is media critic and political blogger Allison Hantschel, who in a Tuesday post at First Draft blamed the problem on both conservative media (for undermining the mainstream media) and the MSM (for not vigorously defending itself until it was too late).
The Hamilton electors, whatever their number, are being cheered on by Hamilton bloggers, one of whom is Esquire’s Pierce. In a Saturday post, Pierce argued that in the country the Founding Fathers envisioned, the Electoral College would vote down a Donald Trump presidency. Pierce wrote, “Let us assume for a moment that our constitutional institutions are as strong and functional as they are supposed to be, and let's assume for a moment that we, as a self-governing people, are as strong and as functional as we need to be. What would happen next is that the Electoral College would function as it was designed to function and as its function was explained by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68…The electors would look at the accumulated evidence and deny the president-elect his mandate.”
With all the headlines about “fake news,” the liberal media elite don’t have a perfect track record, either. Reporter Jayson Blair concocted stories for the New York Times back in 2003, while Stephen Glass fabricated numerous pieces for The New Republic in the late 1990s. The most notorious scam of this sort was the 1980 front-page Washington Post article by reporter Janet Cooke headlined “Jimmy’s World: 8-Year-Old Heroin Addict Lives for a Fix.”
Next month, Donald Trump will become president, just as he would have if he’d defeated Hillary Clinton in a landslide of Nixon-McGovern proportions. Nonetheless, Trump’s loss of the popular vote remains a liberal talking point, and a taunting point for Jesse Berney. “Trump lost the vote for president by well over two-and-a-half million votes and counting, and it's driving him out of his mind,” wrote Berney in a Friday piece, adding that “the majority [of voters] rejected a near-sociopathic celebration of ignorance and the least qualified person ever to become a major party's nominee for president.”
In her 2003 book, Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First, conservative writer Mona Charen offered an excellent juxtaposition of the horrors of the island prison Fidel Castro established with the fawning treatment he received from American journalists. Written after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of the archives of the once totalitarian Eastern Bloc, Charen’s book establishes the foolish and naive thinking that Western liberals — including many journalists — employed in their attempt to sugarcoat the realities of communism, including in Cuba.
When Donald Trump is POTUS, he’s likely to get deferential, even helpful, media coverage, predicted Atrios on Monday. After all, he explained, that’s been the pattern for Republican presidents since the 1980s. When Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Atrios alleged, “members of the press knew that [he] had some form of dementia, that he was not actually fit to run the country, and they covered it up because the feefees of America would be hurt because Reagan was the most popular president in the history of the universe. Of course he wasn't the most popular president by any reasonable measure, but the press loved him so America loved him and they added 10 extra points to his popularity rating in their minds. They did that for [George W. Bush], also, too.”