Fourth Estate? Forget about it. Joe Lockhart wants to make the media the First Estate, with the right to rule on the veracity of presidential statements before the peons are permitted to hear them.
On this morning's New Day, Lockhart, a CNN political commentator and former spokesman for President Clinton, recommended that the networks not provide live coverage this evening of President Trump's Oval Office address about the situation at the border. Instead, Lockhart said Trump should give the networks the text in advance, "and let us decide in advance what's true."
This is the first time that President Trump has requested a few minutes of air time for an Oval Office address. It comes during a partial government shutdown that the liberal media itself portray as a crisis. Yet Lockhart proposes that the MSM should deny the President the opportunity to speak directly to the American people. Instead, he wants to empower the commissars of CNN to serve as the arbiters of truth. Talk about threats to democracy!
To his credit, co-host John Berman immediately countered Lockhart, saying: "to be clear, there's no precedent for that. There's no precedent for the networks getting the presidential text beforehand and then deciding whether it's true or not."
Berman has of late been showing signs of independence from the CNN party line. For example, whereas many in the liberal media shrugged off Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib calling President Trump a "mother----er," our Curtis Houck noted that Berman: "repeatedly wondered about what the outrage would be like if a hypothetical freshman Republican member of Congress had said the same thing during the Barack Obama presidency."
1/8/19 6:03 am ET
JOE LOCKHART: So you have a national emergency based on fiction, and that's the problem for putting this on the air. There are real issues about -- and I think the networks, I hope, struggled yesterday with the decision to put this on. Because he consistently hasn't told the truth. And someone's got to fact-check that. If I were a network executive, which I'm not, I wouldn't put this on live. I would let him give the address and I'd look at it and find out, what's true, what's not. Or I'd say: give me the text in advance. Let us decide in advance what's true, what's not. Because we shouldn't be using our public airwaves for someone to spew more of these lies.