Column: ABC Drama 'Alaska Daily' Recycles Jim Acosta Rage at Media Critics

March 8th, 2023 6:00 AM

Two of the most arrogant groups in America are the “news” media and the entertainment media. When Hollywood glorifies the liberal media, they can’t just celebrate journalists, they demonize anyone who would dare to criticize them as dangerously anti-democratic.

ABC’s journalism drama Alaska Daily sounded like a pompous 2017 Jim Acosta commentary about how Republicans attacking “fake news” were endangering lives. The show’s central hero, newspaper reporter Eileen Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), is taken hostage one night in the newsroom.

The hostage-taker is an unemployed oil worker who spouts angry conservative rhetoric about Alaska being ruined by the “woke mob.” He’s shown listening to a talk radio host saying the media are quick to label someone “fascist, racist, or homophobic” if they disagree with them. He’s encouraged by a local right-winger who messages him, “Take action, Oilman223. Reporters like Eileen Fitzgerald are a spreading cancerous sore that requires excising."

When confronted that the oilman took his “cancerous sore” talk literally, he tried to say he was speaking metaphorically. ABC’s stick-figures point here is that media criticism leads wackos to violent crime.

After the reporter tries reasoning with her assailant through most of the hour, as he makes her write an insincere “confession” that her news is full of lies, the police snipers get a clear shot and shoot him in the head. What follows is an Acosta-like dialogue to beat the viewers over the head with a message.

Eileen recounts her abduction and how the man “threatened to end my life because he didn’t like the way I did my job. I was shocked, of course, but sadly. I was not surprised. Several months ago, a well-respected investigative reporter was stabbed to death outside his Las Vegas home by a corrupt politician he exposed.”

ABC didn’t note that in real life, reporter Jeff German was murdered by a Democrat. This show was an attack on Republicans.

The lecture continued: “Physical attacks on members of the press have risen dramatically in recent years. One only need to turn on the TV to understand why. It’s become fashionable for people in power, right up to those in the White House, to delegitimize print journalists by calling what we write fake news, and designating reporters as enemies of the people.”

This is clearly directed at Trump, Fox, Newsmax and other “MAGA” channels. ABC here is demonizing conservatives as enemies of the people who threaten reporters based on fake news from the far right.

For them, there’s no differentiating between a toxic enterprise like InfoWars and conservative media sites like NewsBusters or the Daily Wire or the Washington Free Beacon. Eileen the reporter just says, “There are armies of talking heads and bloggers in the mainstream and on the fringe, echoing that message, not just demonizing reporters, but dehumanizing them, too.” Apparently, you can’t suggest CNN acts like a vicious attack dog toward Republicans, and like glossy-eyed puppies with Democrats. That’s “demonizing and dehumanizing.”

Then comes the inevitable “liberal media equals democracy” spin. “These attacks put a bullseye on our backs, and if we don’t stand up against this as a society, and reminds our harshest critics that liberty depends on a fair and free press, the bullseye will end up on the back of democracy itself.”

Arrogant “progressives” never acknowledge that conservative media criticism is part of democracy, that media criticism shouldn’t be reflexively shamed or suppressed in a nation that reveres freedom of speech. The First Amendment is for everyone, not just self-appointed saviors of society. You can’t call conservative journalism the fake news and then insist you’re not engaged in what you’re condemning.