Journalists and pundits claim they to want to tamp down national anger. Then they turn around and push the most dangerous rhetoric I’ve seen in my lifetime – the absurd claim that President Trump is mentally unstable.
Claims about alleged Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign haven’t succeeded at unseating President Trump, though that was the intention of many journalists.
So the news media used the events in Charlottesville to move on – to racism, blaming President Trump for every real or perceived racial slight in the nation. Essentially, a complete reversal from how they treated President Obama.
Remember, President Obama was a “uniter,” we were told. That meant the racial strife in America’s cities wasn’t blamed on him. Riots in Baltimore and Ferguson weren’t blamed on him. The failure of leaders in many of America’s cities wasn’t blamed on him, even though most of those cities were run by Obama’s own political party – the Democrats.
Baltimore is less than half the distance to Washington that Charlottesville is, and yet the media avoided connecting Baltimore’s problems to Obama in any way.
Now, Trump gets blamed for every bit of racism in America 2017. And that still isn’t enough.
The news media are promoting a far more dangerous assault. This is the centerpiece of the campaign to oust the president. This isn’t resistance. That’s old-fashioned. Now, we have a small group of politicians and media types pushing a claim that Trump needs to go because he suffers from mental illness.
Two senators helped set this nonsense in motion with an “accidental” hot mic moment. Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island both called President Trump crazy back in July.
Former national intelligence director James Clapper, who most people couldn’t pick out of a line-up, has been furthering this claim as well. He questioned President Trump’s “fitness to be in this office,” and “the access to the nuclear codes” during a CNN appearance.
CNN hyped that nuclear fear, even tweeting out an image of the nuclear football with the caption: “240 seconds: That’s how long it could take for President Trump to launch a nuclear attack.” Roughly the same time it would have taken President Obama, I imagine, but CNN wasn’t at war with him.
Journalists have taken the allegations about the president’s mental health and done everything but turned the CNN set into a giant shrink’s couch. “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter embraced the topic like he was playing the role of “The President’s Analyst.” (The movie version was far better.)
Here’s just a tiny bit of Stelter’s unhinged concern trolling about journalists’ conversations that are being had “usually after the microphones are off.”
“Questions that often feel out of bounds, off limits, too hot for TV. Questions like these: Is the president of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? And if he's unfit, then what?” Stelter asked. I guess they weren’t too hot for TV, unless CNN is embracing global warming.
Here’s the truth: This is CNN’s revenge on the president who keeps attacking the news channel. Trump criticizes CNN for becoming a national embarrassment to journalism. CNN responds, claiming he’s undermining democracy.
But in fact, CNN’s response does more to undermine democracy than all of President Trump’s media criticism. Because the answer CNN wants everyone to reach is that the president is unfit and must be removed. This is Stelter battling coworkers Jim Acosta and Don Lemon for the mantle of The Most Irresponsible Journalist in America.
It’s quite the battle.
Lemon, chimed in during another program, repeating the allegation, calling Trump “unhinged” and a person who had “no sanity there.” In yet another appearance, he was joined by Republican political consultant and wild anti-Trumper Rick Wilson, who launched into the theme of the week.
“This is a man who is not qualified or mentally or morally fit to be the president of the United States and tonight was one more proof of it,” Wilson sputtered. Lemon flooded the zone with anti-Trump pundits.
This is a good time to recall that Lemon actually wondered whether a black hole had swallowed the missing Malaysian jetliner. And then he was pulled from a New Year’s Eve broadcast for drinking too much and getting his ear pierced. So, he’s hardly the poster child for mental stability.
It wasn’t just CNN. MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch climbed on his soapbox to explain in detail why he thinks Trump is a “sociopath.”
“And it’s interesting so many of the traits of a sociopath that this man is displaying,” Deutsch concluded. Even Trump hater Joe Scarborough rejected Deutsch’s “pop psychiatry” in a later appearance.
USA Today led its front page Thursday with nearly 1,900 words under the headline: “Talk of Trump’s Mental Health Spreads.” The online version insisted that the “debate over Trump’s mental health takes off.”
There’s more. Enough that it’s easy to think journalists coordinate far more than just deploy groupthink. And that’s a good place to move to the rest of this week’s worst:
2) Forget Trump, ESPN Goes Insane: The South isn’t rising again any time soon, but pretend sports network ESPN sure seems to think so. The network removed an announcer from covering a game at the University of Virginia simply because he had the same name as Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The Asian-American Robert Lee was shoved aside because ESPN no longer responds to lefty agitators. It anticipates their every concern. ESPN and its President John Skipper released a series of contradictory statements.
On one hand: “There was never any concern – by anyone, at any level – that Robert Lee’s name would offend anyone watching the Charlottesville game.” On the other, Skipper and ESPN were concerned that Lee’s role (the non-General Lee) would “expose him to social hectoring and trolling.”
Skipper cut his teeth at Rolling Stone for eight years and then moved to its similar competitor, Spin magazine. He brought that left-wing mindset to sports. Now, it’s all Colin Kaepernick all the time. Even The Washington Post called Skipper “a gangly, Southern hippie.”
And that hippie’s network screwed up big time recently, offending the very alt-lefties Skipper loves. ESPN ran a fantasy football auction draft. Liberals compared it to a “slave auction” and ESPN apologized. It’s obvious Skipper didn’t want to rumble with social justice warriors twice in a short period of time.
For all that, I love a few of the remaining announcers at the Extra Stupid Progressive Network, but it’s painful to watch a once-great network collapse into lunacy and incompetence. ESPN network president has become a Mendoza Line job and Skipper is striking out too often to reach it.
3) The Blame Game: The Media vs. Trump Part II: Trump’s scorching speech in Phoenix made journalists more than just hot under the collar.
It was “incitement” to violence, according to ABC. “It really feels like a matter of time frankly before someone gets hurt,” ABC Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega worried.
It’s hard to tell which journalist had the worst reaction. Axios CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei did his best to be competitive. “To family/friends who support Trump: what he said last night about reporters was despicable, extremely deceptive, dangerous…,” he tweeted as the first part of a five-tweet rant. He ended linking Trump to the prospect of violence against journalists: “God forbid one buys Trump's mad rant and takes action… .”
That’s a warning that if anyone attacks a journalist anywhere in America, expect the news media to blame President Trump.
What remains amazing is that so few journalists bother to listen to Trump’s critiques and learn from them. If they did, they might learn something about why conservatives feel targeted by the press, instead of screaming that the sky is falling.
4. Imagine If AMC Did This To Muslims: Entertainment media are careful about how they depict Muslims, especially the Prophet Muhammad. It’s exactly the opposite when it comes to Christianity and Jesus, who Christians consider the son of God. It’s not just a War on Christmas. It’s a War on Christians.
The latest proof comes from this week’s episode of “Preacher,” a deliberately shocking, anti-Christian TV show that thankfully few people watch. The episode included Jesus having a one-night stand. Then he met with the apostles and lied about it.
The pathetic script was like a Dan Brown fever dream, with the star meeting the descendant of Jesus and kneeling before him. However, in the edgy moment, the “messiah” is actually a gibbering idiot who urinates on the preacher. Witty, eh?
Now picture they had treated Muhammad with the same disdain. Remember the deadly, global riots over editorial cartoons depicting the prophet? Imagine if he were portrayed as an idiot who urinates on people.
Now come back to the real world. Hollywood will never mistreat Islam the same way it does Christianity.
Hurray for Hollywood: Lots of other fun stuff out of Tinseltown this week. Actor Alec Baldwin is back portraying President Trump again and revealed in an interview that he has “considered” also running for office. He’s not alone.
Hopefully, someone will get Baldwin and Woodley each a copy of “The Road to Serfdom” before they enter politics. (Only $14.72 paperback on Amazon.)
Showtime’s resurrection of Andrew Dice Clay’s career included a homage to “It’s a Wonderful Life” called “It’s a Miserable Life.” The alternate Dice Clay’s life included a President Hillary Clinton who “may have just brought on world peace.” I’m guessing that Hillary also didn’t faceplant in front of the 9/11 Memorial on Sept. 11, either.
And let’s not forget celebrity feminist Joss Whedon. The “Buffy” and “Avengers” director has made his left-wing politics very public, especially his support of feminism. Time told readers, “If you’re looking for a high-profile, ardently feminist man to direct a movie about a female superhero, you can’t do much better than Whedon.”
According to his estranged wife, Whedon isn’t so feminist. She wrote a long and detailed attack and accused him of many wrongs including “multiple affairs.”
Hypocritical liberals are the real monsters of Hollywood. Not the vampires of “Buffy.”
Fun Factoids: This has been an awful week, no matter what side of politics you land on. So here’s an entertaining peak behind the curtain of journalism.
The Society of Professional Journalists (to which I happily belong) ran a recent cover story called “Training Day” in its magazine The Quill. It depicted a woman running up stairs – you know, training.
That caused a triggering. One journalist wrote a letter to the board, complaining. “What does a woman’s butt have to do with a journalism conference? The answer is, of course, nothing, but that’s not what thousands of SPJ member were led to believe when they looked at the July/August issue of Quill,” she said, as part of a lengthy criticism. It had a telling phrase: “I have a feeling that some of you think I am blowing this out of proportion.” Yep.
The board responded and the writer was still not satisfied. Then the Rio Grande Chapter chimed in, also upset.
Women journalists do some amazing work. I’ve been lucky to know some of the finest. Not one of them would have written this. And I bet most or all would have laughed at it. To paraphrase author George Orwell, all journalists are equal but some journalists are more equal than others.
It’s this victim culture that drives journalism in 2017. If we can’t laugh at it, all we can do is cry.
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.