The media got to celebrate itself, as the media loves to do, at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but this past week was the kind of nightmare journalists have been having since Nov. 8, 2016. The president they despise was having a huge week filled with his massive political victories and PR success. Then he got a full dose of “dragon energy” from rap star Kanye West.
Meanwhile, liberal icon Joy Reid was under attack from other liberals for reported homophobic statements made in years past, which she then lamely claimed were part of a hacking plot.
Over at her sister network NBC, famous former anchor and current Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw became the latest #MeToo target when he was accused of sexual misconduct by former NBC journalist Linda Vester.
Brokaw emphatically denied Vester’s claims, writing to NBC colleagues: “I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety as an avatar of male misogyny, taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I had earned in more than a half century of journalism and citizenship.”
In addition, more than 60 women who worked with Brokaw at NBC signed a letter of support backing the 78-year-old, saying that “he has treated each of us with fairness and respect. He has given each of us opportunities for advancement and championed our successes throughout our careers.”
The political events were even more incredible. North and South Korea agreed to a “common goal” of denuclearization. CNN led with “North and South Korea vow to formally end Korean War.” This follows President Trump’s aggressive carrot-and-stick diplomacy with North Korea. Unlike his predecessor, it appears Trump may actually deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.
There was more good news. Mike Pompeo was approved as new secretary of state by a sizable 57-42 vote, despite opposition.
Easy to see why the Daily Caller reported: “Fifty-one percent of Republican voters agree that media outlets are the ‘enemy of the people,’ according to a new poll.”
And President Trump looks primed to win a Supreme Court case on his immigration ban, based on questions posed by the justices. USA Today said the court “shows support” for Trump’s plan.
And President Trump pushed through his new ambassador to Germany – Twitter warrior Richard Grenell – to win Senate confirmation. As The Washington Post put it: “Grenell becomes the most senior openly gay person to join the Trump administration.”
All of the good news overshadowed the withdrawal of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who Washington insiders helped destroy, despite years of service with President Barack Obama as the White House physician.
Then there was the Kanye West storyline, which has quickly become one of the most bizarre narrative changes in the entire Trump presidency. West, who initially tweeted support for an African-American conservative, ended the week trolling Twitter like his friend President Trump. He was even photographed sporting a Make America Great Again hat.
West set the ball rolling with support for Turning Point USA Communications Director Candace Owens. He tweeted: “I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” on April 21. The Internet nearly collapsed under the weight of tweets and think pieces, most of them negative.
The Washington Post ran 29 separate Kanye West stories and opinion pieces in one week, including saying he was an “alt-right darling,” discussing his “bizarre political evolution,” and saying how he “fell for the worst black Republican sales pitch there is.”
The Twitter mob quickly descended on the rapper. Celebrities who unfollowed Kanye read like a Who’s Who of music: Rihanna, Katy Perry, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber all disconnected. Late-night TV hosts piled on and then something else crazy happened.
Chance the Rapper gave Kanye his support.
What followed terrified media types and the left even more. Chance tweeted: “Black people don’t have to be democrats.” Those were like the modern version of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words.” If President Trump’s sudden rapper influx could actually impact voters, it might alter elections for years.
The anti-Kanye West hate fest was fueled by anti-dragon power. The Hollywood Reporter asked: “Did Kanye West Just Kill His Brand?”
The comments from journalists were almost indistinguishable from equally panicked liberals.
In a well-timed piece, liberal New York University Journalism Professor Jay Rosen wrote a story headlined: “Why Trump Is Winning and the Press Is Losing.” The New York Review of Books article was adapted from a Rosen speech and warned: “There is an obvious risk that the press will lose touch with the country.” He concluded: “I think our top journalists are correct that if they become the political opposition to Trump, they will lose.”
This week involved a lot of losing on their part.
2. Will There Be Joy at MSNBC? If you picked liberal MSNBC host Joy Reid in the pool as the next mob target for wrong thought, you are a winner. Reid, on the other hand, not so much.
Back in December, Mediaite reported that Reid’s former blog had included “homophobic conspiracies and anti-gay jokes” from 2007 to 2009. She apologized and said her comments had been “insensitive, tone deaf and dumb.” But she denied a new release of alleged comments and “said she had been the victim of hackers,” according to The New York Times. One comment referred to “chubbed-out shrew Rosie O’Donnell.”
The reaction was strong. LGBT activist group PFLAG rescinded a media award that went to Reid. The Daily Beast suspended her column and The Atlantic called her claims “implausible” and summed up the issue: “The Evidence Is Not With Joy Reid.” MSNBC is keeping her on the air … for now (she opened her Saturday show with an apology while insisting “I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things”). But a Daily Beast investigation into the hacking claims just determined they “failed to withstand scrutiny.”
It was only late March when Essence magazine described Reid’s work at MSNBC as “Black Girl Brilliance.” Oops.
3. A Kiss Is Just A Kiss: The media complain Trump isn’t diplomatic. The leader of long-time American ally France arrives and what do they criticize Trump for? Getting along well with him.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Washington for a state visit and the media freaked out about the “awkward” kiss the two shared. The Guardian called it “an awkward handshake and a kiss.” And The Independent went even farther: “Watch Trump and Macron awkwardly touch each other in series of excruciating exchanges during US visit.”
The media who couldn’t criticize Trump’s willingness to work well with an ally simply became 13-year-olds intent on mockery. Vanity Fair referred to the relationship as “L’AMOUR.” And “bromance” was a common theme.
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace described the visit as “a minefield of bizarre interactions” and added, “I've not seen him touch Melania that many times.”
Late-night comics had a field day. ABC host Jimmy Kimmel joked: “Have you ever seen him touch anyone like that? He gave him the full Stormy Daniels there.”
4. This Is Journalism: It wasn’t just journalists who had a bad week. It was journalism itself. Here are just a few highlights and lowlights.
· “Disgraced CBS News anchor Charlie Rose is being slated to star in a show where he’ll interview other high-profile men who have also been toppled by #MeToo scandals,” reported Page Six.
· Then-ABC reporter Lisa Howard went all the way to build a relationship with the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Literally. Politico revealed: “An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro.” Given journalism’s love for left-wing dictators, it’s surprising she’s the only one.
· Former CBS anchor Katie Couric’s career is on the downslide. She interviewed a sex robot for ABC’s “Nightline.” The robot’s take? “I also love making love to you.” Yes, this is news.
· Numerous media outlets were taken in by a fictional character. The Washington Post, Fortune and CNBC.com all cited a fictional student loan expert created by a student loan refinancing company.
· Media outlets completely misread a new Lancet alcohol study, downplaying the positive effects of moderate drinking. In reality, the media-hyped study moved the results of teetotalers into the appendix, confusing journalists.
· The New York Times had to correct claims that Facebook has "been flooded with far-right conspiracy programming." The Times falsely stated that Palestinians didn’t pay $400 million in pensions to the families of terrorists. Yeah, they do.
Easy to see why the Daily Caller reported: “Fifty-one percent of Republican voters agree that media outlets are the ‘enemy of the people,’ according to a new poll.” However, among all voters only 22 percent say the media is the “enemy of the people” the poll by Quinnipiac University found.