Press again bashes Ivanka, who privately lobbied to change family separation policy

It was probably inevitable that the media would eventually make the family separation furor about Ivanka Trump.

That has become the go-to move, especially for female pundits on the left, when the president is embroiled in controversy over a hot-button social controversy.

The question immediately echoes: Why isn't Ivanka doing something about it?

CNN ran a column called "Ivanka's Deafening Silence."

"Ivanka Trump, Children's Advocate, Has Nothing to Say About Family Separation," blared the liberal site Vox.

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski led the charge, denouncing the president's daughter for her apparent inaction. "You have to ask why Ivanka Trump is so tone-deaf to post a picture about her special day yesterday with her daughter," the "Morning Joe" co-host said, and writing on social media: "I wish you would speak for all mothers and take a stand for all mothers and children."

But here's the thing: Behind the scenes, Ivanka was pressing her dad to do something.

She obviously decided that private persuasion, rather than outraged virtue signaling on Twitter, had a better chance of accomplishing something.

According to various news reports, the president said Ivanka had brought him pictures of young children who had been separated at the border from their families and pressed him to change the policy. Trump himself, in describing this at a private meeting with House Republicans, said he replied that it was a "tough issue."

Ivanka volunteered to work the Hill on his behalf, and spoke to such lawmakers as Kevin McCarthy and Susan Collins.

She may well have had an impact. When the president signed an executive order yesterday to end the family separation policy—precisely what he insisted for days that he lacked the power to do—Ivanka's advocacy must have played a role. Of course, the thundering condemnation from the media, outspoken criticism from some Republicans and religious leaders, and a tweet from Melania may also have been factors in Trump recognizing he had a political calamity on his hands.

But that's not good enough for Ivanka's critics. They want her to publicly denounce her father's positions, and perhaps resign as a White House senior adviser.

The career businesswoman became desensitized to personal attacks within a couple of months of arriving in Washington with her husband Jared Kushner, also a frequent press target. They are fair game for criticism as top White House officials. But as a woman who had seemed to be socially moderate, Ivanka draws a particular brand of vitriol.

She does not view it as her role to be challenging her father's stance on every position he espoused during the campaign. Even when she doesn't know about a presidential move in advance, such as the ban on transgender people serving in the military, Ivanka gets scuffed up by the pundits.

As an advocate for women and children, of course the "zero tolerance" policy that separated crying children from their parents is in her wheelhouse. And it was that controversy that prompted Samantha Bee to call her the C-word and follow that with an incest joke. (The comedian later apologized for the crude epithet.)

And the triggering offense? Ivanka had the temerity to post a picture of herself with her young son on Instagram, prompting charges that she was tone-deaf.

Now that we know that Ivanka Trump played a behind-the-scenes role in trying to overturn the policy that millions of Americans viewed as a moral outrage, will people in the press give her credit?

It didn't take long to find out. When Ivanka yesterday tweeted her thanks to her father "for taking critical action ending family separation at our border," Mika Brzezinski fired back: "This is not honest and shameful."

And HuffPost delighted in running a bunch of nasty reactions on Twitter, from seemingly random people.

One woman griped: "Oh Ivanka, you are just as despicable as the rest of this admin."

That was her thanks.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author "Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press and the War Over the Truth." Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.