The Media's Cry-Wolf Problem

As I once joked on my podcast:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer complained to a colleague, “During Hurricane Katrina, I said boy oh boy, George W. Bush is to blame for that. When Democrats destroyed the economy, I said boy oh boy, George W. Bush is to blame for that. Now when I say, boy oh boy, Donald Trump is a bad guy…  everyone just thinks I’m the Wolf who cried boy.”


Now the inimitable Jonah Goldberg backs the joke up with facts in a telling NRO piece entitled “How the Media’s History of Smearing Republicans Now Helps Trump:”

Every election cycle, the GOP nominee is smeared as a racist by the Democrats or the press — or both. Representative John Lewis of Georgia trades in a bit more of his hard-earned moral authority each time he insinuates that the GOP nominee is like George Wallace or wants to bring back Jim Crow, and political columnists relinquish a bit more of their claim to objectivity each time they let his comments pass without condemnation or criticism. George W. Bush revived for the Left the paranoid style in American politics, and if you google “John McCain, racist, 2008” you’ll see he was lazily demonized too. In 2012, pundits said Paul Ryan wanted to throw old ladies over cliffs because he wanted to reform Social Security. When Mitt Romney spoke to the NAACP, the response from many in the media was, per usual, “Racist!” (It’s ironic that many of the notable Republicans rebuking Trump this year are the ones pundits were only too happy to paint as racist not long ago.)

I have no doubt many journalists would defend their smears and professional failures, but that doesn’t change the fact that many Americans outside the mainstream media/Democratic bubble find it all indefensible. More important, they find it all ignorable — because the race card and the demagogue card have been played and replayed so often they’re little more than scraps of lint. Already, editorial boards are preparing their indictments of what they believe to be Donald Trump’s incompetence, bigotry, and authoritarianism. Trump operatives will undoubtedly respond: “That’s what they always say about Republicans.” And they’ll be right.


Read the rest here.


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