February 3, 2017

REPORTERS UNEARTH ANCIENT DOCUMENT: With Trump, Media Strike a Pose as Sticklers for the Constitution. Tom Kuntz at Real Clear Investigations:

When Barack Obama was president, most members of the media apparently believed in a fluid interpretation of the Constitution. Constitutional sticklers were dismissed as dinosaurs or worse—especially if they identified themselves with the Tea Party movement. Except for Glenn Greenwald and the occasional lonely voice or two, the ladies and gentlemen of the press raised barely a peep about the administration’s drone killings, even of U.S. citizens. Executive-branch rewrites of health, immigration and environmental law were met with a collective yawn in the Fourth Estate.

That attitude certainly changed quickly. Donald Trump has turned the mainstream media into strict constructionists, or so they would have us believe. The Constitution they sternly invoke against the new president’s moves is now one carved in granite with words bearing unimpeachably plain meaning in their favor.

This is happening even as Trump – whom they routinely cast as a Constitution-destroying authoritarian – puts forth a Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who is notably skeptical of expanding presidential power and by most accounts really thinks the document ought to mean what it says.

The media’s new enthusiasm does not require a lot of close reading.  Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who lost a son in the Iraq War, waved the Constitution at the Democratic convention last summer and invited Trump to read the text, evidently hoping that the mogul would find immigration wisdom within.

I don’t know if Trump ever took him up on the offer, but I did. I didn’t see the words “foreigner” or “non-citizen” or “immigrant” or “refugee” anywhere in the document, nor mention of any right to enter the country.

It may be that policy or legislation or court precedents have created or divined such rights, but those are not what Khan waved at the podium. And, more to my point, that’s not something the media have bothered to explain in their copious sympathetic coverage of Khan – whose law practice includes securing visas for immigrants — and others who pummel Trump as a constitutional transgressor.

If it weren’t for double standards . . . .

 

 

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