Washington Post: Say, We Should Treat Trump With Professionalism, Not Partisanship

Washington Post: Say, We Should Treat Trump With Professionalism, Not Partisanship

Sore Losers

Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post editorial page editor, has an idea, but, that boat has already sailed, and may not ever make it back to port

Trump considers the media his enemy. We shouldn’t treat him as ours.
Our answer must be professionalism, not partisanship.

It is not unprecedented for a White House to view the media as the enemy — the “opposition party,” as presidential adviser Stephen K. Bannon labeled us last week.

But it is vital that we not become that party.

Hiatt goes on to mention that people (meaning other Democrats and media folks) were saying that the media needed to fight back, stop covering his tweets, label everything Trump says a lie, stop interviewing him, don’t be part of the “propaganda.”

The answer to dishonest or partisan journalism cannot be more partisan journalism, which would only harm our credibility and make civil discourse even less possible. The response to administration insults cannot be to remake ourselves in the mold of their accusations.

Our answer must be professionalism: to do our jobs according to the highest standards, as always.

Really, they’re decades too late for that. You could charitably go back to the broadcast where Walter Cronkite said the Vietnam War was lost. Certainly, the media was pretty partisan during the Reagan administration. For the more modern era, we could look at when the media sat on revelations about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. We saw how they treated George W. Bush, and then became lapdogs for the Obama administration. We know that, had Hillary been a Republican, the media coverage would have been much, much different. There would have be constant articles about the relevant laws, and calls for a special prosecutor.

Can the Credentialed Media even see professionalism without the Hubble telescope anymore? Sure, there are some who are good. Jake Tapper and Mark Knoller come to mind, along with Jamie Dupree. Most act more as Democratic Party activists than professional journalists, and we must remember the constant freakouts from the opinion pages, which were mostly quiet during the Obama years.

We on The Post’s editorial page spent the better part of the past two years warning the country not to elect Donald Trump. We said he was unfit by temperament and experience, misguided on many issues and a potential danger to democratic norms.

Now we find ourselves in the unusual position of hoping to be proved wrong.

In other words, they spent the last two years in perpetual freakout, and Hiatt is excusing this behavior. He only wants the news side to be professional.

I am not complacent. There is nothing normal or healthy about a White House counselor telling the media it should “keep its mouth shut” for a while, nor about a president obsessing over his ratings, taunting those he calls his “enemies” and branding journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” Such attitudes should be frightening to all Americans, not just those of us who work in the business.

Aaaaaand Hiatt has his own hissy fit.

Now, look, I’m personally still leery of Trump. I’m willing to give him time to see what he will do. But, as I keep arguing on Twitter and in comments at other sites, if you think Trump is winging it, if you think he doesn’t know what he’s doing, if you’re, to use a George Bush word, missunderestimating him, then you’ve already lost. We saw this during the primaries, the general election, and since Trump won. You can bet that Trump, as a long time businessman, has action plans out the wazoo. You know the old saying about the Pentagon having plans to attack Canada? You can bet that Trump has deep plans.

And one of the action plans is probably entitled “How To F*ck With The Media.” When Trumpites said that “the media was on the ballot”, I argued that they weren’t, that Trump needed to focus more on Hillary and Democrats. I was wrong.

We all know that the Media Industrial Complex treats Republicans different from Democrats. We all knew that they would treat Trump in a certain way. Most of us on the Right have been calling for elected Republicans and their people to fight back against the news media and the Democrats. They rarely did. Under Bush 43, they decided not to discuss the constant personal attacks, and, forgot to defend their own policies.

Well, under Trump, he’s set the tone to be combative. He and his people are free to attack back. There are times that they might go too far, but, what they end up doing is making the media look ultra-partisan. The media brings up the inauguration attendance in an attempt to weaken Trump. Team Trump fights back. Then the media starts whining about this issue, which they created, and wonders why we’re still talking about it (as they continue talking about it.)

As Glenn Reynolds noted, he’s playing them. He’s gaslighting them. GOP figures are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. So, rather than be cowed, they should fight back. Trump is fighting back. He has the Credentialed Media spinning in circles, acting like ankle biters.

As far as what Fred Hiatt wants, it won’t happen. Partisanship and activism is too embedded in the Credentialed Media, especially those in positions of power.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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