Mark Hillman’s Capitol Review: media talking heads, get over yourselves

PROMO 660 x 440 Government - Colorado Capitol - iStock
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2018
PICT Politician - Mark Hillman
by Mark Hillman

If anyone in America has a bigger ego than President Trump, it's surely someone in the media.

Maybe it's CNN's Jim Acosta, but he certainly gets a run for his money from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and the editorial boards of the Washington Post and New York Times.

A foreign correspondent once described the White House press corps as "the most arrogant, obnoxious group of people," calling them "opportunistic, rude, really self-centered."  And that was during the Obama administration when they were comparatively well-behaved.

Today, many in the establishment media - especially those near the Washington, D.C., Beltway, have forsaken any pretense of reporting and dedicated themselves to propagating the "resistance" against Trump.

Take Acosta, whose latest kerfuffle with Trump perfectly illustrates why so many Americans - despite being exasperated by the President's petulance - increasingly distrust the media.

Acosta instigated his latest showdown by announcing his intent "to challenge" Trump on certain statements about immigration.  He asked three questions and Trump directly answered them.  Then other reporters raised their hands and Trump attempted to take their questions.  However, Acosta kept talking and refused to yield the floor so other reporters could have their turn.

Rather than report the news, Acosta seeks to become the news.

Neither Acosta nor his colleagues treated President Obama so belligerently.  That's not because Obama was truthful (he wasn't) or because he treated the press with respect (he didn't).

Obama and his administration routinely lied to and deceived the press:

  • Claiming that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was inspired by an obscure internet video.
  • Withholding details of negotiations surrounding Iran nuclear agreement.
  • Denying that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was conducting official business using a private email server, vulnerable to cyberattacks by international spies, in order to thwart government transparency.
  • Denying that the IRS had specifically targeted conservative activist groups to diminish their ability to organize for the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Obama's administration seized the personal phone records of at least 20 Associated Press reporters, an act the president of AP said "shock(s) the American conscience and violate(s) the critical freedom of the press."

The Obama administration spent a record $36 million in a single year to stonewall Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the media and other government watchdogs.  AP reported that this same administration set record for obstruction by responding to 77 percent of FOIA requests with records that were heavily redacted or by refusing to provide any information.

The Trump administration has done none of these.  Trump simply accuses the press of reporting "fake news."  Often he is correct.  And the press feigns indignation.

Yet, the media never turned on Obama the way they routinely attack Trump.   That's obviously because most reporters liked Obama and agreed with his policies.  They don't like Trump, don't agree with his policies, and find his demeanor insufficiently "presidential."

Reporters are entitled to those opinions, but as they increasingly allow their prejudice to guide their reporting, any pretense of objectivity is stripped away.

CNN claims that Acosta has a constitutional right to question the president and was denied "due process."  That's laughable.

Only 49 reporters are seated for a White House press conference.  Fewer still are able to ask questions.  Just as any president can choose which reporters can ask questions, the White House can choose which reporters will receive credentials.

Many news outlets now seemly wholly devoted to overturning Trump's election through exaggeration and hysteria.  Americans who voted for Trump - and even some who did not - resent this political activism masquerading as reporting.

And while most know that Trump's narcissistic demeanor is divisive, even more Americans blame the media for relentlessly cultivating division and discord.

Mark Hillman served as State Treasurer and Senate Majority Leader.  To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.