I have a confession and an apology, both of which I should make publicly. For the past two years, I have routinely defended the press from President Trump’s ongoing barrage of criticism. Having worked at both CNN and Fox News as well as having friends at scores of media companies, I know the good work and hard work so many reporters do to provide us with the news. We have a President who found a way out of going to Vietnam, and we have reporters who rush into war zones, risking their lives to provide accurate and truthful coverage of dangerous events.
But I must confess I have a harder and harder time resisting the temptation to believe the American political press corps has become the enemy of the people. It seems increasingly that the political press is becoming the enemy of half the country. I try to pull myself back from rooting against the press. I try to pull myself back from thinking they are the enemy. But I fully understand why so many Americans do believe they are the enemy these days.
As I write this, Gannett, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post are all scaling back and going through layoffs. I think we are headed into a recession and I hate to see people lose their jobs. I look on as friends, and conservative pundits act gleefully about people losing their jobs, and my stomach turns. But I fully understand why there are cheers even as I disagree.
The press reaction to the news of Covington High School is one of a long series of stories of reporters dripping with contempt and being quick to come to conclusions about people the press thinks need to be taken down. From the Duke Lacrosse case to the Rolling Stone story about the University of Virginia to this, the media is quick to judge, slow to correct, and rarely accepts blame.
Right now, the post Covington High School media coverage is all about how the press was just trying to keep up. The media is actually blaming Trump supporters. I should say the Washington Post, but it is actually reporters, analysts, and pundits across news networks and newspapers smugly sharing that Washington Post “analysis” in addition to trying to find other snide things to say. They cannot admit they judged a boy by his hat.
There have been supposedly legitimate news stories about whether the boy was smirking at the drummer and what that smirk was supposed to mean. This is not journalism.
NBC News is running a story about a gay Covington high school student who graduated valedictorian, and the school refused to allow him to give his valedictory speech. NBC News put out the story well after the original media pile-on of the students at the March for Life had been debunked. Only a careful reading of the new story would make clear the gay student did not even go to the same high school, and he was denied the ability to give his speech because he did not turn it in on time and violated school rules about political statements.
NBC followed up with a widely circulated opinion piece declaring the mere fact the high school kids wore “Make America Great Again” caps was proof of their racism and contempt for others. Much of the media does believe that these red caps are the new white hoods — a belief shared by many on the left. And that is the problem.
The American political press has become increasingly isolated in the security of its own liberal bubble of privilege. The skin color and sex of reporters may be varied, but the groupthink and herd mentality is all the same. The political press, like so much of the political left, has decided to take sides on issues instead of reporting facts.
Before the story about the Covington students at the March for Life, reporters from CNN to the New York Times were belittling Karen Pence, the Second Lady of the United States, for going back to work teaching art to students. Mrs. Pence had worked at the same school for twelve years. It is a small Christian school outside Washington whose families sign Christian confessional statements acknowledging they will adhere to a Biblical world view and moral behavior.
The reporters attacked a woman for going to work teaching art because she chose to do so at a Christian school. I take this one personally because my kids go to a Christian school with a moral code reflecting my faith. The contempt and belittling reporting of Karen Pence was an attack on my faith and family too.
I have tried to defend the American press. There are many great and fair reporters in this country at both the local and national level. I have vocally rejected the idea the press is the enemy of the people. But I increasingly understand why they are so hated by so many and why so many cheer on their bankruptcies and layoffs. And I am terribly sorry too many members of the media do not understand or do not care why people feel that way. I said this is an apology and not just a confession. It is.
I must apologize for the growing sense in me that it is no longer worth defending our press corps because I increasingly feel, as a Christian and conservative, the press is not interested in telling the truth and facts, but is heavily invested in ruining people like me. Intellectually, I know better. But it is hard not to get emotional when I see so many vile press-led attacks on people of faith and willful misreporting because someone has on a red cap or is a Christian or conservative. I do not see a will within the media as a whole to improve and increasingly the good and responsible journalists are getting overshadowed by the clickbait and ratings that cater to people who look and think like the reporters ruining the industry. It makes me sad.