In the era of Trump I’ve become a big believer in “call it like it is” analysis. It’s what I’m looking for in commentators – those less interested in toeing a party line and more interested in holding the powerful to account.
To be clear, I think we all have a tendency to gravitate towards protecting the figures associated with our own ideology. Without a regularly-renewed focus to cut through spin and be willing to accept conclusions that hurt your tribe, we’ll slump deeper and deeper into the mire. Today that manifests in either being a MAGA cultist or a walking embodiment of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
For many of us who did not support President Trump in 2016 because we found him untrustworthy, lacking in conservative credentials and convictions, and didn’t think he did anything to earn our vote (and obviously didn’t vote for a far more ideologically-offensive Hillary Clinton either), but who also refused to fall into the post-election #NeverTrump mindset that regards everything the man does as abhorrent, it’s been a somewhat lonely experience.
On one day we’re called closet Trump loyalists, the next #NeverTrump buffoons. I prefer to think of it as praising things that are praiseworthy and condemning things that are condemnable, but to each their own.
Still, if I’m going to be consistent in this approach, it demands that I apply it evenly to others besides the sitting president. Even media figures with whom I have been epically disappointed over the course of the last few years. Figures like CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Tapper used to be one of my favorites when he was at ABC – repeatedly demonstrating a willingness to hold both sides to account, even when it was extremely unpopular among his mainstream media colleagues to do that to their officeholding Democrat allies. But since his big-contract move to CNN, Tapper has continued sliding towards the very kind of one-sided Democrat media claptrap he used to be a welcomed exception to.
But with as profound as my disappointment with Tapper’s metamorphosis is, doing something good deserves praise in my book. And his recent calling-out of MSNBC’s “justice and security analyst” Matthew Miller deserves special acknowledgement. Addressing former Vice President Biden’s refusal to release his Senate documents which could contain information relative to the sexual assault charge against him, Miller made it clear that party supersedes character:
Pure hackery. And to his credit, Tapper wasn’t having it:
Call me crazy, but this is what journalism is supposed to be, isn’t it? Not pontificating, but holding the pontificators to account. Not editorializing, but reinforcing commonly shared ideals that are too often made subject to political considerations.
If Trump is worthy of praise when he does good things (he is), then one of his chief critics in media is worthy of the same. Well done and well said, Mr. Tapper.