Donald Trump hates the media. Really, really, really hates the media. Almost from the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator in 2015, he has waged all-out war on the mainstream media. It’s only ramped up since his upset victory in the 2016 presidential election. To hear him talk, when he goes on his patented Twitter tirades about “fake news,” he’s only giving reporters what they deserve for being unfair to him and his supporters.
Last month, Dean Baquet, executive editor of one of Trump’s favorite targets, The New York Times–excuse me, The Failing New York Times–spoke up against Trump’s relentless bullying. He told The Guardian that Trump’s 280-character screeds about the press sometimes cross a bright line. Baquet claimed that Trump was being “unpresidential” when calling out reporters by name, and claimed that “he puts their lives at risk.”
This isn’t the first time that Blaquet has publicly addressed Trump’s attacks on his paper. For instance, he discussed them with Stephen Colbert in 2018; watch here.
Former Ohio Secretary of State and current Family Research Council adviser and Club for Growth board member Ken Blackwell has a message of his own for Blaquet–in so many words, “Suck it up, buttercup.” In a column for The Stream, the Christian conservative blog operated by James Robison and Michael Brown, Blackwell contended that Blaquet and his colleagues deserve to get reamed by Trump.
Blackwell contends that the Old Grey Lady has peddled “baseless conspiracy theories” about Trump working hand in glove with Russia, and is now falsely smearing Trump as a racist. He believes that in the face of these and other cases of bias, Trump is actually “calling a spade a spade” by attacking the media. In so doing, Blackwell says, he is “doing a great service to the American people.”
Really, Ken? So when Trump claimed that the media was actually “the enemy of the American people,” he was actually “calling a spade a spade”? Gee, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle thought it was the sentiment of a wannabe dictator.
What about when then-Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used her official Twitter account to urge Trump supporters to crash The Times’ switchboard in hopes of outing an anonymous staffer who claimed to be trying to restrain Trump? And what about Sanders’ use of a doctored video falsely accusing CNN’s Jim Acosta of chopping away the hand of a White House staffer trying to take the mic from him? Egging on an angry mob and slandering a reporter–do you believe Trump’s critics deserve this sort of treatment for calling him out, Ken?
And apparently you weren’t paying attention when Trump himself admitted that his attacks on the press are just an act. He told Lesley Stahl that he attacks the media so no one will believe any negative stories about him.
But even without that to consider, where was your outrage when Breitbart executive editor Alex Marlow openly admitted that he believed Roy Moore’s accusers were credible? That had the effect of putting a huge asterisk by every story Breitbart ran smearing them? And where was your outrage when RedState ran revenge porn about Katie Porter? That’s far, far worse than anything The Times or the rest of the press ever did to Trump. Your hypocrisy burns, sir.
Blackwell seems to have been bitten by the same disease as a substantial portion of the GOP. He thinks that reporters deserve to be attacked for actually doing their jobs and holding Trump to account. It’s yet another sign that the GOP is heading down a dangerous path–one that doesn’t bode well for democracy.