Stop Earning the 'Enemy of the People' Label

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Media figures regularly shriek in protest whenever President Trump besmirches the press as “the enemy of the people.” The phrase is jarring, no doubt. But here’s an idea: The leaders in the Fourth Estate should quit behaving in ways that lend credence to the president’s caustic complaint. Just this past Friday, three at MSNBC, the Daily Beast, and HBO proved themselves fully deserving of Trump’s denunciation.

First, Michael Steele, a regular MSNBC contributor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, appeared on that network with host Nicole Wallace, former communications director for George W. Bush. These two erstwhile conservative commentators prove that the cable news lights shine brightly for establishment Republicans willing to devote their professional lives to deranged disparagement of a president with the most conservative record since Ronald Reagan.  

Steele addressed the arrest of Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, a maniacal white supremacist planning various attacks, especially targeting liberal luminaries in media and politics. Naturally Steele tied this lunatic to Trump. “These are his [Trump’s] people, right?” Steele said. “And he’s not gonna thank law enforcement because he’s probably not happy about what law enforcement did.”

Instead of challenging this absurd supposition with normal journalistic pushback, Wallace could be heard cheerleading the smear. “Is that where we are?” she responded, before gushing, “That’s a brave thing to say.” Well, no, Michael and Nicole, there was nothing brave about asserting that our commander-in-chief secretly wishes a disturbed member of our own military had murdered untold numbers of Americans. Far from brave, such shameful comments reveal the audacious activism of the “resistance” media so hell-bent on opposing this president that they’ll suspend any semblance of reason to slander Donald Trump.

Will Sommer of the Daily Beast chose not to denigrate our powerful president, but instead to attack a regular citizen, a working woman who happens to labor in the kitchen of a Trump property. Sommer’s article took muckraking to new lows as he detailed the Instagram posts of a pastry chef at Trump’s Mar a Lago club in Florida. She happens to believe in QAnon, a widely discredited stream of conspiracy theories accusing prominent Democrats of various bizarre crimes. Regardless of the nuttiness of QAnon, this woman lives a quiet private life, she has no place at all in the public square, and her duties for Trump, as best anyone can tell, do not extend beyond cooking desserts. Her personal beliefs only make her a target for the bullies at the Daily Beast because she happens to bake for the wrong man. How is it possible that the editors at any respectable media operation could green-light such a public shaming of a private citizen?

Taking his condescending cue from the Daily Beast, Bill Maher delivered a Friday night diatribe on his HBO “Real Time” show, dismissing the tens of millions of Americans who suffer the indignity of eking out an existence in red states. (Yes, Maher is a comedian, but his show is an influential forum for political commentary.) In a speech that would have made Hillary “Baskets of Deplorables” Clinton blush, Maher declared that “red state voters are so pissed off. They don’t hate us, they want to be us.” On Academy Awards weekend, he reminded flyover state residents that there are “no red carpets in Wyoming” and that no one inquires about what they are wearing because “the answer is always Target.”

Maher himself might be “pissed off” to learn that several annoying facts actually contradict his biased assumptions. For example, California has become the highest poverty-rate state in America. Is this largely due to liberal policy ineptitude – a historic trend that coincides with California becoming virtually a one-party (Democratic) state ? Don’t expect HBO or the mainstream media to spend any time trying to solve that riddle. Meanwhile, Americans are voting with their feet, increasingly flooding the freeway exit ramps to flee liberal enclaves. data show the top three states people left in 2018 are the blue bastions of California, New York, and Illinois. Maher’s inaccurate and brazen contempt for millions of Americans he views as his inferiors reveals a not just hardened heart but an atrophied intellect.

No one in management from MSNBC, the Daily Beast, or HBO has clarified any of these remarks or proffered an apology. They are comfortable accusing the president of sympathy for mass murder, vilifying a private citizen for her personal politics, and insulting anyone they deem unworthy of an Academy Award invite. If the chieftains of media truly detest the label “enemy of the people,” then perhaps they should stop acting like one.

Steve Cortes is a contributor to RealClearPolitics and a CNN  political commentator. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.

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