John Daniel Davidson: Mainstream Media "Throwing Away Its Credibility" Threatens Democracy


FNC's Tucker Carlson talks with John Daniel Davidson, senior correspondent at "The Federalist," about President Trump's war with the media, and Sen. Jeff Flake's statement that the president "uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies."

TUCKER CARLSON: Trump hates reporters, I can certainly see why reporters don't like that, I don't always like his criticisms of the press. They strike me, though, as less dangerous as an actual Stalinist dynamic, where the press sucks up to people in power. I'm struck by how common that was for the eight years preceding this administration, and nobody ever said anything about it. Why?

JOHN DAVIDSON: You are absolutely right. You had reporters from mainstream outlets routinely take private meetings with President Obama and be fed stories (and narratives, as the Obama administration liked to say) and come back and regurgitate them point by point in support of whatever Obama administration policy was being sold to them that day.

This was the standard operating procedure for major news outlets for eight years and now, they have the Trump administration, which offends them and their sensibilities, and they are offended by the policies that the Trump administration is trying to push. So they engage in a sort of hysterical overblown criticism that we saw Jeff Flake join in on today on the Senate floor.

TUCKER: I mean, Jeff Flake is mediocrity. He is irrelevant, he's retiring.

I'm interested more in the reporters who really do shape our understanding of what is going on in the world. It seems weird to me that they are ignoring the actual crisis in free expression, which is real. I've been in the workforce 26 years. There's never been a time in my lifetime where more people were fired more quickly for expressing their opinions in the workplace. This is an epidemic. I don't ever see coverage of that. Why?

DAVIDSON: Like you said before, the press chooses not to see that, because all the people who are getting fired have the 'wrong views.' You know, he looked back to the firing of Brendan Eich at Mozilla as the canary in the coal mine. That seems like a long time ago. But that was a harbinger of things to come. They are very widespread with organizations like Facebook and Twitter that are essentially media organizations now, that function like media organizations, that have these draconian policies where they are obviously censoring views that they don't like, they obviously don't care about free expression. You saw these undercover videos of Twitter executives saying, oh, yeah, we cooperate with the Chinese government in expelling and banning people from Twitter all the time. They are not really interested in free expression. It's troubling to see just how disinterested they are and uninterested they are in the issue at all.

TUCKER: But they are the guardians -- they are the opposite of what they ought to be. They are the guardians of orthodoxy rather than the defenders of heterodoxy. A journalist should take the side of the one guy who stands up with a different opinion. We saw James Damore get fired at Google for writing a pretty benign personal memo about diversity. And you saw the whole staff of Business Insider basically piling on and saying: 'I'm glad he's gone. He's a threat to the Republic.' What happened? Who are these people, posing as journalists?

DAVIDSON: The one thing Jeff Flake gets wrong and the mainstream media gets wrong is that the number one threat, if there is a main threat to our democracy, when it comes to the media, it's that the media has totally thrown away its credibility with the American people. There was this Gallup poll that showed more Americans have a negative view of the media that have a positive view of the media. That is not good for a democracy. We need to have a robust, credible media to hold power accountable and to inform the citizenry. We don't have that right now because the media does not see itself as the guardians of free speech, the guardians of common Americans, holding power accountable. They see themselves as protectors of the status quo.

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