Criticism of the media by a president is not necessarily a bad thing

Enemy is a strong word but when leftists seek to mislead, distort, and lie — criticism is due. Here is Andrew C. McCarthy:

Depending on your perspective, one of President Trump’s real talents, or one of his most baleful traits, is his knack for the zinger label, pinned on a political or institutional foe. “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “The Swamp” — the labels often stick . . . and sting.

In commentary about the media that is sometimes withering and sometimes unhinged, the president uses the term “the enemy of the people.” The epithet has gotten under the skin of many journalists. Some of them worry aloud about being targeted for retribution, a concern that is overwrought as applied to Trump partisans generally, but that cannot be dismissed out of hand — Cesar Sayoc’s attempted pipe-bomb rampage against Trump critics, like James Hodgkinson’s gunfire spree against Republican congressmen, reminds us that no one has the market cornered on evil and dementia.

But who exactly is “the enemy of the people”? Trump maintains that he is not referring to the entire press, only to “fake news” coverage by mainstream-media outlets. Is such line-drawing appropriate? Even if the public at large may validly make such distinctions, should they be drawn by a president of the United States, or does that specter imperil constitutional free-press protections?

The Pretense of Objectivity

Before Trump zapped our politics with his lightning rod, it was a commonplace in conservative circles to complain about that most pernicious practice of the political press: the pretense of objectivity. No, we did not begrudge the New York Times and Washington Post their editorial pages, nor resent opinion pieces and programs clearly advertised as such. Our objection was to patently biased news coverage that was presented as if it were dispassionate, just-the-facts-ma’am reporting. The bias is seen and unseen, but pervasive. It is found in the reporting itself. It is intimated in the description of sources (e.g., conservatives always described as “conservative”; left-wing sources — the ACLU, SPLC, CAIR, etc. — described as civil-rights groups with no partisan agenda). Most important, it is concealed in editorial decisions about what gets covered and what does not, camouflaged by the thread that gets emphasis and the “lede” that gets buried.

Read more: National Review

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