Announcing that Sen. Elizabeth Warren has become “hopelessly compromised,” that her fledgling presidential campaign suffers from a mighty “albatross,” and that “new doubts about her viability” have suddenly emerged, Washington journalists have recently returned to one of their favorite sports: trying to bury the populist’s campaign before it was even officially launched on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Confirming that it remains deeply committed to the story about Warren’s disputed Native American ancestry, a racist GOP narrative that has bubbled up since 2012, the same D.C. press corps that elevated “But Her Emails!” into a two-year national crisis during the last White House campaign is now taking it upon itself to saddle a possible Democratic front-runner with a “gotcha” story.
“She won’t be able to escape it,” CNN’s Chris Cillizza announced last week. And why won’t she be able to “escape” the overblown ancestry kerfuffle? Because people like Cillizza have announced they won’t let her.
The New York Times delivered a similar doomsday prediction: “The lingering cloud over her likely presidential campaign has only darkened.” And last week, Times White House correspondent Peter Baker claimed that the Warren ancestry story “threatens” to derail her entire image as a truth-teller.
Note that “threatens” is mediaspeak for journalists not able to find Democratic voters who actually care about the story, and a newsroom determined to relentlessly pursue it anyway. In fact, the Washington Post recently suggested the Warren ancestry story represented the most important part of her candidacy.
And don’t forget, this comes after Warren was recently dinged by the press for supposedly being “aloof,” “standoffish,” “cold,” “scoldy,” “shrill,” and “unlikable.” (She’s not.)
The ongoing media pile-on comes as Warren continues to post relatively strong polling numbers among Democratic voters. (She’s certainly considered a top-tier candidate.) And perhaps more important, the droning attacks come as Warren’s recently unveiled proposal to levy a 2 percent annual tax on a family’s net worth in excess of $50 million is being met with enthusiastic support among Americans.
Warren is, without question, helping to change the debate about equality in this country. So what’s with the media’s endlessly bizarre obsession over a GOP line of attack on the candidate? And why has the press mostly given Donald Trump a pass for his relentlessly racist attacks on Warren?