Of course, most Democrats in the press don’t love Donald Trump. In fact, they hate him, even while, we suspect, they secretly wish he’d say something even more incendiary than usual, just to get ratings up.
Journalists have to eat, too. And things aren’t looking up economically for journalists these days.
The “Get Trump” mentality prevalent on the left-leaning side of the media has blinded otherwise cooler heads to gaps in reporting, and reporting methods, if those gaps exist in a narrative Democratic pundits find helpful in the overarching goal of defeating Donald Trump.
This tendency in the press, however, often causes those very errors in judgement that lead members of the press astray into the territory of fodder for Trump’s accusations of “fake news”.
The Jussie Smollett incident in Chicago was fishy to any objective person from the start- too many glaring coincidences, too “made-for-tv”. When evidence emerged that Smollett fabricated a hate-crime incident to improve his carrier prospects and hired two friends to stage the attack, the media was left looking foolish for having so blindly believed him.
So, too, went the Covington Catholic scandal whereupon a white teenager was reviled in the press for appearing to smirk at a Native American protestor. When the full facts of the incident were known, however, the teenager in question proved a mere bystander trying to keep his cool in a strange and dangerous situation.
Even more recently, the story of three white boys at the Christian school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife sometimes teaches holding down a black female classmate and cutting off her dreadlocks ripped through the news cycle like wildfire.
When the whole incident was proven to be a hoax, complete with a heartfelt apology letter from the female student and her family asking the school, and the falsely accused boys, for forgiveness- the media was less enthusiastic.
Same story with a recent report that ripped the U.S. and the Trump administration for having 100,000 immigrant children currently in detention centers. When the retraction came- that those numbers were from 2015, when Barack Obama was president, and even then, those numbers represented an entire period of time, not the number of children detained at one time by the U.S. federal government- crickets.
But the damage, as everyone from Richard Jewell to Hillary Clinton to the attorney for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandman would attest, has arguably already been done.
There are still people who think Richard Jewell was a bomber and a mass murderer; some people will always believe Nick Sandman a racist no matter how much evidence emerges to support his assertion that he was an innocent farm kid caught up in something far outside his comfort zone.
But what is perhaps more embarrassing than the stories mainstream media outlets have jumped all over in order to discredit anything and everything Donald Trump says or does- that have later proven to be false or misleading- are the stories they have passed on.
The Harvey Weinstein story, for which Ronan Farrow received a Pulitzer, was axed by executives at ABC for “not meeting their reporting standards” three years before the story finally broke.
Considering some of the worst accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were later proven to have been leveled by a woman who had never even met Kavanaugh, this is somewhat surprising.
Very rarely does any media outlet, or indeed any journalist, face any disciplinary action or consequences as a result of false or misleading stories that attempt to make Trump, or Trump supporters, look bad.
However, the recent, extremely ill-timed Newsweek Report article criticizing President Donald Trump for spending his Thanksgiving break golfing and cavorting with his rich friends in Mar-La-Go was apparently one step too far.
The juxtaposition, Tweeted first by Donald Trump Jr., then later re-Tweeted by Trump himself- of the Newsweek headline coupled with photos from Trump’s surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops, under the heading “Fake news vs. Reality” was damning.
So damning, in fact, that the reporter responsible for the story has been fired.
But as anyone defamed or embarrassed can attest, the damage to Newsweek, and the press’s reputation in general, may already be done.
The other thing Donald Trump understands and does well is play to his audience. His supporters, conservatives, Trumpers and everyone else planning on voting incumbent in 2020, like seeing their president visit the troops on Thanksgiving Day.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)