Yeah, I don’t know what this means. I guess he means that the press needs to make Trump’s temperament and basic fitness for office a regular part of its White House beat, to an extent even greater than it typically does for Republican presidents. (Dubya was “incurious,” Reagan was senile, etc.) Which of course they already do. What he’s really suggesting per his comment about malignancy is that the media should be overtly oppositional, which would deplete any small remaining reservoir of trust that Republicans have in it. If you think right-wingers are eager for partisan niche outlets now, have Bernstein and his friends spend four years proclaiming themselves leaders of “the Resistance.”
Ironically, it was one of CNN’s anchors who denounced that idea recently in a speech to other journalists. From Jake Tapper’s remarks to the L.A. Press Club:
[O]ur facts need to be squeaky clean and uncorrupted. We are not the resistance, we are not the opposition, and we are here to tell the truth and report the facts regardless of whom those facts might benefit.
I know it is difficult to not get swept away into a stance of opposition when a politician declares war not only on journalism but also when he declares war on the very concept of truth. And sadly, sometimes, on the very idea of decency.
Make no mistake: we need to fight for truth and decency. To preserve them so that when this era is over, when our children in two decades time ask us how we handled this period we can look them in the eyes.
But part of that service is to preserve the foundation on which journalists stand. And that foundation is built on concepts such as fairness, and non-partisanship, and doing our jobs without fear or favor. When we tweet every emotion we have every moment we have them, we undermine that foundation. When we publish or broadcast shoddy journalism we undermine it. When we do not rise to the moment, we undermine it. And that undermines what we are fighting for.
Those comments were delivered the night before three CNN staffers resigned over the bogus Anthony Scaramucci story, something Tapper no doubt had in mind when writing his speech. If you think of yourself as the Resistance, then the imperative to resist necessarily takes precedence over the truth. Bernstein wants to run that risk, apparently. We’re probably destined for completely segregated media consumption based on partisan preferences before too much longer, but that’ll get it done ASAP.