Trump versus the media: The problem of two unreliable narrators

No shortage of media outlets rushed to declare Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional. The president traditionally has had a lot of latitude on immigration policy, and contra activist judges, the arguments that the executive order is legal are pretty strong. Nonetheless, plenty of people on the right have issues with what the policy actually does, apart from overwrought questions of legality. But the narrow debate over the practical consequences of an immigration executive order has been swept aside in favor of an overly ambitious attempt to delegitimize Trump. By attacking Trump’s broad authority as president, rather than his specific actions, we’re having a debate over whom to believe: Trump or the media.

Blogger Allahpundit recently remarked, “American politics increasingly feels like a novel whose events are retold by two unreliable narrators, Trump being one and the media being the other. The truth, or something close to it, is in there somewhere between the two of them.”…

Kirchick is exactly right. When both the person in power and his critics on the outside are both perceived as lacking credibility, the person in power is likely to come out on top. The media need to stop asking, “Can he do that?” at every turn, and start asking “Should he do that?” If the media earnestly seek honest answers, they can recover some credibility and the balance of power to sway public opinion in their favor. If Trump ultimately proves to be a dangerous demagogue, simply reporting the facts is the only way put him in his place and hold him accountable.