It is appalling and damaging that the president describes the nation’s journalists as the “enemy of the people.” But we do harm by overreacting to it and to the familiar charges of liberal bias.
This works beautifully for Trump, who gets to point to the collective media freakout as clear proof of their leaning left. (As Sarah Sanders scolded last month in a press briefing, 90 percent of the stories about Trump are negative, as if there should be some expectation that 50 percent of all stories should be positive, no matter what’s going on.)
The energy spent fuming about Trump’s anti-press jabs would be far better used on bringing a more skeptical, context-heavy approach to everyday coverage.
More insidiously, taking Trump’s “enemy” bait has another, less obvious effect. As the media try desperately to seem evenhanded — unbiased, not left-leaning — they end up overcompensating. As Media Matters for America documented recently, conservative guests often dominate the Sunday TV news shows, across all networks.