The return of press complacency

The extent to which these people are conscious of how ridiculous they sound is very much open to dispute. I am inclined to believe that most of what we think of as “media bias” is half conscious at best, a myopic inability to engage in what middle school teachers call “critical thinking,” to place information in context, to observe well-defined professional norms, to do virtually any of the things that journalists apparently consider the hallmarks of their profession when they are not talking about Trump (or Willard Romney or George W. Bush before him, in a long line stretching back at least to Nixon). A much more interesting question is which would be the greater indictment of the American media establishment: if they were honest buffoons who sincerely believed that Trump was a paid-up KGB operative who ran for office in order to convince Chinese billionaires to pay dues at Mar-a-Lago, or liars who only pretended to believe these things to make a living? The mind reels.

This is the most amusing thing of all of these people: projection. The greatest threat to American journalism is not the outgoing president who occasionally (and rarely without humor) mocks reporters for their self-aggrandizing behavior, but the journalists themselves, whose staggering incuriosity is rivaled only by their outsized sense of their own importance and their willingness to gaslight the American people. Slavish toward actual power, almost willfully amnesiac even about very recent history, functionally illiterate: They have only themselves to blame for the low esteem in which they are rightly held by everyone who does not share their class priorities.