It’s not surprising that after little more than a year in office many people who voted for a president still support him. But it’s also surprising that a president who has been the object of more negative reporting than any in our history still enjoys something like the same middling base of support he had before taking office. Unless it’s the negative reporting that is the problem, which I suspect is very largely the case. You can only ask adults to participate in the fiction that a retweet of a wrestling GIF is a credible threat of violence against some nerd reporters at a cable station or delight in what you hope will be the failure of American trade policy before they decide to tune you out. Very largely this had already happened by Inauguration Day, but now the work of MSNBC and The New York Times and PolitiFact is complete. Millions of Americans do not know the difference between what is true and what is false and have decided that they do not much care either.
There was, I like fondly to imagine, a different course that might have been taken here. It is just possible, I suppose, that members of my profession could have exercised their reasoning faculties to decide what in the administration was good, what was bad, what was unremarkable or indistinguishable from what any modern president would do, what was painfully idiotic, what was, perhaps, evil. We chose not to exercise this responsibility. Instead we decided to indulge in our live-action roleplaying fantasies about being brave selfless journos taking on a mean demagogue because we love the Constitution so much.