National News Media: We Need Rottweilers, Not Lapdogs

This morning I caught a bit of Megyn Kelly on the teevee, and while I was stumbling frantically to find the remote and change the channel, I realized she was complaining about how that awful Michelle Wolf had disrespected journalists.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s the problem.

Media elite who complain about Michelle Wolf are like people sitting in a burning house and complaining that the smoke is staining the wallpaper.

While the much-maligned nerd prom was going on, the POTUS was not there. He was giving a rally in Michigan in which he told his adoring, gun-worshiping followers that Democrats don’t care about the military, crime, or secure borders. He threw red meat at the frenzied crowd in the form of demonizing senators Debbie Stabenow and Jon Tester plus the usual Emmanuel Goldsteins — Hillary Clinton, James Comey and everyone in the news media. I don’t have a transcript, but according to CNN, Trump actually told the crowd that the news media “hates your guts.”

And media elite are pissed at Wolf? They are defending Aunt Lydia … I mean, Sarah Sanders? What is wrong with them?

Here are a couple of articles to read together. One is by Frank Rich at New York. Rich is blasting the New York elite who enabled Donald Trump via a retrospective on Roy Cohn. Rich’s basic point is that the elite and connected of New York, both Democrat and Republican, are more connected (and indebted) to each other than to the rest of the country. They indulged and protected Roy Cohn in his day, and they indulged and protected Trump.

The Booman makes a similar point about the Washington media. It begins:

Your required reading this morning is a column Sally Quinn wrote hack in November 1998 about how the Washington elite was coping with the unfolding l’affaire Lewinsky. You should read it this morning even if you’ve read it many times before. Once you do, its relevancy will be apparent to you.

Quinn’s point was that Washington insiders, both Democrat and Republican, are a community that cares more about their own than they care about the rest of the country. The Booman continues,

… whatever faults President Trump may have and however deceitful and contemptuous his press secretary may be, they are citizens of The Village and there are limits on how much disrespect you can show them.

By taking some personal shots at Huckabee Sanders, Michelle Wolf caused a defensive reflex. In part, the correspondents are afraid that if the Trump administration doesn’t see a tweet in their feed in defense of Huckabee Sanders that there will be negative repercussions for their access. But it’s also just a standard part of this ritual. The comedian arrives, insults people primarily by telling the truth about them, then the media criticize the comedian for being impolite and not all that funny. They usually don’t express outrage about the shots that were aimed at them because that would draw more attention to those criticisms. Instead, they deflect people’s focus onto how the president or members of his administration were mistreated.

A lot has changed since Sally Quinn wrote that piece in 1998. For one, the Village had higher standards back then. They expected more from their president than tawdry furtive Oval Office blow jobs from unpaid interns. At this point, that kind of behavior would be a welcome improvement. Bush’s failures and Trump’s presidency have beaten them down.

But their world still revolves around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and they still want to maintain a certain majesty to the place bolstered by myths they feel morally and patriotically bound to concoct and promulgate. They know it’s a sham and that they deserve criticism for it, which is why they keep going back to Nerd Prom every year to get their dose of abuse.

While they were listening to Michelle Wolf tell them what shits they are last night in Washington DC, the president was telling them what shits they are in Washington Township in Michigan.

That they’re responding by defending the president’s press secretary shows less sense of self-awareness and preservation than Patty Hearst demonstrated during her Symbionese crime spree.

Trump is expected to address the NRA national convention in Dallas this week, where he will no doubt pump up the crowd with more hate speech. The snowflakes in the Washington media elite might want to start wearing bullet proof vests.

Update: Erik Wemple, The president is seeking to destroy journalism. Now let’s debate dinner entertainment!