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!

14 thoughts on “National News Media: We Need Rottweilers, Not Lapdogs

  1. Just to be perfectly clear, Trump and his minions would not have been happy no matter what was said by the comedian…

  2. The powdered pantywaists of the press showed us, yet again, they actually are the cowards they appear to be.  Attacking Wolf is "safe," but going after Trump for far worse, well, that's out of bounds.  Why we may lose our access, and as DC Villagers, what are you without that treasured access.  And given the sneering condescension and nastiness Sanders inflicts on them daily, to see them running to her defense is just outrageous.

    I don't agree with Trump's attacks on the press.  The press has a valuable function to serve in a democracy.  But in some respects he's right about the press in a backhanded kind of way.  

  3. DC MSM Types:

    Less schtick and yuk-yuks at these gathetings .

    Instead, stick to the news, and acknowledging and rewarding great reporting.

    Besides, as far as jokes are considered:

    tRUMP can't tell one, and he sure as hell can't take one.  Vipers have a better sense of humor!


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

    Agreed. I watch those WH press briefing and am struck by how little information satisfies the "journalists" who ask the questions. Almost every question is answered with Sour Sarah looking at her prompter and reading pre-canned talking points, often having little to do with the question. SNL should do a parity bit where the WH press corp just goes up asks a question and then pushes the right button for response!

  5. My favorite take on Ms. Wolf so far is Chris Cilliza. She is a BULLY and BULLYING is WRONG.

    Now, when Trump threatens to sic law enforcement on people he dislikes, with no basis other than his animosity; when the GOP uses Congressional investigations and intimidation of the FBI to help win elections; those are bullying too. But, see, there's a key difference here: they help determine the course of *history*.

    Wolf could have hurt someone's feelings. So, you see, that's important.

  6. They say cops and prosecutors hate abused spouse incidents. The woman who called the cops, bleeding from the nose from fists who tells the police he threatened to kill her will suddenly change sides when the cops put the cuffs on "her man." Ask any person who has worked at a women's shelter about women who return to their abuser – swear they love him. 

    So it is with Trump and the media. He's made it perfectly clear he has no inclination to tell the truth. NONE. He's made it clear he'd like to muzzle the press when it comes to criticism. SHS and KAC are paid liars – there is no job description more accurate. But they deserve respect from the media? 

    Journalism needs to be divorced from the profit motive – part of the "ethics" of media management evolved from the marriage of money with the power of the press. Make journalism a vocation instead of a hustle.

  7. I watched Michelle Wolf's whole speech, and I thought it was hilarious. The part I did not like was how she kept going at Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders is low on the totem pole. I felt like Wolf was really punching down. I was put in mind of Trump making fun of the handicapped.

  8. I certainly don't have any sympathy for Huckabee. To cut her some slack would be like being sympathetic to Adolf Eichmann because his only involvement in the holocaust was one of logistics. He never personally killed a Jew, and there is no testimony that he ever even spoke an unkind word against a Jew, but yet his complicity in the holocaust is just a strong as Huckabee's complicity in tearing down our democracy.

     In scriptural terms Sanders-Huckabee has made herself a partaker of iniquity. Huckabee thinks got roasted at the WHCD? Wait until she gets to hell, she'll have a much better understanding of what roasting is all about.

  9. I'm not the theologian that Swami is, but, as I understand it, the difference between a mortal sin and a venal sin is that with a mortal sin, the sinner has the opportunity for reflection, but chooses to continue.  A venal sin can result from a weak moment, a mortal sin cannot.  I'm not a Christian, but, I gather that if a Christian knows that one of their brethren is, for example, about to commit adultery, he or she would have a duty to warn them against it.  

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders lies and runs interference against the truth on a daily basis.  She has time for reflection and it is difficult to believe that she is not aware of it.  So, if someone brings up the unpleasant truth that she is lying, and that everyone knows she is lying, they are really calling upon her to reevaluate her actions.  I would think that would be a Christian thing to do.

    I am reminded of a scene in the film, "Potemkin" where the rebels break into the cellar of the Winter Palace and find a large crate filled with medals.   Each of the medals on its own would have been a treasured acknowledgement of an act of bravery, each would have made a hero of its recipient.  But, in the aggregate, they become mere tinsel.   Professions of faith, flag pins and "thoughts and prayers" have all gone the same way.  They never really meant anything other than a tribal formality, a cheap bauble to keep the shock troops marching forward.

    There is still an open question as to where this revelation will lead.


  10. Doug:


    That's just one in a long line of ways having Trump as president is like living with an abuser.


    That part I don't understand about the Booman piece is how Trump is part of the Village when Clinton wasn't. They were both president. Of course, I know the Village thinks only Republican presidents are real, but they're only occasionally this blatant.

  11. I have seen the following quote repeated a few times in defending Michelle Wolf/attacking Sarah Sanders. Here it is from Vox:

    “I actually really like Sarah,” Wolf said. “I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

    Vox continues:

    "There are different ways to read this line. It’s a joke about ruthlessly doing the job — embracing the tactic fully, even into a fake front. Unfortunately, it does stick out for the nod to makeup. And Huckabee Sanders has been attacked for her looks."

    I have listened to the video three times now, and every time I hear this: "She burns fat." Fat, not facts. That makes it a joke about appearance, not about ruthlessness. 

    My objection is not about poking fun at Sanders, but about dwelling on it. Wolf spent more time on Sanders than on Fox News. 

    And what is this about the White House Press Secretary being a powerful position? Bill Moyers and some other Press Secretaries have gone on to have distinguished careers, but most of them have gone on the become Who’s that? 

    Sure, Sanders' job is to repeat Trump's lies. If she had a shred of decency she would not have taken the job. But the White House press corps know that she repeats Trump's lies, there's no mystery there. She isn't fooling them. She's a flunky, a tool. When I was young we would have called her a simple tool. She wasn't worth any more attention than Sean Hannity, if that.

    • I have listened to the video three times now, and every time I hear this: “She burns fat.” Fat, not facts. That makes it a joke about appearance, not about ruthlessness.

      She said “facts.” It’s clear to me.

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