But there is another side to this debate, as there usually is. There’s an old saying: “Even hypochondriacs sometimes get sick.” And even if Trump is trying to undermine the press for his own calculated reasons, when he talks about bias in the media unfairness I think he has a point.?
On Nov. 10, 2016 two days after the election, here was the lead paragraph of a front-page article in the New York Times: “The American political establishment reeled on Wednesday as leaders in both parties began coming to grips with four years of President Donald J. Trump in the White House, a once-unimaginable scenario that has now plunged the United States and its allies and adversaries into a period of deep uncertainty about the policies and impact of his Administration.” “Reeled .?.?. coming to grips .?.?. unimaginable .?.?. plunged.” Could they have come up with any more buzzwords?
?On Feb. 16, this was the lead on the CBS Evening News: “It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality.” A week later, this was the lead: “The president’s troubles today were not with the media but with the facts.”?
On Aug. 2, this was the report from CNN’s White House correspondent: “This White House has an unhealthy fixation on what I call the three M’s: the Mexicans, the Muslims, and the media. Their policies tend to be crafted around bashing one of these three groups.”?Now, I’m sure some of you hear those comments and think they’re “spot on.” But ask yourself honestly do they belong on the front page of the paper? Or the lead of the evening news?
?I believe some of my colleagues many of my colleagues think this president has gone so far over the line bashing the media, it has given them an excuse to cross the line themselves, to push back. As tempting as that may be, I think it’s a big mistake.?We are not players in the game. We are umpires, or observers, trying to be objective witnesses to what is going on. That doesn’t mean we’re stenographers. If the president or anyone we’re covering says something untrue or does something questionable, we can and should report it.?But we shouldn’t be drawn into becoming players on the field, trying to match the people we cover in invective. It’s not our role. We’re not as good at it as they are. And we’re giving up our special place in our democracy. There’s enough to report about this president that we don’t need to offer opinions or put our thumb on the scale.