- Thursday, November 9, 2023

You knew the media were going to attack the new Republican speaker of the House. You just didn’t know who it was going to be for a while.

So when Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana was elected the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives, Democratic opposition researchers and their allies in newsrooms pounced.

In story after story, many in the media exposed themselves (once again) as rabid, sarcastic and condescending partisans because first, they decided that they hated Mr. Johnson, and then they had to figure out why.

And the reasons they came up with probably only made him seem normal to everyday people.

The media lost their collective mind over Mr. Johnson’s old financial disclosure forms because they revealed that he isn’t a millionaire. The fact is, over his congressional career, he’s had no assets that meet the requirements for disclosure, including a bank account of his that doesn’t appear on the forms because it doesn’t bear interest, according to the speaker’s office.  

The Daily Beast kicked off the hysteria over the idea that a high-ranking government official might be in a financial situation that is typical of most Americans.

“Does new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson have a bank account?” they croaked.

Vanity Fair couldn’t find anything actually wrong, so they just called Mr. Johnson’s disclosures “shady-seeming.”

Vanity Fair really wrote that in a headline. This is the same publication that repeatedly looked at the blizzard of foreign cash flying around the Biden family and declared that all concerns about impropriety were baseless.

But at Vanity Fair, being just like the majority of American families is “shady-seeming.”

One Washington Post headline inquired, “What’s up with Speaker Johnson not reporting a bank account?”

The impression left by that particular piece was that he has no bank account at all, which isn’t true, and columnist Catherine Rampell discounted that Mr. Johnson has a large family with lots of expenses, including tuition bills. In one passage not to be confused with serious journalism, she pondered whether Mr. Johnson pays debts with “sacks of doubloons.”

The same media figures who respectfully and approvingly intone that pro-abortion President Biden is a “devout Catholic” are now very concerned that Mr. Johnson could be a “Christian nationalist with extreme views on guns, reproductive rights, and more,” in the words of Rolling Stone magazine.

You see, they’re not horrified by everyone with religious convictions — just conservatives who support the Second Amendment and oppose abortion.

Over at The Washington Post again, Kate Cohen filed a column under the headline “Mike Johnson is a pro-gun Christian nationalist. Yes, be afraid.”

She scoffed that “Christian nationalists believe that the right to bear arms is not merely a constitutional right; it’s a God-given right.”

Where could people have gotten that idea? Perhaps from the Declaration of Independence, which says that people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and the Constitution, which enumerates and protects said rights from government interference.

In yet another case of leftists mocking behavior that many people find admirable, there was a flood of stories about the speaker’s use of an app designed to keep people from watching harmful pornography online. Mr. Johnson reportedly uses the app with his “accountability partner” — his teenage son — so that family members know that everyone is using the web safely.

Who could be against this but jaded columnists like Robin Abcarian at the Los Angeles Times?

She found a “psychologist and sexuality expert” to offer a negative opinion of the speaker’s desire to keep his young son away from porn, and she predicted that the effort would fail.

Even after she confessed that she regards pornography as a “whatever floats your boat” sort of thing, Ms. Abcarian made clear that she found it “kind of weird” that Mr. Johnson and his son would try to avoid it altogether.

The contempt she feels for Mr. Johnson and Christians in general is evident in every word.

The media, who are always calling Republicans racist, laughed at the thought that the Johnsons had welcomed a homeless Black teenager into their family years earlier. The young man, who was 14 at the time, later decided he didn’t want to be included in public life when Mr. Johnson entered politics.

Yahoo News pushed out a story that began, “Is it just us, or does something seem off about this relationship?”

“Color us confused — and suspicious,” the article concluded.

Thanks to their lameness, the opening media attacks on Mr. Johnson could only have landed with committed leftists who want to believe the worst of every political adversary.

The rest of America was left wondering, “If that’s what you think of him, what would you think of me?”

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist and vice president for communication strategy at National Public Affairs.

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