- Thursday, May 9, 2024

We are less than six months away from the presidential election, which means that certain members of the news media will soon appoint themselves the arbiters of truth. They’ll do this even though so many got things wrong over the last half a decade (about Russian collusion with the 2016 Trump campaign, about COVID-19 and about Hunter Biden’s laptop, to name a few).

It appears, however, that some journalists aren’t as concerned about the actual truth as they are about what they desire to be true based on their own leftist views. And some will take orders directly from President Biden as they plan their coverage. 

That’s all bad news as we look ahead to Election Day, and the signs are there.

The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz, one of the cringiest journalists on social media, joined former CNN host Don Lemon on his online show, and let’s say you wouldn’t even want to take travel advice from her.

Mr. Lemon noted that members of “marginalized groups” who would likely be persecuted in the Gaza Strip are nonetheless demonstrating on American college campuses in support of the Palestinians who live in Gaza.

“Taylor, how do you reconcile the way marginalized groups — many of the people in these marginalized groups, they are fighting for Palestine, for the Palestinians, for what’s happening in Gaza. But yet, in Gaza, they would not have any freedom,” Mr. Lemon prompted.

This drew a scornful laugh from Ms. Lorenz.

“They don’t have freedoms in Texas and Florida,” she said, slandering two conservative states without evidence to support her claim. “Does that mean we should carpet bomb Texas?”

“Taylor, I’m a member of the LGBTQ community. If I go to Texas, they’re not going to throw me off a roof,” Mr. Lemon replied.

If even leftist Don Lemon thinks you’re too far out on a limb, maybe you shouldn’t be masquerading as a truth-seeking journalist.

In New York magazine’s Intelligencer, there was a revealing anecdote about the Daily Beast’s new chief creative and content officer, Joanna Coles. A friend had told her that Barron Trump, the former president’s youngest son, plans to attend New York University after high school.

She ordered her staff to confirm it with other sources, but they could not. Undaunted, Ms. Coles forged ahead and directed that an article making that claim be published anyway — without a byline.

“Let’s hope it’s true,” she said.

In these two examples, we have one reporter expressing opinions based on facts she merely wishes were true and a news executive whose journalistic code requires her only to hope that a story is accurate.

Is there any chance that these journalists will dedicate themselves to factual precision above their own biases and beliefs? Don’t bet on it.

No doubt, though, some reporters have been planning to be objective, and it was to them that President Biden was speaking when he addressed this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Mr. Biden told the assembled media that he expected them to skewer former President Donald Trump in their coverage between now and November.

“I’m sincerely not asking you to take sides,” he said before asking them to do so. “Move past the horse-race numbers and the gotcha moments and the distractions, the sideshows that have come to dominate and sensationalize our politics and focus on what’s actually at stake. I think, in your hearts, you know what’s at stake.”

It didn’t take long for the media to obey.

The very next day, George Stephanopoulos told his Sunday morning audience on ABC’s “This Week” that the “scale of abnormality” of the 2024 campaign is “staggering.”

This former adviser to former President Bill Clinton, who now regards himself as a trusted journalist, listed the lawfare cases being pursued against Mr. Trump by Democratic prosecutors and declared it a crisis of a kind unseen since the Civil War.

“It’s all too easy to fall into reflexive habits, to treat this as a normal campaign,” he said, telegraphing that he will indeed regard one candidate as good and the other one as evil, just as Mr. Biden instructed.

A hopelessly unfair media is a serious problem, but at least we can appreciate their brazenness. While they don’t usually show awareness of their biases, their unshakable confidence in their own righteousness is a warning sign for the rest of us.

Remember, as a whole, the news media rank about as low as halitosis in public opinion polls. And if their recent blatherings are any indication, they’re about to find out just how much worse their reputation can get.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist, a communications consultant, a co-host of the “Line Drive Podcast” and the author of the Amazon bestselling book “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It: My Escape From Addiction and Shot at Redemption on the Trump Campaign”

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