The Corner

Politics & Policy

And So It Goes . . .

So I don’t want to belabor the point I made in this tirade from yesterday. But I was in the car, and I happened to listen to Andrea Mitchell’s show on MSNBC this afternoon — and it was a perfect example of what I am talking about.

Mitchell is often hailed by the network as one of their most prestigious and serious-minded reporters. She had a panel conversation with Michael Steele and Jennifer Palmieri about the Kavanaugh story. Palmieri said repeatedly all the stuff you’d expect a Democratic spinner to say. Kavanaugh is a liar yada yada. Steele pushed back on little to nothing, but that’s a different issue. Mitchell pushed back on nothing either. She took it as a given that everything Palmieri said was true, even adding herself that if Dianne Feinstein says she didn’t leak the Ford letter, you have to take her at her word. None of this is remotely remarkable, save for the fact that the very next guest on Andrea Mitchell Reports was Bernard Kalb, who’s written a new book: Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy.

And that conversation went as exactly you might expect too. Trump is to blame entirely for an erosion in trust in the media. The press just wants to report the facts, etc.

I have every confidence that if you live inside the liberal bubble, there was literally nothing objectionable to the conversation. But if you don’t take it as a given that Kavanaugh is a drunken-ice-throwing-rapist-liar or if you thought the press had lost credibility long before Trump arrived on the scene, it all seemed like entirely self-serving groupthink. Worse, it comes across as infuriatingly arrogant.

Every profession, class, and group is prone to tribal thinking (technically: the coalition instinct), but the press is one of the very few that takes profound offense at the suggestion this observation applies to them. This haughtiness invites rage at times like this. And, while you can complain about Trump fueling that rage, responding to it with even more haughtiness just perpetuates the cycle.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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