Sometimes, they say the quiet part out loud. The past ten years have seen the once-vaunted Fourth Estate morph into a full-on activist media apparatus. It became even more apparent when former President Donald Trump flew onto the political scene and news outlets became a part of the “resistance.”
In 2022, it seems even more obvious that the press remains intent on functioning as something akin to a Ministry of Propaganda, allying with the Democratic Party to advance a progressive agenda. At least one news outlet is attempting to return to actual objective journalism, but it remains to be seen whether declining trust in the media will push others to do the same.
Democrats and Activist Media Get Cozy
After the midterm elections, a member of the press inadvertently let the proverbial feline out of the sack when commenting on Twitter about Pennsylvania Senator-elect John Fetterman. Rebecca Katz, an adviser to the newly elected lawmaker, posted a tweet explaining that her boss, who is known for making public appearances clad in a hoodie and shorts, would be wearing a suit when serving in the legislature and that he is still having some issues related to his stroke earlier this year. She wrote:
“Two things we need to get out of the way:
1) John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol.
2) He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here.”
Katz was referencing an incident in which a reporter approach Fetterman and asked if he would be wearing a suit from now on when conducting business in the Senate.
Eric Michael Garcia, who writes for The Independent and MSNBC, responded to Katz’s tweet, arguing that his fellow members of the press should be “cognizant” of the senator-elect’s condition when questioning him. “My colleagues in the Capitol press corps must be just as cognizant of this when we ask Fetterman questions in the halls, just as we are to Tammy Duckworth in her wheelchair,” he tweeted. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have to ask tough questions. Rather, doing so will allow us to get answers.”
Garcia continued, explaining that he is not “interested in asking Fetterman softballs” and that he cares about “holding him accountable.” He insisted that “the only way we can do this is if we can accommodate him” and that journalists “must remember we are coworkers with members.”
Coworkers? Since when did journalists consider politicians to be partners working toward the same goal?
Garcia Is More Right Than He Thinks
Garcia was not wrong. In this era, it would not be surprising to discover that many of his contemporaries viewed themselves as partners with the government rather than truthtellers bent on holding elected officials’ feet to the fire.
But Garcia’s comment indirectly betrays another reality: The apparent bias pervasive in the activist media. It is highly doubtful that he or his ilk would have made this type of comment about Ohio Senator-elect JD Vance or any other Republican politician. Indeed, the past decade has shown that members of the press act as coworkers with Democrats far more than with the GOP.
The findings of a Gallup poll published earlier this year revealed that trust in media is at the second lowest since the organization has been conducting the survey. Apparently, Americans do not appreciate outlets that are more focused on influencing than informing them. News organizations like CNN and Politico have indicated they would begin toning down some of the political bias. The former has already taken major steps in this direction, having fired some of their more incendiary anchors and hosts.
One might think that with falling ratings and trust, the press would take the hint. But now that former President Donald Trump has announced a third run for the White House, it seems more probable that the big box media outlets will double down on Orange Man Bad.
While members of the press are putting on a not-so-convincing show of being aghast at the prospect of another Trump campaign, it would not be surprising to find they secretly threw parties celebrating the return of a man who drives headlines like no other. At this point, it seems clear that the activist media will, as Garcia intimated, view Democrats as their coworkers and comrades in the struggle against what they collectively see as a malevolent Republican Party.
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