If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the national media, it’s that they don’t see themselves as a part of our democracy. They see themselves as the dictators of it.
The Washington Post’s Perry Bacon Jr. (yes, that’s a real name) wrote Wednesday that it’s necessary for leftist media to recalibrate in the post-Trump years. But not in any sense of understanding what happened during Trump’s tenure, nor why he retains a devoted base of supporters making up nearly half of the country.
No, Bacon says: Instead, the national press should be more upfront that their mission is less about relaying information and more about protecting voters from themselves.
“The media can’t credibly go back to posturing as disinterested or neutral — nor should it if Trump and Trumpism remain threats to democracy,” wrote Bacon. “It needs to chart a new path forward for a United States with a Trumpian Republican Party.”
Bacon’s recommendations include a statement of “transparency” that big news organizations “should play a power-balancing role” and that they be “overtly democracy-defending.”
You could get a cramp from laughing at the self-serious Bacon. But it is nonetheless helpful to see how someone in the national media views his role within the broader system of our self-governance (such that we have one).
Bacon believes his and his peers are tasked not with informing voters of current affairs and of their choices in election years, but mandated to determine what’s good for voters all around.
In Bacon’s view, journalists aren’t merely protected by the Constitution. They are the purveyors of it.
That’s a leap from what we once knew. The press was previously known as “the fourth estate,” not as the estate itself.
Nobody in 2016 voted for Donald Trump against his or her will. The same goes for the millions more that voted for him in 2020. Those people chose the candidate they preferred for whatever personal reason they had. That’s their right.
But voter rights aren’t of interest to Bacon and the rest of the national media. They’re interested in what’s moral. Or at least, what they think is moral.
They don’t think Trump and everything his voters saw in him is moral. That’s why they spent four years whining about the norrrrmmsss.
He doesn’t fit their idea of a president. He doesn’t cry in public like Joe Biden. He doesn’t worship Washington rituals like they do. He doesn’t get chills about the White House like they do.
Wait, you don’t revere the same things journalists in the national media do? You’re doing it wrong.
That’s how Bacon sees the job of the media. Shame on you for not sharing that view.