So what’s with the coordinated media campaign this week claiming a second Trump term will usher in the end of the republic and the rise of a fascist dictatorship?
Well, three weeks ago, President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign scolded the press for not attacking Donald Trump hard enough, specifically calling out The New York Times, saying “it’s time to meet the moment and responsibly inform the electorate of what their lives might look like if the leading GOP candidate for president is allowed back in the WH.”
As my colleague David Harsanyi noted at the time, the Biden camp wasn’t working the refs, it was demanding obedience. “And the fact that the White House can brazenly petition a supposedly free press to join his campaign effort tells us a lot about how little the contemporary Democrat cares for a free press.”
This is like when the Biden White House complains that Americans think the economy is bad because the media don’t do enough to explain how great the economy is, and a few days later, we’re inundated with stories about how the economy is doing great, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
In any case, message received! Three weeks after Biden’s campaign made their demands of the press, nearly every major corporate media outlet in America rolled out some version of the campaign’s talking point about how dangerous a second Trump term will be.
The New York Times, always eager to deliver for a Democrat in power, didn’t disappoint. On Monday, the paper ran a triple-bylined piece arguing that a second Trump term would be “more radical” than the first. Why? Because Trump would “use the Justice Department to wreak vengeance against his adversaries,” and “get prosecutors to go after his enemies.” In other words, he might do what President Biden is doing right now in plain sight. (As I said earlier this week, Democrats are afraid Trump will do to them what they’re doing to him.)
The Washington Post ran its own versions of the same argument. Robert Kagan penned a column about how to stop the “Trump dictatorship.” The always-absurd Jennifer Rubin used her column at the Post to heap praise on Liz Cheney, who went on the Sunday shows to warn that if Trump is elected, it will be the last election we ever have, and that we’re “sleepwalking into dictatorship in the United States.”
It’s fair to call this kind of rhetoric “assassination prep,” because of course if this will really be the last election, if we’re really facing a fascist dictatorship in Trump’s second term, well then drastic measures are necessary, are they not? That’s the tacit argument being advanced in these pieces. And it’s not some fringe thing on the left. The entire January/February issue of The Atlantic is nothing but hysterical essays warning that the next Trump presidency “will be worse.”
But the left-wing corporate press isn’t one for circumspection or restraint when it comes to overheated rhetoric — or hypocrisy. The Washington Post published a half-dozen articles this week comparing Trump to Hitler after the former president and GOP front-runner called his opponents “vermin.”
But as Matt Orfalea noted on X, corporate journalists, including some at the Post, have no problem calling Trump and his supporters vermin all the time. All through Trump’s presidency, reporters and columnists for the Post repeatedly described Trump as a rat and his officials and supporters as rats or vermin.
“Don’t blame the rats abandoning the USS Trump,” went a December 2018 headline from Dana Milbank — a phrase and image that comes up over and over in the Post’s Trump coverage going back to before the 2016 election (no surprise, but Rubin was especially fond of the phrase). During Trump’s first year in office, the Post reported on an outsized balloon depicting Trump as a rat and included multiple images of Trump as a rat. In 2019, Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes drew dozens of disgusting red-eyed vermin under the title “Trump’s Republican rats.”
But if Trump calls his opponents “vermin”? He’s just like Hitler.
One thing to understand about this hyperbolic and hypocritical media campaign against Trump is that they’re getting desperate. You can only run so many pieces about how inflation isn’t real before people stop taking you seriously. And talking about President Biden will only hurt his chances at reelection. So the last move of the corrupt establishment press is to do what the Biden campaign asked it to do and churn out pieces designed to scare people into not voting for Trump.
I don’t think it’s going to work. It might convince people who already hate Trump and would vote for anyone, even a dementia-addled Biden, before voting for Trump. But ordinary Americans who remember what the economy was like during the Trump years aren’t going to be fooled — no matter how many bylines the Times adds to its 3,000-word think pieces about the coming dictatorship of Trump. They can chatter all they want, but fewer and fewer people are listening.
In fact, the fact that they’ve been reduced to this desperate tactic already, before the first primaries, means they know they’re in trouble. I’d compare them to rats on a sinking ship, but then I suppose I’d be just like Hitler — or Trump.