They have lost their monopoly and their mandate. And they are not happy.
“They” would be what can most accurately be called the “Liberal State Media.” The place where once Ronald Reagan was the “amiable dunce” in the White House is now the go-to for all stories anti-Trump or, even better, Never Trump.
The difference between the Reagan era and today’s Trump era is, of course, in the media – among other places. In the 1980’s there was no Fox News and no talk radio. As a veteran of the Reagan White House I can say that battles like the furious assault on Reagan Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork or over Reagan’s showdown with the “Evil Empire” that was the Soviet Union would surely have played out differently if, say, Sean Hannity was on radio for three hours a day followed by an hour of primetime television. Bork could well have been confirmed and the constant deluge of criticism at Reagan’s opposition to the Soviets would have at a minimum been balanced out with a rational, factual analysis of the reality behind what Winston Churchill had decades earlier called the Iron Curtain.
“The Liberal State Media have lost their monopoly and their mandate. And they are not happy”
But today? Look no further than the furious liberal assaults on the outstanding coverage of the Clinton-FBI collusion scandal led by Hannity and a platoon of serious investigative journalists like Fox’s Sara Carter and The Hill’s John Solomon to see just how unsettling the end of the Liberal State Media monopoly (the LSM, as we will call it here) has been to the elites that run it.
Here is just one of the headlines, this one from Real Clear Politics:
RCP quotes Stelter as saying this:
BRIAN STELTER: “You can’t understand fully how the Mueller probe is being perceived, how the public is understanding it, without understanding how conservative media is trying to discredit Mueller, discredit the FBI, and discredit the DoJ.
There is this concerted effort from pro-Trump hosts on Fox News, from radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, and from right-wing bloggers and social media stars, to tear down Mueller, demand his firing, and in some cases even demand his arrest.
It is like watching an alternate universe. You mention Jeanine Pirro, the woman who Pirro Doubles Down: Andrew McCabe Is “Consigliere” last week called for them to be led out in handcuffs. Let’s take a look at what she is saying this week. Here’s how she’s framing this for her audience — which includes President Trump…”
Notice. “Conservative media” is portrayed here as “like watching an alternate universe.” And the headline is that “Conservative Media Is Fueling The Divide.”
There is no reflection – none – that maybe, just maybe, the LSM’s year-plus long empty effort to portray President Trump as the secret puppeteer behind a sinister “collusion” with Russia to steal the presidential election is not only flatly false with zero proof but, yes – gasp! – “fueling the divide” in America. No expressed thought that maybe, just maybe, it is the Liberal State Media that is the real “alternate universe.” An alternate universe that has its own “concerted effort” to bring down a president they hate.
Take the idea that President Trump is somehow unique when it comes to attacking the media. Over here at Townhall, a year ago writer Caleb Parke took the time to assemble a reminder to LSM stars of another President who declared war on the media. That would be, of course, President Obama and his constant war on Fox News.
Even before he was elected, Parke reminds then-presidential nominee Obama was complaining in October of 2008 as follows:
“I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls,” Obama told liberal journalist Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine. “[T]he way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latté-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?”
That was only the beginning. Once elected President Obama personally led an eight-year war on Fox. An attack exemplified by this quote from a “senior” Obama official in Time magazine in 2009 – Obama’s very first year in office.
“They (Fox News) are the paid political programming for a party, and occasionally a couple of news stories break out in the midst of 23 hours and 45 minutes of political rantings and opinion,” said one senior administration official. “Everything about it is one-sided political opinion directed at a base. Period.”
This, of course, is more or less the view of the Trump White House about the Liberal State Media. While CNN famously gets the most Trump attention in this regard it has been said in some form about a number of LSM outlets which have made it their business to defend whatever item on the liberal agenda they perceive as being under attack. It could be illegal immigration, tax cuts, the EPA, the FBI or even the NFL and the LSM will instantly throw up a protective media shield to defend whoever or whatever they perceive as under assault from the Trump White House. It is – and this is most important to understand – the way the Liberal State Media has always responded.
Let’s hop in the time machine and go back to a moment long, long ago when Donald Trump was still literally in grad school and not even close to being on even the business horizon, let along the political horizon. The moment fifty years ago was written up just this week of 2018 in the Wall Street Journal by William Luti, whom the WSJ identifies as “a retired career naval officer and former special assistant to President George W. Bush for defense policy and strategy.”
The year: 1968. The Vietnam War rages. Democrat Lyndon Johnson is in the White House. And Mr. Luti headlines:
Did Fake News Lose the Vietnam War?
Journalists wrongly portrayed the Tet Offensive as a U.S. defeat and never corrected the record.
Luti writes, in part, this:
“Seemingly out of nowhere, a shock wave hit South Vietnam on Jan. 30, 1968. In a coordinated assault unprecedented in ferocity and scale, more than 100,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers stormed out of their sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia. They went on to attack more than 100 towns and cities across South Vietnam.
The following 77 days changed the course of the Vietnam War. The American people were bombarded with a nightly stream of devastating television and daily print reporting. Yet what they saw was so at odds with the reality on the ground that many Vietnam veterans believe truth itself was under attack.
…Despite their ferocity, by most objective military standards, the communists achieved none of their goals. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces held fast, regrouped and fought back. By late March they had achieved a decisive victory over the communist forces. Hanoi wouldn’t be able to mount another full-scale invasion of South Vietnam until the 1972 Easter offensive.
But in living rooms across America, the nightly news described an overwhelming American defeat. The late Washington Post Saigon correspondent Peter Braestrup later concluded the event marked a major failure in the history of American journalism.”
Mr. Luti doesn’t mention it, but I will. The news of the day – on the Tet offensive in Vietnam and everything else – came through the filter of the Liberal State Media. There was no balance. There was no Fox, no Sean Hannity, no Rush or Mark and certainly no Internet. There was no one with any kind of a media megaphone who could say to the American people: The Liberal State Media has got it wrong, and here’s how and why.
Now? Look no further than this complaint from President Barack Obama – made in 2016 after the election of Donald Trump. Why did Trump win? Obama groused it was because there was:
“Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.”
Which is to say, from the beginning to the end of his eight years in the White House, President Obama (and he most certainly wasn’t alone) was furious that the monopoly once owned by the Liberal State Media was gone – and gone for good. Which in turn resulted in coverage of his own White House he could not abide and, in 2016, presented the American people with an entirely different view of Hillary Clinton than the one put out there every day by the fawning Liberal State Media.
All of this is worth bearing in mind as the now-famously unreleased memo on what was really happening behind the scenes in the FBI probe of the phony Trump-Russian collusion presumably gets unclassified and released to the American public.
The memo will doubtless make interesting reading.
But the real point of interest is that thanks to Fox News, talk radio and the Internet the American people will get to read it for themselves – and unlike long ago days, the Liberal State Media will not be able to either stop it or misrepresent it unchallenged.
Which is exactly why their attacks on the conservative media that has broken their monopoly will heat up. And go nowhere.
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sean Hannity or Hannity.com
Jeffrey Lord is a frequent contributor to Hannity.com. You can follow him on Twitter @realJeffreyLord