While the mainstream media relentlessly target the White House as the nation’s source of social division, they should look instead closer to home on K Street, 8th Avenue, Hollywood, and all the other elite cultural institutions. Simply by following their own business interests, they’ve spawned the modern racial identity politics that has so divided America.
It’s gotten so bad that even the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank has now warned his fellow anti-Trump journalists to stop calling the president a racist because it is “counterproductive” to the Democratic cause.
It was not so long ago that the Post itself was placing race front and center on page one while reporting on the heartbreaking killings in El Paso and Dayton. Then it used the El Paso shooter’s political leanings and racist attitudes to tie his atrocious actions to President Trump with the secondary headline: “President’s rhetoric looms over Texas rampage.” They did this while ignoring that the Ohio shooter said he would “happily” vote for Elizabeth Warren.
The Post’s third headline then attempted to link Chief Executive Trump to racism: “FBI efforts against racist violence face skepticism,” accompanied by two large photos of grieving minorities.
President Donald Trump’s response to the killings was: “God bless the people of El Paso, Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.” He called the shootings “barbaric slaughters” and said “we must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
Whose response had a more divisive racial tinge?
Or how about a few days earlier when President Trump confronted Congressman Elijah Cummings for criticizing migrant conditions at detention centers on the Mexican border, responding that these were superior to conditions in Cummings’ home Baltimore district?
The Post and the media generally reported this as presidential racism—as straight news.
Only Fox News reported that the White House chief of staff explained the obvious: that the statement had “absolutely zero to do with race. This is what the president does. He fights, and he’s not wrong to do so.”
Or what about the really big media-defined racist event, Trump’s supposed attack on the self-identified “Squad,” consisting of Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib?
Ocasio-Cortez herself first suggested defining the group as “women of color.” At first, the Post did not characterize the president’s statement about the congresswomen as racist. But it soon turned on a dime and flooded its front page after the mainstream media mob began adopting it.
The Post’s executive editor explained: “The ‘go back’ trope is deeply rooted in the history of racism in the United States” and therefore they’d “concluded that ‘racist’ is the proper term to apply to the language he used.”
A few days later, a Post front page headline declared: “President strains to shake label of ‘racist,’” as if the word had come from outer space.
What had the president said? “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said? So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”
Later he added, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” still with no names and qualifying that they would be welcomed back after their visits. The media were especially upset that the so-called Squad members were mostly American-born, which means they could not be sent back to foreign countries.
How well known are these congresswomen’s racial backgrounds? They’re freshmen members of the House of Representatives whom few reporters would normally care about or even know about. The Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, dismissed them as “four people” who “didn’t have any following.”
It was the Post that had pioneered promoting the Squad immediately following their election in 2018, including with a famous photo of the four, emphasizing their sex and ethnic backgrounds and “revolutionary strategy.” Coverage of the group became front page and A-section thereafter, with the Post even tweeting in July of this year that “we are all of the ‘the Squad’ now.”
Now, who here was emphasizing race? Was it Trump? Or the media by promoting nobodies into ubiquitous stars of the universe pictured as having taken over Congress and the nation and then asserting rather than proving presidential racism?
Finley Peter Dunne’s satirical quip has long been accepted as the motto of journalism school reporting: its goal is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” The afflicted would presumably be groups needing media noblesse-oblige protection and the comfortable would be the staid bourgeois majority.
By its own standards, then, the mission of the establishment media is to alienate a majority of the population. It performs this mission flawlessly, which is why Donald Trump is president.
Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies. He is the author of America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition, and Constitution and Reagan’s Terrible Swift Sword: Reforming and Controlling the Federal Bureaucracy. He served as President Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. He can be followed on Twitter @donalddevineco1.