Many journalists used their reporting and commentary on the death of President George H.W. Bush as an opportunity to attack President Trump. Columbia Journalism Review’s daily newsletter stated: “In Bush’s case, that coverage has been dominated by favorable comparisons to President Trump.”
That was an understatement.
CNN turned to reliably liberal Patti Davis, President Reagan’s daughter, to criticize President Trump. She predictably complained about “the loss of dignity associated with the presidency under President Trump.” CBS reported the pivotal news that “the Trumps and Clintons did not shake hands.”
Please stop the presses.
ABC decided to turn the coverage of President Bush’s death into a depraved liberal fantasy and tried to envision what Trump’s funeral would be like. "It will be the best presidential funeral ever. No one will ever have seen anything like that funeral," ABC News correspondent Terry Moran said, mocking President Trump.
NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell said it was “extraordinary” seeing President Trump “sitting with the former presidents paying tribute to a leader whose humility and decency is different from today's politics.”
Journalists all wanted in on the action. The Washington Post needled Trump for not reciting a prayer and used it as a chance to make fun of the “faith and values of Trump.” The story included a 46-word attack sentence that said “many religious conservatives embraced him, despite what critics say is his dishonesty, philandering, crudeness and policies many see as anti-Christian.”
The Post also made fun of the president for using a limousine to go a short distance to visit the Bush family, though the article later noted the Obamas did the same thing for security reasons. Still we got this gem: “President Trump traveled 250 yards to greet George W. Bush. He used a stretch limo and an eight-vehicle motorcade to make the trip.”
After the funeral, CNN waited just six minutes and 34 seconds to return to its regularly scheduled anti-Trump barrage. And CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon didn’t even give Trump credit for keeping a low profile during the event. "I don't think you want to give out too many medals for not screwing up a presidential funeral. The president was on best behavior this week, but that's a fairly low bar," Avlon said.
In one notable exchange, CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon were debating how President Obama should have reacted when President Trump tried to shake his hand.
Lemon, ever taking the low road, told viewers: “I don't think I would shake hands with him. I don't know. I would just … nope, couldn't do it. I'm not that big a person.” Lemon even re-enacted how he would have dissed the president.
Amazingly, Cuomo shamed him, saying it was all about "Me, me, I, I." He concluded: “You're petty and small.”
It was an impressive moment.
2. They also attacked Bush 41: Many journalists didn’t react with the same class that Cuomo chose to exhibit. The media went after the late President George H.W. Bush, just as they had during his life. They also attacked former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Vice President Dick Cheney and the late President Reagan.
Slate even devoted an entire article to kicking President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, Sully. Slate staff writer and curmudgeon Ruth Graham was apparently appalled at the kind words that were tied to a photo of the dog laying in front of the president’s casket. Among the many memorably stupid things Graham said was that it was “a bit demented to project soul-wrenching grief onto a dog’s decision to lie down in front of a casket.”
“This is simply a photograph of a dog doing something dogs love to do: Lie down,” Graham wrote. And this is just what journalists do, attack anything and everything on the right. Even service dogs.
HuffPost claimed that Bush had caused “Catastrophic Harm To LGBTQ People.” Several outlets accused Bush of being “racist” for running the infamous Willie Horton ad, which was actually run by a third-party group.
MSNBC tried to get both Bush and Trump by comparing ads and talking about how the “dog whistle politics” had gotten worse under the current administration.
Former conservative turned MSNBC host Joe Scarborough complained that conservatives dared to remember how much the media hated Bush. Morning Joe himself tried to rewrite the history: “It was like Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill had a deal that they fought like hell every day. And then at 6, they put it to the side.”
Hardly. The press attacked Bush, tried to destroy Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and did destroy Quayle … over a typo.
The only difference from then to now is that the press is far worse now.
3. Another bad week for media: The story about former CBS CEO Les Moonves continues to get more horrifying. The New York Times reported new details about the network investigation. “Investigators wrote that they had received ‘multiple reports’ about a network employee who was ‘on call’ to perform oral sex on Mr. Moonves.”
Moonves was one of the most powerful men in TV before his fall. The question now is whether the investigation will end other careers, too.
That wasn’t all of the bad news for the news media. Journalism took it on the chin this week. Mic was sold for a pittance, the right-leaning Weekly Standard appeared it may close its doors and Bloomberg might be laying off all of its political staff.
Mic, one of the popular web start-ups, collapsed from a peak valuation of $100 million to selling for just $5 million. The Weekly Standard, popular with right-leaning anti-Trump readers, was trying to stay alive despite reports of its demise.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spends tens of millions of dollars to fund anti-gun groups, is prepping for a possible presidential run. He expressed possible interest in having his massive media enterprise “not cover politics at all.” “Quite honestly,” reported Buzzfeed, “I don’t want all the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me,” he said in a radio interview.
Then there was a huge error at NPR involving the First Son. The public radio network falsely reported testimony that Donald Trump Jr. gave to the Senate. The NPR correction said, in part, an “earlier version of this report mischaracterized an answer Donald Trump Jr. gave to Senate investigators in 2017.” That’s a nifty way to say the reporter screwed up big time.
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.