Donald Trump is often criticised by liberal news organisations like CNN and the New York Times for resorting to the phrase ‘fake news’ whenever he’s asked an awkward question. This is evidence of his slipperiness, we’re told, as well as his arms-length relationship with the truth. What’s more, it’s irresponsible to repeat this charge endlessly because it undermines public trust in journalism. That’s not just bad for the fourth estate; it’s bad for democracy.
There’s some truth to that, which is why it was so disheartening to see the liberal media go out of its way last weekend to confirm Trump’s cynicism. I’m thinking of the coverage given to an incident that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Friday when a group of Catholic schoolboys from Kentucky came face to face with an elderly Native American called Nathan Phillips. Video footage surfaced on Twitter of one of the schoolboys standing inches away from Phillips, seeming to smirk as the indigenous man banged a drum and chanted, and hundreds of journalists immediately expressed their disgust. It didn’t help that the boy was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and he and his friends had just been on a pro-life march. Anne Helen Petersen, a ‘senior culture writer’ for BuzzFeed News, described the boy’s expression as ‘the look of white patriarchy’, while Kara Swisher, an opinion writer for the New York Times, compared him and his friends to ‘Nazis’. CNN’s Bakari Sellers suggested he should be ‘punched in the face’. To read more, click here.)