In a scathing column in the National Review, Eliana Johnson accuses the news media of willingly giving up their role as watchdogs in exchange for the steady meal of ratings and clicks Donald Trump has provided.
“CBS News president Les Moonves gave a window into the mentality at work when he said late last month that Trump’s candidacy ‘may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,'” she writes. “It’s not just Breitbart that has debased itself.”
Johnson calls out a number of television journalists, including CNN’s Jake Tapper for failing to confront Trump during a debate about the accusations against his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, whom she called “embarrassing suck-ups.”
The press is somehow slack-jawed by Breitbart’s predictable refusal to stand up to Trump. What is more interesting is that credible news organizations have for months now ignored the Trump campaign’s disregard for the media. For ratings and clicks, they’ve taken seats seven rows back at his self-parodic press conferences at Mar-a-Lago while his golf-club members are given front-row access. For ratings and clicks, they’ve allowed themselves to be penned up like farm animals at his rallies and risked scuffles with the Secret Service for covering the events like actual reporters. For ratings and clicks, Trump has been allowed to violate the rules of a presidential debate – consulting with a campaign manager during a commercial break — with impunity. For ratings and clicks, Trump has been allowed to phone in to prime-time and Sunday shows while his challengers have been required to show up on set.