As the reality of the selection of a racist hothead to the post of president against the clear will of the people sets in, our vaunted fourth estate suddenly has decided this might be cause for concern. The Trump team is beginning to shut them out from access, faithful to Mr. Trump's chief advisor and hateful racist (yeah, I am done with sugar-coating "white nationalists") Steve Bannon's vision to create an alt-right reality around the incoming administration.
Suddenly, the press is concerned. CNN is concerned. The White House Correspondents' Association is issuing statements criticizing Trump's team for their disdain for political reporters. The Washington Post is concerned. They are concerned about access. They are concerned about the very real possibility of a president using libel laws to silence reporters.
Yet somehow, I am having a very hard time feeling sorry for the national press.
These are the people that normalized Donald Trump's candidacy. These are the people that propped up bullshit email stories about Hillary Clinton after more than 10 investigations failed to turned up a damn thing. These are the people that obsessed over a nothingburger - that the FBI said was a nothingburger - for 10 days prior to the election constantly and without rest.
These are the people that acted like a confessed serial sexual assaulter and the most eminently qualified person to ever run for president were on the same level because they both had "high negatives" with zero concern for the fact that one of these candidates had "high negatives" because of decades-long assault on her character with lies from the far Right with the full acquiescence from the media.
These are the people that never bothered to properly cover Donald Trump's tax evasion, his allegiance to the Russian government, his racist history of denying housing to would-be renters who were black, his failed and bankrupt businesses, his campaign's inside access and leaks from the FBI, his decision to embrace Chinese steel, or his deep connection to Klanstars, one of whom has now been picked to be his chief strategist.
These are the same people that covered President Obama as if he was just part of the game in DC, while the President was trying to get more people health care, regulate Wall Street, help students and immigrants, and protect our planet. Did the coverage center around what his policies were actually doing for the people and how many people were being helped? No, it was centered around talking heads opining about things that weren't matters of opinion.
Heck, they even failed to properly cover the travesty of Trump campaign banning press access, denigrating reporters and undermining their safety. All this because at their HQs and "decision desks", the appearance of fairness to racists, sexists and xenophobes was more important than covering the truth.
Even now, all the talk is about how "in tatters" the Democratic party, and how it's a "Clinton collapse" in votes, are without much reference to the fact that the Democratic nominee is not merely winning the popular vote, but is running away with it. There is little to no coverage that a vestige of the shameful slave era meant to protect slave states, the electoral college, is massively undermining the will of the people. There is little to no attention being paid that not only will Hillary Clinton win the popular vote, she will have gotten more votes for president than any other presidential candidate in history, except for Barack Obama. Donald Trump may not even pass Mitt Romney's vote total from 2012.
These are the same people that covered the racist birther movement - elevated by the new president-elect - with baited breath as if that were a real challenge to the legitimacy of President Obama, but will nary touch the issue of the illegitimacy of a president-elect who has been beaten badly in the vote of the people. These are the same people that cannot be bothered to dive into the fact that almost 4.5 million Americans (and counting) have signed a petition demanding that the electoral college respect the will of the people.
But they are suddenly concerned about their own cushy access to a White House press pass? No. Fuck them. As far as I am concerned, the feckless national press in this country has earned every single bit of migraine Donald Trump and his team can give them.
If the media has any will, any wish, to return to the traditional role of the press in this country as the fourth estate, then they must cover breathlessly Donald Trump and his team's treasons from outside the White House, not from inside the press room. They must restore their job of telling the truth about what the Republicans in power are about to do to this country rather than trying to placate the most extreme elements of this country by trying to appear 'fair.'
What does that mean?
Every hate crime being committed by Trump supporters must lead the evening newscast and every prime-time cable news show. Every horrific appointment being announced must be covered in depth and repeatedly about their horrific nature - whether they are a climate denier or a white supremacist racist pig. Every act of the Republican House and the Republican Senate that will hurt Americans, mess with our healthcare, pollute our environment or shore up the rich must get damning coverage.
On the flip side, made-up, manufactured right wing stories must be discredited and not given breathless daylight. Every attempt to destroy someone's character without actual proof must be condemned and the people trying to do so must be either made to answer or tirelessly hounded.
If the press wishes to take its rightful place as the Fourth Estate again, Donald Trump's presidency must never be normalized. The press must admit its complicit nature in the rise of the racist movement that took Trump to the White House. The press must then dismantle its complicit nature.
Until it does so, en masse, no one should feel sorry for the press.