It has been just over a week since Republican Donald Trump won the White House.
Trump, a complete outsider and newcomer to government, has barely two months to transition into the Oval Office, and bring thousands of political appointees with him.
The nation’s transition is serious business, and it’s time to put the election behind us.
This should be a time when the media offers advice and helpful historic context.
Editorial boards should tell people to come together. Mild-mannered journalists at great metropolitan newspapers should be urging Trump to hire statesmen and experienced leaders as Cabinet members.
It’s not happening. Instead, there is outright media lust for failure, even expressions of hatred and disgust for the new president-elect.
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“I don’t want Trump to succeed. I want him to fail spectacularly,” writes Michael Cohen of The Boston Globe.
Cohen says it’s all about the policies, but his remark is still a partisan outburst beyond the pale — even by the Left’s own standards. Rush Limbaugh made a similar comment about President Obama’s policies in 2009, and he was quickly and roundly denounced for it.
In May 2009, in front of President Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner, comedian Wanda Sykes said, “Boy, Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails. So you said you hope America fails. To me, that’s treason. He’s not saying anything differently than what Osama bin Laden is saying … Rush Limbaugh – ‘I hope the country fails.’ I hope his kidneys fail, how ’bout that?”
The shock is understandable. But the nation’s transition is serious business, and it’s time to put the election behind us.
“Traditionally, media gives an incoming president a honeymoon period before taking the gloves off,” said Adriana Cohen, a Boston Herald columnist and talk show host for the BostonHerald.com. “But with Donald Trump, there won’t be a honeymoon period with the press at all.”
The media is still in shock. The media had been lulled into a false sense of security about the “blue wall” — the states that hadn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since the 1980s. It couldn’t comprehend the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
So now, the media is back to its old ways of assuming the worst about Trump.
“Transition panic,” The Huffington Post charged in a headline on Tuesday.
“Donald Trump’s transition team is nearing a state of stasis, causing concern among both Democrats and Republicans in Washington that his White House will be woefully ill-prepared once he is inaugurated,” wrote The Huffington Post.
An interesting tidbit within the story is that the Obama administration is leaking to the press about the transition. Normally, that would raise questions within the media of partisan sabotage. Is President Obama trying to hurt the incoming administration, or are they genuinely concerned the transition isn’t moving fast enough?
Of course, part of the transition is completely public. And at every step of the way, when Trump names an aide or floats a choice for Cabinet, it gets knocked down the press.
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Stephen Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, is Trump’s choice to be political adviser. This is a role Karl Rove and David Axelrod had.
But Bannon is being completely defined by the media in a way unimaginable for past administrations. The media’s latest fascination is with the “alt-right.”
The New York Times editorial board said on Tuesday that “Mr. Bannon himself seems fine with that description, telling Mother Jones last summer that Breitbart was now ‘the platform for the alt-right,’ a loosely organized group of mostly young men who believe in white supremacy; oppose immigration, feminism and multiculturalism; and delight in harassing Jews, Muslims and other vulnerable groups by spewing shocking insults on social media.”
The media trick is the word “seems.” Bannon never defined the term that way. He is more likely to define it as a part of Trump’s coalition: “America first” patriots who have serious questions about trade agreements and illegal immigration.
Yet now Bannon is responsible for every goon on Twitter — according to the elite press. This is The Times editorial board at work. They have not learned a thing from the election — despite their publisher’s mea culpa last week.
Bannon is low-hanging fruit, of course. He is a former Breitbart executive. The left-wing media hates Breitbart.
Note that even America’s favorite mayor, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is not trusted by the media elites at The Times. Giuliani has also come under attack for being considered for a top Cabinet post, presumably secretary of state.
“He lacks any substantive diplomatic experience and has demonstrated poor judgment throughout his career,” writes The Times.
The same can be said of Obama’s secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Most especially Clinton, who had zero diplomatic experience and who violated federal regulations by establishing a private email server to handle her classified emails.
So it appears the media has seamlessly moved on from a pre-election Trump frenzy — to a post-election Trump frenzy.
But this time Trump is the president-elect. Cheerleading for his transition or presidency to fail is dangerous. It should be beneath the media to do so, but it isn’t. They have proved they have learned nothing from Nov. 8.