It can’t be pleasant to be attacked by the president of the United States, even if you don’t like him. But what “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd did Sunday is inadvertently display exactly what is wrong with journalism and why so many people respond positively to President Trump’s attacks on the media.
At a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday night, Trump called Todd “a sleeping son of a bitch.” What journalists used to do is try to keep themselves out of the story, no matter what. What Todd did in an interview Sunday with the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who has nothing to do with Trump’s decorum, is inject himself directly into things.
“Many people including myself raise their kids to respect the office of the presidency and the President of the United States,” he said. “When he uses vulgarity to talk about individuals, what are they supposed to tell their kids?”
This question is obviously about Chuck Todd, who was in the receiving end of the vulgarity. A few seconds later, Mnuchin tells him, “I think you should be focused on what the policies are. He’s using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign rally and obviously, there were a lot of funny moments on, on, on that rally,” to which a clearly angry and personally offended Chuck Todd answers, “Yeah, they were hilarious.”
Now, do I think the president of the United States ought to be calling a reporter a “son of a bitch”? No, I don’t. I understand Todd’s point about Trump debasing the presidency, although I think commentary we sometimes hear that he’s some kind of fascist who intends to abolish the First Amendment is silly.
But Todd and the rest of the press want to have both ways. They want to pretend to be objective and then make their feelings and their opinions all part of the story. And almost always, their opinions are liberal. They used to try to at least hide this. No more. And so now there’s a backlash, the most serious of which is not coming from the president, but from the people, who can no longer trust the press.