What Jon Stewart Gets Wrong About the Media

(INTELLIGENCER) , November 2, 2018 — The president is a champion of “the working class” who spent much of his adult life stiffing contractors, fleecing small investors, and publicly arguing that coal miners are people who were born too stupid to understand the concept of black lung disease. He is an expert manager whose incompetence is so flagrant and egregious, Republican senators have described it as a threat to global security. He is a supporter of universal health care who tried to throw millions of Americans off of Medicaid, and an opponent of tax breaks for the wealthy who passed giant tax breaks for the wealthy — and then, mere hours later, told the members of his ritzy golf resort, “you all just got a lot richer.”

He is a “law and order” president who encourages police officers to break the law, an anti-corruption crusader who openly argued that the Justice Department’s top priority should be protecting his private interests, a proponent of who refused to stop making calls on an unsecured iPhone that the Chinese government had bugged, an advocate for America’s servicemen and women who made it easier for predatory lenders to scam veterans, and, above all, a teller of hard truths who tells bald-faced lies just about every time he opens his mouth.

And when he says that he is doing a great job, 42 percent of Americans believe him.

Many see that last fact as an indictment of the news media. After all, it is the Fourth Estate’s job to expose the lies and pretenses of the powerful, and maintain enough credibility with voters of all stripes to ensure that objective reality remains relevant to our civic life. And Donald Trump’s success at both winning the White House — and subsequently, consolidating power over the Republican Party — suggests the media has failed woefully at that latter task.