If you think the American media is too neutral toward Donald Trump? You might be playing tetherball around the pole of the leftist extreme. Take, for example, Mehdi Hasan, a columnist for The Intercept website and a "presenter" for al-Jazeera English. He was celebrated on Friday by the socialist British newspaper The Guardian for lamenting the alleged pro-Trump press. Nesrine Malik began this puff piece with the pure stuff:
We all know that the president is a pathological liar,” Mehdi Hasan says from his office in Washington DC. “But the lies he’s been telling about the coronavirus – they’re no joke; they cost American lives. The US media’s failure to call Donald Trump out on those lies in real time makes part of the media, I’m sorry to say, partly complicit in those deaths, too.”
Mehdi Hasan makes regular appearances on cable -- from The Lead with Jake Tapper to AM Joy to giggles with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. Are they all killing people like Trump? To be truly righteous, they must viciously attack the current administration.
When the White House press corps turned on the comedian Michelle Wolf after the 2018 White House correspondents’ dinner and defended Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it was the last straw for him. In that moment, he realised that the US media is almost “irredeemable”.
“If not now, when?” he asks. “If they’re not going to stand up against this administration’s secretary, then who?” A credulous New York Times headline in the wake of the 2019 El Paso shooting, “Trump Urges Unity vs Racism”, was, to him, just another stitch in the pattern of this submission. “The American press doesn’t want to rock the boat, and so things are just reported straight.”
Such forthrightness has served Hasan well.
Things are reported straight? That's fatuous, not forthright. Hasan is that leftist who is constantly rebuking his fellow leftists to turn on the fire hydrant of opinionated hostility.
“I use the L-word, ‘lie’, I use the R-word, ‘racism’. In the Trump era, you have to be able to use these words. In the Brexit era, you have to be able to use these words. And there’s still a real shyness and reluctance for journalists to do that.”
We have shown that for more than four years now, month after month, the network evening news shows are around 90 percent negative in evaluating the president. That somehow is described by Hasan as a "free pass." He defines true journalism as standing up and yelling rhetorical questions, telling the president he has zero credibility.
Despite his success, Hasan’s style of journalism is in the minority. The media “gave Trump a free pass in 2015”, he frets, and Trump’s ongoing bigotry is still treated with “both sides” equivocation.“My biggest worry, frustration, regret, annoyance, is that they don’t seem to have learned many lessons and we seem to be going down the same path for 2020.”
The media’s handling of Trump during the Covid-19 pandemic has given Hasan little reassurance. “When the president turns up at the White House briefing room and falsely claims there’ll be 5m tests within a month or that Google will be involved in the testing or that people are being tested at airports coming into the country, isn’t it shameful that even now, no reporter stands up and says: ‘Mr President, why should we believe a damn word you say?’”
[Hat tip: Dan Gainor]