Only the Press Could Get Away With This

Let’s say you are a salesman for a major company and while attending an industry conference, you begin screaming, cursing and threatening one of the hosts—in public.

Or, let’s say you are a manager for a major company and you make up a story about how a competitor secured a bank loan and you spread that baseless rumor throughout the industry.

Or, let’s say you are a secretary for a major company and you scour the social media page of a rival in the secretarial pool, edited one of her dated posts to make it sound much worse than it actually was, and email-blasted it to the entire company in an effort to get her fired.

Or, let’s say you are the chairman of the board of a major company and you direct your underlings to lie to customers and shareholders for three years about something that never happened.

See where this is going?

In any other professional sector outside of the news media, those kinds of activities would amount to fireable offenses. No constitutional protections would apply; no activist groups would rally to your defense; no C-Suite executive would issue a statement in support of your bad behavior; no colleagues would plead your case; no judge would demand that your job be reinstated.

You would be standing in the unemployment line. Justifiably.

A Mountain of Distortions and Transgressions

Of course, those are just a few examples in an embarrassingly long list of malfeasance committed by the national media in the Trump era: At the top of the rap sheet is the way nearly every reporter, editor, columnist and talking head either fell for the manufactured Trump-Russia collusion tale or peddled what they knew all along was a lie. A close second is the attempted political assassination of a nominee for the Supreme Court. Not far behind is an orchestrated hit on pro-life teenagers wearing MAGA hat in the nation’s capital.

Journalistic codes of conduct, rules, and ethics were set aside in service of a plan to destroy the Trump presidency. Foul language was excused as speaking truth to power; bullying and harassment were considered acts of courage.

But hundreds of tantrums, distortions, and transgressions also fill that blotter. After Trump’s stunning victory, the media signaled that it would finally awake from a nearly decade-long snooze to hold the sitting president accountable for his words and actions. They view themselves not as arbiters in an uncertain political age but as crusaders against a president they consider dangerous who was elected over their collective objection.

Emotional outbursts disguised as serious thought pieces published after Election Day signaled the way the media intended to cover President Donald Trump.

“The GOP has become an extremist party without much of the media identifying it as such, and now it’s installed a volatile novice with disdain for our democracy in the White House,” warned a Slate columnist the day after the election. “If we in the media return to pretending that we are not in the midst of a domestic and international crisis, we will be complicit in it.”

Journalistic codes of conduct, rules, and ethics were set aside in service of a plan to destroy the Trump presidency. Foul language was excused as speaking truth to power; bullying and harassment were considered acts of courage.

The Curious Case of Brian Karem

Look no further than the cretinous Brian Karem as the poster child for all that ails the national news media. The CNN and Playboy contributor possesses an extremely limited writing ability which, perhaps makes sense for a reporter working for outlets relying on pictures to sell their wares.

“Only Trump has chosen to weaponize our humanity and use it against us,” Karem wrote in a July Playboy article. “It is the irrational bully, the dullard and the power-mad who Trump uses as a cudgel to intimidate the rest of us.” (Irony alert!)

He attends White House press briefings looking fatigued and disheveled. Standing just feet from the White House press podium in an intentionally intimidating posture, Karem often would verbally abuse Sarah Sanders, the first mother to serve as White House press secretary. His menacing behavior would be considered completely out-of-bounds in any other business setting; if he had acted in the same manner in a corporate boardroom, or any public venue for that matter, he would have been escorted out and never allowed to return.

In June 2017, Karem berated Sanders for her legitimate criticism of flawed news coverage. “You’re inflaming everyone right here, right now with those words!” Karem interrupted, angrily gesturing at her. “We’re here to ask you questions. You’re here to provide the answers and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘see the president is right and everybody else out here is fake media.’” Sanders was criticizing a retracted CNN story that resulted in the firing of three CNN employees.

Karem attacked Sanders as a mother, accusing her of not having any “empathy” for migrant parents separated from their children at the border. “They have less than you do!” he ranted, pointing at her. “Sarah, come on, seriously. These people have nothing. You’re a parent of young children! Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through.” Not one of Karem’s colleagues stopped him or advised him that his tirade was out of line.

And then there was the time Karem asked Sanders if she’d ever been sexually harassed.

But it was his Rose Garden meltdown over the summer that finally prompted the White House temporarily to revoke Karem’s press pass. Following a social media summit, Karem mocked the participants as people “eager for demonic oppression.” Sebastian Gorka, a former White House advisor and a regular contributor to American Greatness, overheard Karem and confronted him.

“We can go outside and have a long conversation,” Karem said, challenging Gorka to a fight. After Gorka called him “a punk,” Karem told him to “get a job” and to “go home.” (Gorka, an immigrant from the U.K. of Hungarian extraction and a naturalized U.S. citizen, hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show.)

A First Amendment Fail

After the White House suspended his credentials for 30 days, Karem took the administration to court, demanding that they restore his privileges. Karem’s colleagues as well as the White House Correspondents Association and other industry groups lined up in support of the unhinged reporter. This week, a federal judge ruled in favor of Karem, claiming his “constitutional interests . . . outweigh the White House’s interest in maintaining order.” Activists cheered the court’s decision as a win for the First Amendment.

Score another victory for the anti-Trump thugs and bullies.

The First Amendment does not provide constitutional cover for disturbed misogynists like Karem—or, rather, it shouldn’t. It does not protect liars and cheats and hustlers under the mantle of freedom of the press. Only in the news industry could people like Karem, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Chris Cuomo, and Ben Penn among countless other offenders repeatedly be pardoned for unprofessional conduct that in any other business would result in their swift termination.

The American media is a rogue entity unto itself with no accountability, no measures to police itself—and now they are emboldened by politicized court mandates that affirm their unjustified sense of superiority. And the public sadly can expect to see more grandstanding and bad behavior into the foreseeable future and beyond.

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