The predominantly liberal media are not adjusting well to the Trump era. Now it appears they are suffering an existential crisis, accompanied by jealousy, mood swings, and a lack of self-esteem. On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked by reporter Ronica Cleary, for Fox 5 D.C., if he thought the press was nice. Spicer said it’s not his job to judge the media. The odd question, asked by a local news reporter, seemed to almost mock the assembled front-row elites — those suffering an escalating crisis of identity.
President Donald Trump’s White House has steadily ratcheted up the discomfort for many members of the Old Guard media. Spicer has allowed questions at press briefings from conservative outlets shunned by the Obama administration. The White House even allowed some bloggers to attend the briefings. Spicer began taking questions from local media, via Skype. And in the last five days, the slow burn caught up with the fuse.
On Monday, the New Yorker uncorked a long story on Trump and Spicer’s relationship with the White House press corps. The New Yorker reporter, Andrew Marantz, who had been working his angle of new conservative faces at the briefings for weeks, turned a sympathetic ear to the prima donnas of the briefing room. Marantz suggested Trump is “trolling the media” by letting in new conservative faces. To his credit, Marantz yanked some truly snobby quotes from the White House press corps. It’s as if Rodney Dangerfield has shown up at Bushwood Country Club again, and Judge Smails is not amused.
Marantz even got one veteran reporter to admit some of the front-row reporters are a “smug little cartel.” And if you ever doubt the elite media are an entitled group of folks, those doubts vanish after reading Marantz’s piece in the March 20 edition. Marantz notes most of the correspondents at right-of-center outlets — the ones without assigned seats at the briefing room — are under 30. (LifeZette’s White House correspondent is 50.) Marantz lets the anonymous (and perhaps older) White House correspondents lather on the calumny.
Marantz notes the New York Post got the first question at Spicer’s second briefing. And that LifeZette got the first question at Spicer’s third. These things still fascinate the media. It shows the pecking order has been disrupted. But a few things have so far not been disrupted. The elite media still feel entitled, that much is clear. They are still predominantly liberally biased — that is obvious, too. And they still have a herd mentality that has not helped the health of the U.S. media.
The carping at the White House will likely not drown out new voices. Just as liberal outlets The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed grew to great heights under President Obama, it’s likely the new conservative media will find its groove with a Republican in the White House.