If your brain isn’t too far gone to remember all the way back to November 2016, you may recall The Serious Press wringing its hands over how it needed to “get out into the country.” The insularity of the national media not only led it to miss Donald Trump’s appeal in the Upper Midwest, the thinking went, but also allowed him to turn journalists into emblems of the political establishment he was elected to destroy.
It’s been about 18 months since then. But Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the ensuing controversy—a disaster for the mainstream media any way you slice it—shows just how right Trump’s instincts were from the start. As Washington journalists argue with each other over the merits of standup comedy and pledge to reform the event in future years, I regretfully urge them to take Trump’s words on the matter Monday morning to heart:
Show me the lie. While tuxedo-clad newspeople were boozing up with politicians and celebrities in a Washington ballroom on Saturday night, Trump was talking to voters in Macomb County, Michigan—part of the Real America™ the national media has supposedly forgotten. It was quite literally the opposite of the way things should be.
For a group that studies politics all day, the press consistently amazes with its inability to think about its own actions through a political lens, particularly with events—like a black-tie gala with a comedic headliner—that will so obviously become a plaything for the culture warriors. Trump, his aides, and their media organs are annoyingly milking this for far more than it’s worth. And there’s exactly one way by which they can be prevented from doing so again next year.