Widely improper journo-activism against Brett Kavanaugh has reminded us again how far Beltway scribes lean to the Left. Many news reporters took up the Democrats’ banner at every stage, writing stories to follow whatever theme the party was messaging on any given day.
This reality of liberal media bias is nothing new, of course, but there’s a deeper and more interesting truth behind the mindset of those who cover the news and try to shape public perception of events.
Beltway journalists, including the few conservatives, are obsessed with every minor matter that comes across Twitter. These poor souls live and die with every political utterance, every innuendo, every smear, every jot and tittle of political gossip. We're not immune to this ourselves. But we endeavor not to lose sight, as so many people in our line of work do, of the fact that there is much of importance to the public that is not retailed endlessly through the well-curated Twitter feeds of like-minded Beltway journalists.
President Trump's administration is, for us inside the Beltway, a never-ending circus. The president's frequent tweets, first of all, are ridiculous, impolitic, or frequently offensive. White House controversies — there are real onesand others created by sloppy reporting nearly every week — are a constant.
But does the rest of America live and breathe this stuff? Does it view the world this way? Do ordinary people care or even notice most of the things that send denizens of the Beltway scrambling for the defibrillator?
The fact the 2016 election result caught so much of the press off-guard should have forced everyone to rethink their obsessions. What matters to political hacks is often of little concern to the public. Most of America neither knows nor cares whether Trump insulted a reporter during a news conference the other day. Most couldn’t explain the acronym CFPB, let alone explain the recent succession controversy at that agency.
This isn’t to suggest that your fellow Americans are stupid, disengaged, or poorly educated. They don't care about these things, which is as much to their credit as otherwise. They care more about other stuff. They live lives healthily unobsessed about Washington’s self-important political class.
What they see is what is both obvious and most important: Even though Trump is graceless, thin-skinned, uninterested in details, and apparently deceptive, the sky has not fallen on America since his election. Most things are going pretty well, and certainly better than they were before he was elected. This would explain why, at a polling average of nearly 44 percent job approval, Trump is almost as popular as he was at the time of his inauguration. And in favorability terms, he is significantly more popular than he was at any point of the 2016 election.
It would also explain why Gallup found last month that public satisfaction with the direction of the country is currently higher, and dissatisfaction currently lower, than at any point during Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency.
In the real world, the economy is booming. Growth is soaring at a rate that Obama said was no longer possible. Job creation is up and unemployment is down, especially among black and Hispanic workers, who the anti-Trump crowd would have you believe are afflicted by presidential racism. The labor market is so tight that employers are raising wages and overlooking job candidates’ blemishes, including criminal convictions.
Exports are up substantially over the past year, in spite of Trump’s counterproductive tariff war. Manufacturing output is about to hit its pre-recession high, and there are 400,000 more manufacturing jobs today than there were when Trump took office. The stock market, the vehicle for most retirement savings, is hitting new highs this week. The housing market is neither frothy nor lagging. The price of gasoline is reasonable.
Whether or not you’re willing to acknowledge the enormous role that deregulation and corporate tax reform have played in making such things possible, you cannot credibly pretend that the economy is doing poorly, which is why Democrats are so silent about it as the midterm elections approach.
Journalists have much more to obsess over in Trump’s unconventional style of foreign policy. But that’s not going so badly, either. The U.S. has not mired itself in new wars. It is completing the job of crushing the Islamic State, which it began under Obama. It is reaching out to North Korea, as former President Bill Clinton once did, pressuring Iran, as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan both did, and vigorously countering China as perhaps no one has done before.
The U.S. under Trump is also continuing to punish Russia’s leaders for their warmongering, terrorism, murder, and meddling in U.S. elections. Yes, Trump is arguably doing more about Russia than Obama, whose obsequious posture toward President Vladimir Putin is often forgotten by those with selective memories.
Trump is embracing and expanding trade with India, defending Taiwan, and, for a change, punishing terrorism against Israel by defunding those who have long used American money to encourage it.
In short, take a mental health break from social media and talk to real people, and you’re likely to realize that most of them don’t think the country is in trouble or that Trump’s presidency is a disaster.
A month from now, voters are expected to follow the historic norm and repudiate the party in power. If they reprimand Republicans more gently than the Beltway media expect, we will not be surprised.