When President Obama ascended to the White House, it was understood that the media would be working overtime to cast his administration in only the most glowing, golden light. This was a form of condescension – to be clear, racial condescension. And like most unabashed dips into the world of racial fantasy, Chris Matthew’s tingling leg and David Brooks’s “perfectly creased pants” quotes are only two of the more embarrassing artifacts of a media reduced to Mandingo-level fanaticizing about the first black president.
Ultimately, the media did Obama no favors by behaving this way. Nobody is done a favor by being objectified, even positively. Had the media treated him like a real person, rather than a noble symbol, Obama might have (occasionally) ended up sounding a little less like Jimmy Carter … Jimmy Carter on an unpleasant power trip.
The minions of the mainstream media stroked Obama’s ego because they wanted to bask in the reflected glory of the fact the president was black. The toxic feedback loop of identity politics amped up when Obama was elected, and it only grew stronger as Obama played one race card after another. Now we’re experiencing the dark side of that same identity politics orgy – the part where the Republican successor is demonized because he is not Obama.
Never-Trumpers in the GOP believe that Trump is being attacked because he’s Trump. But do they really believe that any other Republican would have been treated differently?
Would President Cruz be enjoying a media honeymoon right about now? Would the cast of Saturday Night Live embrace Bush III with cute skits? President Rubio might get a few brownie points for ethnic identity — if he pandered hard and long enough – but he would soon re-learn that the identity politics game is always susceptible to leftist default.
Would academicians pulling six-figure salaries stop violently protesting capitalism if President Walker was its messenger? Would pro-life politics get a pass if President Fiorina was the new face of the GOP?
Of course not. Trump definitely generates some of his own bad press, but the larger issue is extremist media bias. The mainstream media is at war with America. This war is existential. We would do well to remember that.