Welcome to the first hundred days, of media hypocrisy.
On inauguration day Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich fired off this dark and bizarre tweet about Donald and Melania’s Trump 10-year-old son, Barron Trump:
Rich deleted her tweet and set her account to private. But the media’s response has been oddly muted considering the tone and implications of her comments.
Rich crossed five red lines:
- She mocked and ridiculed a child
- She personally attacked a child who’s father happens to be president
- She joked about presidential assassinations
- She made light of school shootings
- She denigrated homeschoolers and associated them with school shootings
Rich’s tweet was cruel, extreme and inappropriate by any standard of decency. Any parent of pre-teens knows how hard it is to get them to navigate their world, much less the entire world. Yet, Rich’s comments haven’t generated as much outrage as comments by a former Hill staffer denigrating Sasha and Malia Obama. In 2014, Elizabeth Lauten, a former communications director for former U.S. Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-TN), ridiculed Sasha and Malia’s appearance at the president’s annual Turkey pardoning.
“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class,” Lauten wrote. “Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”
Lauten apologized and resigned.
The Rich tweet is a cultural inflection point that highlight’s the divide between the public’s, the government’s and the media’s understanding of what the media is and should be.
Today, the mainstream media, the MSM or The Fourth Estate, is a place of brick and mortar built on digital sand. The advent of digital media is the most disruptive event in mass communications since the invention of the printing press in 1440. Today, like then, the old monasteries and centers of power – the MSM – are grasping for relevance, power and influence in a world that is rapidly changing.
Trump was elected president because he understood this shift was far more dramatic and advanced than the MSM covering him. The public looks at the Rich tweet and sees hypocrisy and a double standard. They’re asking, “How can an Estate that can’t police itself be trusted to police anyone else?” The answer is they don’t trust the MSM and trust it less every day.
The mainstream reaction to the Rich tweet should be shock and condemnation. The MSM’s inability to offer this reaction shows why it is rapidly becoming less mainstream in American public life.
John Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @johnhart333.