The media played the question-and-answer game with the Trump administration this week. The White House proposed adding a census question on citizenship and the media resoundingly said no.
Major news organizations screamed that there was “a growing backlash” against the question. Not from the public, mind you, just from Democrats.
NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker explained that there were “several Democratic state attorneys general poised to sue the Trump administration.” Because it’s novel that the left sues Trump? They’ve filed so many lawsuits that they’ve probably helped lower lawyer unemployment by a sizable amount.
Several outlets warned that critics say this “will result in a population undercount.” CNN argued the move was “a big deal.”
CNN Political Analyst John Avlon concluded that the change was “designed to drive down participation and benefit Republicans politically.”
Lefty Vice predicted the question “could reshape American politics for a decade or more.” Mother Jones headlined. “Trump Is Rigging the Census.” And The New York Times editorialized an almost-identical view with, “The Trump Administration Sabotages the Census.”
HuffPost tried hard to spin the question into a Republican concern, suggesting: “The controversial question may cost some GOP-led states seats in Congress and electoral votes in presidential elections.” PBS cautioned: “Democrats fear immigrants will skip census with citizenship query.”
That was the common theme. It was never a media objection about gathering the information. The reaction was simply to provide cover for Democrats.
Many outlets pushed a falsehood, claiming the question hadn’t been used in several decades. ABC anchor David Muir was one of many to get it wrong. “For the first time in more than 60 years, the census will now ask people whether they are American citizens,” he told viewers.
The census used that question last in 1950, but only on the short form. The long form included the question from 1970 to 2000, but it was discontinued in 2010 under President Barack Obama. In other words, it only skipped one census survey.
That caused widespread confusion. The Washington Post couldn’t even agree with itself. A Thursday story used a number hard to find elsewhere: “But the Census Bureau sends it out only to 3.5 million households a year, or one out of every 38.” However, a March 27 Associated Press story that ran on the paper’s site says that “citizenship or related questions were asked of about 1 in 6 households on the census ‘long form,’ which has since been retired.”
The census still has copies online of the 2000 long form and it agrees with AP. “On average, about 1 in every 6 households will receive the long form.”
The Federalist ripped apart the arguments against the question. “If asking about citizenship is illegal, every census since 1890 has been a crime,” it wrote.
Media Hate Another Trump Appointment: Journalists know more than everybody about everything. In January, they were sure that Dr. Ronny Jackson was just another “Trump fanboy” or sycophant. Jackson was caught up in what was termed the “girther” controversy when he pronounced the president was in good health and just 239 pounds. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta even declared without examining President Trump, that “the President has heart disease.”
The president nominated Navy Rear Adm. Jackson as the new head of the Department of Veterans Affairs this week and the media once more went ballistic. Jackson, who had been President Obama’s physician, was soon questioned with the refrain: Is he “up to the job?”
The reports tended to ignore that Jackson is both an admiral and a doctor. The medical experience might help him fix the VA, which has been embroiled in scandals “in which some veterans died while waiting months for medical appointments,” according to Time.
The media either skewered Jackson’s inexperience running a bureaucracy or depicted him as a Trump loyalist. CNN Political Analyst Ryan Lizza said President Trump has a consistent style with his appointees. “What do they all have in common? They all have excelled at going on TV and defending Trump in the most over the top way and flattering his ego.”
MSNBC’s Katy Tur called the choice “interesting timing” and possibly a Trump plan “to change the subject” from possible pardons for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.
The New York Times even ran an op-ed by Yale forensic psychiatrist Bandy Lee and Norman Eisen headlined “Ronny Jackson’s Disturbing Lack of Independence.” What the opinion piece failed to tell you is that Lee was the one who briefed Democrats in Congress claiming President Trump is mentally unfit.
Liberal Vox depicted Lee as “leading” the effort it called: “The case for evaluating the president’s mental capacity – by force if necessary.” Yes, “by force.” Apparently, Lee had fantasies of Secret Service agents dragging away a sitting president to force him to have psychiatric tests.
TV Has Someone Who Voted For Trump: Surprise! Sixty-plus million people voted for Donald Trump and some of them even watch TV. That’s what Hollywood discovered this week when the reboot of “Roseanne” launched to huge ratings. It’s what “Today” Co-host Hoda Kotb called “red states, ratings gold!”
While the show was in no way right-wing, it did something novel for TV. It depicted the lead character as pro-Trump. The first episode showed jokes going back and forth as the divided family tried to reconcile. It ended with Roseanne giving a prayer over dinner and saying: “But most of all, Lord…. Thank you for making America great again!”
The media generally gave the show good marks, but journalists still wrestled with a character they so opposed leading a show. Washington Post TV Critic Hank Stuever compared Roseanne to another character the media hated – 1970s bigot Archie Bunker. Steuver wrote: “Rebooted Roseanne is a proud ‘deplorable.’ Can she be the Trump era’s Archie Bunker?”
Deadline summed up the Tinseltown reaction: “‘Roseanne’ Revival’s Huge Debut Stuns Hollywood, Prompts Soul-Searching.” (Hollywood bigwigs looking for their souls? Talk about impossible chores.) Even President Trump gave Roseanne kudos. “Look at Roseanne! I called her yesterday! Look at her ratings!”
But conservative radio host Ben Shapiro was quick to point out that the show isn’t conservative, describing it as “one big lie about Trump.” “The lie that the show tells is that the reason people voted for Trump is because they were dissatisfied with the economy and because they were looking to give Donald Trump a chance to fix it. And it wasn’t about cultural issues. That’s not true.”
No One Wants To Take …: The liberal argument for gun restrictions has long been that they don’t want to take away guns. They just want “commonsense gun reform.” Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens shot that down with his New York Times op-ed headlined: “Repeal the Second Amendment.”
Suddenly the news was devoted to open discussions about … taking guns and gun rights. Longtime TV host Larry King agreed with Stevens, declaring: “Yeah, repeal it.” He told TMZ: “It’s poorly written. What did they mean by ‘militia?’”
The Washington Post followed with survey results. “One in five Americans wants the Second Amendment to be repealed, national survey finds,” it reported.
Liberal outlets practically fell over themselves to try and downplay it, saying such talk aided pro-gun supporters. Vox called the idea “a counterproductive distraction.” Slate said the call was “staggeringly misplaced.” CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo even denied that Stevens had done exactly what he had done and instead referred to it as a “boogeyman.”