January of 2009, Obama’s Inauguration:
Michael D. Shear at the Washington Post wrote: “A city that had braced for record-breaking attendance swelled with visitors who would… nearly double its population. Before dawn yesterday, more than 1 million people began streaming into the city to bear witness to the event, brushing aside the frigid temperatures and travel problems… Obama looked out at a sea of admirers….”
Peter Baker at the New York Times had an equally flattering portrayal: “The vast crowd that thronged the Mall on a frigid but bright winter day was the largest to attend an inauguration in decades, if not ever.”
January of 2017, Trump’s Inauguration:
Fast forward eight years later, and here is what Shear and Baker wrote jointly in the pages of the New York Times: “Sporadic violence broke out as demonstrators smashed shop windows and burned a limousine, while police officers in riot helmets responded with tear gas. More than 200 people were arrested.”
In other words, while Obama’s inauguration was “record-breaking” and full of “admirers,” Trump’s was filled with “(s)poradic violence” and “smashed shop windows.”
The media at large followed in lockstep in their dishonest portrayal, shouting from the rooftops the same words being used by the likes of Democratic senators.
“Angry” and “grim-faced.”
“Ugly echoes” with anti-Semitic overtones.
These were but a few of the “unbiased” media’s recaps of Trump’s inaugural address.
In each of these cases, purportedly objective journalists from the New York Times and ABC editorialized and mischaracterized Trump’s speech, injecting their opinion where it did not belong because nothing is “darker” and “angrier” than the concept of giving the government back to the people — the central concept of Trump’s address.
Meanwhile, these same writers dubbing Trump’s address “dark” and “angry” called Obama’s inauguration “a day of celebration” with “soaring rhetoric” and a nation that “embrace(d) the moment.”
But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. For Trump could have sang “Mary Had a Little Lamb” surrounded by golden violins and bagpipes, but the press would have reached the same unfounded conclusion: Trump’s speech was “dark.”
The contrasting accounts of two inaugurations not only uncover the bias of the mainstream media, they also completely legitimize the Trump administration’s effort to expose the double standard.
When Sean Spicer took to the podium on Saturday night and defended the crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration, the media went into a tizzy, lambasting Spicer for his defense.
In doing so, they completely missed the message the Trump administration was trying to send. Spicer’s defense of President Trump’s crowd sizes was not some vein effort to gloat over Trump’s appeal; rather, it was an effort to expose media bias.
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stated it perfectly: “(I)t’s really not about crowd size… It’s about honesty in the media… [which] from Day One has been talking about delegitimizing the election, talking about the Russians, talking about everything you can imagine except the fact that we need to move this country forward.”
And the ensuing media coverage only proved Priebus right. According to the Media Research Center, the broadcast news networks spent 12 times more of their coverage on Spicer’s spat over inauguration crowd sizes than covering Trump’s far-reaching executive order that began to roll back parts of Obamacare.
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The disparate and unfair coverage perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Back in August, a New York Times author openly pontificated about whether journalists should forgo objectivity and instead cover Trump as a danger to the country. That’s right – pure, unadulterated journalistic malpractice was openly considered on the pages of the Times and then evidently executed throughout the course of the 2016 election.
This is a complete disgrace and likely the reason that America’s trust in media “has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history.” Under the guise of journalism, many of America’s journalists are waging an active takedown effort against the Trump administration. The good news, however, is that the American people are wise enough to see right through it.
Kayleigh McEnany is a CNN political commentator who recently received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and also studied politics at Oxford University.
The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.