In order to frame President Trump as a Grinch one needs to ignore the press provoking the reaction.
We seem to enjoy taking the mainstream press to task for its constant insurrections against journalistic ethics. Okay, at least I revel in the practice. But one of the prevailing characteristics of many in the press is a distinct lack of self-awareness. Far too many journalists are self-serious and tend to operate within a bubble, one they feel is representative of the country, while it is a stark departure.
Case in point was when New York Times reporter and White House correspondent for the networks Annie Karni was reflective about the loss of a yuletide event in her vocational circle. It was noted by her that this year it has become a reality that a once-vaunted tradition among journalists has not been unpacked for the holiday and remains stashed away in the attic.
The canceling of the WH media christmas party was a story last year, and now it's just gone and it's not even a thing, like the press briefing and the NYT/WaPo subscriptions.
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) December 11, 2019
While Karni is not necessarily being overly melodramatic here her wistfulness, or at least the remembrance, does still carry with a certain level of obliviousness. While I get that this does carry significance for the media members — it being an honor to attend and something many had shared with family members over the years — it does not exactly resonate with the general public. At all.
Take the time to scroll through the comments under Karni’s tweet here and you will only see reactions ranging from apathy to applause, and nary a single expression of sympathy. The fact that the press does not get to attend a lavish catered affair in the public’s White House is not the kind of news that gets hearts to melt out of empathy.
While Annie sounds off-put by this reality, my question is why is there not the typical reaction to this from the press – shouldn’t she be praising the fact that we will be saving a significant amount of tax dollars in bypassing this expensive affair?
But Karni seems willfully oblivious to a harsh reality to this change in a D.C. tradition. While it appears she is painting the administration with a broad brush of Grinch-like sourness what she elides in her comment is where the cause of this change lies. The Trump administration did not cancel the media Christmas party without cause. In fact, the press itself provoked this very result.
While it will be one year ago tomorrow that the event was officially suspended, the reason for this extends back to the Christmas season prior. That was when CNN made the dramatic gesture of declaring their network would be boycotting the annual event. This was met with much enthusiastic reaction in media circles, because of the tension between the press and the administration. And yet, when last year came around the administration shrugged and never announced another party was planned the same media members expressed outrage. In fact, some of those were from CNN itself.
April Ryan, a frequently dramatic reactionary reporter in the White House orbit, was one of those dismayed by the cancellation last year.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) December 13, 2018
One needs to be especially obtuse to even utter those words, considering not only that her own network had lashed out against the event in particular, but Ryan herself gleefully touted the move just one year prior.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) November 29, 2017
Understand that this is the woman who, in 2017, gladly declared she would refuse an invitation to the White House event. She stated she would not be willing to break bread with those who do not like her. Yet one year later she is bemoaning that the administration pulled the plug on the Christmas lights to an event she dramatically had denounced. Her ‘’I refuse to go / How dare you’’ paradox is laughable.
But this is the contemporary media complex; we are to only listen to their outrage, and never apply reason and research to the claims they make. We are supposed to simply be upset at the president for canceling this event, and ignore the fact that the action is one that basically agrees with the stance of the same press complex.