Is the media finding its sea legs?

The times they may be a-changing.

Donald Trump has brought all kinds of things into American politics this year. Immature name-calling. Quarter-inch deep policy proposals. Racism, sexism and religion-ism. Mocking disabled people. Calling Mexicans rapists. Threatening to ban a religion. Calling a judge unfair because he’s of Mexican heritage and Trump wants to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. And more.

One thing he may also have unintentionally introduced is more honest reporting by the media. He may call them “dishonest” but the media finally is finding its game.

In just the last few days: the New York Times ran a two-column NEWS ANALYSIS to lead the paper because Trump finally admitted (I think) that Barack Obama is a natural born American. But he had to add that the birther controversy was started by Hillary Clinton in her 2008 campaign. A flat-out bald-and-bold-faced lie. I’m not sure the Times, or any paper, ever led their paper with a news analysis before. And the analysis was that Trump has lied — for years and as recently as days before his big announcement — about Obama’s birthplace.

And, he did that after hyping that he’d have a major announcement which drew all the media and, of course, live cable news coverage. Problem was the coverage was of his new Washington, D.C., hotel. And he kept everyone waiting more than an hour to make an almost two-sentence declaration of Obama’s heritage. Something we’ve all known for years. As the President announced the next day: and in other news, the earth is round.

And then, the media began to shift. We had the Times lead news analysis the next day. We heard John King say on CNN air that the media were “played again” by Trump. We saw everyone from Anderson to Jake to others not letting Trump surrogates get away with furthering the lie and trying to get them to focus on the question asked and answer it. And what proof was there that Hillary’s campaign started the birther rumor? (Oh, it was a volunteer in Iowa who wrote a memo and was fired immediately.

Finally, the media was doing its real job: Getting at the truth and not allowing blatant lies from being told on its air and on its pages. Getting to the truth for the American people. That’s the media’s job.

This, is a good thing. And it should hold true for Trump and Clinton. It’s tricky. You have to know they are lying but this year, that’s pretty much all the time for Trump. And he shouldn’t get away with getting hours of free air time for his inane speeches, believe me.

So, kudos to the media…so far.


Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog:

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