Reporters foolishly act like liberal political activists.
Donald Trump has long demonstrated a knack for getting his political opponents to make fools of themselves. Sen. Marco Rubio learned this the hard way on the 2016 campaign trail when he tried to out-Trump Mr. Trump. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former CIA chief John Brennan got caught in the trap last week.
Mr. Cuomo took issue with Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” telling an audience full of Democrats that “we’re not going to make America great again—it was never that great.” The audience booed. Mr. Cuomo was attempting to insult the president but wound up insulting the country and then spent several days walking back what he said. Mr. Cuomo’s late father, Mario, also served as governor of New York. He once remarked: “There are few things more amusing in the world of politics than watching moderate Republicans charging to the right in pursuit of greater glory.” His son is evidence that such behavior is bipartisan.
Mr. Brennan, who called Mr. Trump’s July press conference with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin “nothing short of treasonous” on Twitter, had his security clearance revoked by the president last week. But during an appearance on MSNBC a few days later, he rescinded his comment. “I didn’t mean that he committed treason. But it was a term that I used,” he said. “Sometimes my Irish comes out.” Mr. Trump’s statements after the meeting with Mr. Putin were roundly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, and Mr. Brennan was free to add his voice. But a former top intelligence officer who wants to decry the president’s reckless behavior on cable news and social media might want to be more mindful of his own behavior.
Likewise, the political press has decided that its job isn’t merely to inform the public but also to take down the current White House, even if such efforts cost journalism what little credibility it has left. Last Thursday, hundreds of newspapers nationwide simultaneously published editorials attacking Mr. Trump in the guise of promoting a free press. The president regularly accuses news outlets of biased coverage. He prefers tweets and rallies to news conferences because he doesn’t trust the Washington Post and CNN to give him or his agenda a fair shake. Mr. Trump’s base comprises tens of millions of voters convinced that the media is as eager as the Democratic Party to run their guy out of office, and last week’s stunt only feeds those fears. Journalists who don’t like what the president has said about the press might want to start behaving like objective reporters instead of liberal political activists.
Take the economy, which is faring better under Mr. Trump by many measures than it has in a generation or longer. Each week throughout this summer has brought almost nothing but economic sunshine. The pace of factory hiring has more than doubled since last year. A July survey from the National Federation of Independent Business notes that optimism among small-business owners, who employ nearly half the nation’s private-sector workforce, is at levels not seen since 1983. Wages are also increasing, which was reflected in a Commerce Department report last week that showed retail sales—on groceries, restaurants and clothing—far exceeding economic forecasts and surging at double the rate of inflation.
The best feature of this economic growth is its inclusiveness. The simultaneous gains among various demographic groups is something the country hasn’t experienced in a long time, if ever. Older workers, women, minorities, seniors and the less-educated all are faring better in the labor force today than they did under President Obama. The jobless rate for Americans age 16 to 24 hit a 50-year low this summer. In May, the black unemployment rate dipped to 5.9%, the lowest number on record at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. People who had stopped looking for work are sending out resumes. More people are quitting jobs because they are confident that a better one awaits. Employers are increasing perks and benefits in an effort to attract new hires and keep the ones they already have. There were 6.7 million job openings last quarter, a 17-year high.
When the media reports this good news, the stories too often resemble a Democratic National Committee press release. The main objective is to assure you that Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory reform had nothing to do with it, that his predecessor deserves the real credit or that it was all just inevitable. Hogwash.
For all of his faults, the president deserves some praise for the ramped-up economy, just as he’ll deserve blame if his counterproductive trade wars reverse these gains over time. Covering the Russia meddling investigation and keeping the White House honest is important, but these things are hardly the sum of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Reporters look foolish when they insist otherwise.