June 19, 2016

In case you have never been in the liberal blogosphere before, the beltway media has a religion, and that religion's First Commandment is, "Thou Shalt Always Say Both Sides Do It."

You are not allowed to say one side is wrong.

You are not allowed to say one side is worse.

You can say Candidate A said this and Candidate B said that. But if what they say is opposite....

You are not allowed to say one side is lying or wrong, even if anyone anywhere can prove that.

The existence of Donald Trump in the Presidential race, his constant lying and pathological narcissism, is the strongest challenge to that religion in the history of cable news.

And once Trump removed the press credentials from a number of outlets, that ironically removed the scales from their eyes so they could see that "unbiased" coverage of a liar is actually biased.

This morning's Reliable Sources Panel, especially Carl Bernstein, have had enough with attempting to provide "balanced" coverage to a candidate who lies so much.

The whole transcript from CNN is here, but here are the important lines:

STELTER: Carl, let me ask you about this. I asked Trump, when you're in the White House, if you're elected president, will you kick reporters out of the Briefing Room? He said, no, no, the White House is different. He would never try to get a reporter's credentials revoked if he were president. Do you believe him?

BERNSTEIN: First of all, he's shown himself throughout this campaign to be a pathological liar.

There's very little truthful that comes out of his mouth. So let's start there. But, really, this is about a candidate for president of the United States who does not believe in a free press, keeps talking about changing libel laws and suing the press, and has instituted many, many lawsuits throughout his career.

But, more than anything, as Dana is getting at, the underlying story here is, who is Donald Trump? And I would say and have said that we are seeing the nominee of a major political party for the first time in our history who is a neo-fascist, a particularly American kind of neo-fascist, a strongman who doesn't believe in Democratic institutions.

His bigoted -- his bigotry is evident, and we need to keep looking at it.


STELTER: But even pathological liar, are we at the point now, a year into this campaign, this unusual campaign, where it's appropriate to call him a pathological liar?

AVLON: Yes, absolutely.

Look, this is a guy, candidate who lies with unusual enthusiasm. There have been studies to show that, on the stump, he lies as much as once every five minutes. And so it's our job as journalists to hold him to account, to insist on -- a fact-free debate -- part of the sin that gets created is too often journalist organizations, for a variety of reasons, slide into that mess of moral equivalence, where they do, on the one hand, on the other.

And if you end up printing something a candidate says that you know to be false, you become part of the problem. It's our job to actually push back on that.

You know, what happens is, too many organization, frankly, I think have been uncomfortable holding him to account because they're afraid of losing access. They're afraid of offending his supporters. And that stops them from doing their duty.

Psssst. Hey Chuck Todd, I think they're talking about YOU.

MILBANK: I mean, look, he is going to be the Republican nominee, barring something unforeseen. You can't ignore him. We have our civic duty to cover that.

But we can do things so that we stop giving him this credulous, uncritical coverage that -- Ted Cruz was right. He got about $2 billion worth of the equivalent of ads from the media for free. So I'm saying, stop taking the -- his rallies live. Stop letting him call into...


STELTER: But those are not advertisements. Showing the rallies are not advertisements. That is news coverage. And then it is critiqued afterwards and explained afterwards.

MILBANK: Well...

Well...maybe having all three cable news networks cover an empty Trump podium for over 30 minutes was a bit extreme.

STELTER: Do you that's not sufficient?

MILBANK: No, I think it needs to be critiqued in real time. And it just simply isn't.

And the idea of having a fact-checking segment after the fact, I mean, I think a lot of us are hung up in the news business about this so- called objectivity, and saying, well, he said this, and she said this, and not saying, no, these things are wrong.

The problem with all of this is, of course, that because Trump is such a non-Etch-a-Sketch outlier it's not like the beltway press is all of a sudden going to go all honest with the rest of the Republican Party.

Don't expect Chuck Todd or his beltway co-horts to throw away their Congressional contact list or "fact check live" the congressmen they have on weekly. Every single Republican Senator ever will still lie right to their faces every Sunday morning, and all the Beltway hosts will do is mumble a weak "both sides" excuse forever and ever obedient to the Beltway Commandment, Amen.

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