It’s rarely been hard for a thinking American to dislike the mainstream media, but the reaction of prominent reporters to President Donald Trump testing positive for the coronavirus last week has made it easier than ever.
And in one Twitter post on Monday, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy practically begged for it.
Until that post was published, Tracy was probably best known as reportedly being the only American journalist to have been on the scene during a much-hyped public relations event in North Korea to witness the alleged destruction of a nuclear testing facility.
Now he’s going to be known as the American who claimed to be more comfortable in the People’s Republic of Korea than at the People’s House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at The White House. This is just crazy.
— Ben Tracy (@benstracy) October 5, 2020
“I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I do reporting at the White House,” Tracy wrote, giving vent to the child that seems to lurk beneath the grown-up veneer of just about every member of the White House press corps.
The childish absurdity is breathtaking. This is a man whom Americans are supposed to trust to bring news of national affairs to them in an at least somewhat-intelligible manner, yet he’s sniveling about potential infection and comparing the plum journalistic assignment of a White House beat to traveling through one of the world’s most notoriously hellish communist regimes.
And social media users noticed.
With the amount of propaganda you push i can see why you would feel safer in North Korea
— Grizzly Johnson (@UnusSupra32) October 5, 2020
simping for a dictator. I hope he see’s this bro.
— TXSportsman (@olfldguy) October 5, 2020
It’s important to note that Tracy’s own reporting from the Hermit Kingdom made it clear that he and his traveling ilk enjoyed virtually none of the freedoms that Westerners take for granted.
“The journey to the remote mountainous site took nearly 15 hours, most of which we spent on this specially outfitted North Korean train. In the dining car, waiters wore white jackets and served an elaborate 10-course meal. But in the sleeping quarters, there were strict rules,” Tracy wrote.
“Government minders came by and said a shade had to be down the entire time. Apparently they didn’t want us to see out the windows, to see perhaps how people are living in North Korea.”
If Tracy defied the dictator Kim Jong Un’s Pyongyang government with anything like the insults he apparently has no compunction about hurling at the Trump White House, he didn’t mention it in his report.
(It’s a pretty solid bet he didn’t. Maybe having “government minders” around makes reporters feel too “safe” to criticize anything. And why should a professional observer want to look out a train window, anyway?)
“CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy (@benstracy) was the only American broadcast news correspondent invited by North Korea…”
Well, Kim does tend to invite those who do his bidding. https://t.co/WkEoAfyaLB
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 5, 2020
Maybe Tracy thought he was being funny. Maybe he thought it was the kind of hyperbole that would get Americans focused on the grave threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Or maybe he was serious, and really does like the idea of being coddled in a gilded cage by a murderous dictatorship that thinks nothing of treating its entire population like inmates in a huge concentration camp.
Regardless, he did himself no favors as the mockery flowed in.
Journalist: why don’t people take us seriously? Also journalists: pic.twitter.com/EaIModaiR7
— Shane McGonigal (@ShaneMcGonigal) October 5, 2020
Better find a fainting couch, I do declare it seems you’ve caught the vapors.
— Mike Whiskey❌ (@mnwybs) October 5, 2020
Oh yeah. Hard-hitting, tough-guy journo right there. Really put the screws to ol’ Kim Jong Un 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/5MnRBGptpT
— Trey Felder (@TbirdTr3y_10) October 5, 2020
Yes. Feelings over facts. Par for the course. You people are insane.
— Leonydus Johnson (@LeonydusJohnson) October 5, 2020
I dont think you appreciate the level of hatred and contempt the average person feels toward you.
— Michael Malice (@michaelmalice) October 5, 2020
Much as liberals in the mainstream media, in Hollywood and on late-night comedy would love to believe, American conservatives are no less intellectually capable than their liberal compatriots.
(In fact, considering that conservatives are far less likely than liberals to patronize the mainstream media, listen to Hollywood celebrities, or take late-night comedians seriously, it’s almost certain that critical thinking is an ability that leans to the right.)
Most Americans, even liberal Americans, understand that the media is biased toward liberals (the fringiest of the left that thinks all of American media is too conservative barely merits a mention).
Yet mainstream media reporters continue to present themselves, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, as non-biased “journalists.”
For alleged professionals who live in that world view, a tweet like Tracy’s is probably nothing remarkable. Maybe they even think it’s funny for a supposed reporter to compare working in the White House during the coronavirus crisis to reporting from a vast gulag, where the truth is either distorted or outright concealed (“keep those window shades down.”)
For the rest of the country, where Americans tend to live, a tweet like Tracy’s is one more reason to dislike and distrust the mainstream media.
It’s never been that hard — but now, it’s never been easier.
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