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The Media Who Cried Wolf


I am old enough to remember the media’s obsessive hatred of George W. Bush. Countless MSNBC hosts opened their nightly shows in the early 2000s with some reference to George W. Bush being Hitler while simultaneously being Dick Cheney’s puppet for Halliburton. While Barack Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize for simply showing up, Bush was never given an ounce of credit for his PEPFAR program that saved the lives of millions of people from HIV in more than 50 countries around the world.

One of the most interesting and consistent critiques of the GOP by the media was that the Republican Party should have gone with John McCain instead of Bush. They described McCain as a “maverick” Republican who wasn’t afraid of going after the far right and knew when to compromise with the Democrats. The media’s love of McCain abruptly halted in 2008 when McCain won the Republican nomination and faced off against Barack Obama in the general election. Immediately, McCain was deemed to be an aging, racist, war-mongering radical who had Hitler-like tendencies and was unfit to be President of the United States. The unvarnished attacks went so far as to include allegations that he continued to suffer from PTSD from his time as a prisoner of war and could potentially lead the country back into war.

The media immediately went to war with Mitt Romney when he secured the Republican nomination in 2012 claiming he must be a racist homophobe because of his Mormon background. In addition, the media dug up trivial stories from Romney’s time in college and went so far as to claim that Romney put a dog on top of a car.

But then came Donald Trump in 2016. Multiple hosts, including my friend Bill Mahar, admitted that they had sensationalized their attacks on previous Republicans and that this time, they were serious. The racist, sexist, bigoted, and homophobic claims they made against Bush, McCain, and Romney were largely symbolic, but this time they meant it. Donald Trump was a real-life bad guy despite their identical claims over the preceding decade.

The American people heard these claims as the media’s version of the boy who cried wolf. Time after time, we were falsely warned that the Republican was a dictator, and only now does the media claim they are serious. The reality is the left is fine with dictators, so long as they are good progressives who abide by the laws of critical theory. Che Guevara operated as a dictator killing thousands of innocent people but did so in an equitable way through freedom fighting. Hamas waged a ‘freedom fighting” campaign on October 7th by raping women and killing the babies of their oppressors and are therefore heroes to the left.

The critical theory lens that the left views society through complicates their view that democracy is on the ballot this November. Middle-American voters who would rather watch Sportscenter than the evening news see a Democratic Party obsessed with democracy but sympathizing with dictatorial actors around the globe. Meanwhile, their grocery bills are higher, crime is on the rise, and they see a world that is immensely less stable than just four years ago. But the media wants them to know that this time they are serious. This time the Democrats are right and democracy really is on the ballot. I just don’t think that message works.

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Erick Erickson hosts the Erick Erickson Show every weekday from 12pm to 3pm ET, now in national syndication from his flagship station, WSB in Atlanta, GA.