If only the weather were as easy to predict as the media. Heading into Saturday's Trump rally in Tulsa, Americans didn't have to wonder what the storylines would be. If it was a massive crowd, then the president is an irresponsible narcissist exposing thousands to coronavirus. If there was even a single empty seat, then the country despises him, his base has abandoned him, and the campaign is dead in the water. These days, it's not about the news -- it's about the desired narrative. And the liberal media has had theirs fixed since day one.
"You can see it coming a mile away," the Federalist's John Daniel Davidson told me on Thursday. Like us, he'd been tracking the big outlet's build up. Days before Air Force One even touched down in Oklahoma, the media was seeding the ground with spin. "You've already seen outlets like the New York Times run articles with headlines like 'Could Trump's Rally in Tulsa Be a Super Spreader Event for the Coronavirus?' They didn't write any headlines like that about these Black Lives Matter protests. In fact, just the opposite. They played up the fact that [these] 'experts' had come out saying... 'These rallies are necessary for public health.'" The double standard is crazy, Davidson said. The president is dangerous and reckless. But mass riots with tens of thousands of people are okay. The hypocrisy of social distancing is alive and well.
And if it wasn't enough that the president had the spin to contend with, he also had the desperate forces of the Left -- who are so terrified by Trump's popularity that they tried to snatch up all the tickets. Their ringleader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), didn't even mind bragging about it -- not realizing that her admissions made the cheating side look weak. "They're not even embarrassed about trying to [interfere]," RedState's Nick Arama points out. "In fact, they think they're clever." But in the end, "That just reveals how empty they feel their own candidate, Joe Biden, is."
But there was other sabotage too. The blocking of metal detectors, the mayor's coincidental "curfew," and the threats from anti-Trump radicals made some people think twice -- including the campaign, who canceled all of its outdoor activities. When reporters seized on the slightly lower turnout, Trump campaign manage Brad Parscale fired back, "The fact is that a week's worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally." Why, he wondered out loud, do we even "bother credentialing media for events when they don't do their full jobs as professionals?"
If they had, the rest of America would know: the Bank of Oklahoma Center wasn't "empty." In the age of a global pandemic and waves of unrest, any suggestion that the bottom has fallen out of the president's support is just wishful thinking. "The arena wasn't completely full," Arama agrees, but "it was still a big crowd, about three-quarters full [despite 10,000 new cases of coronavirus in the state], with people waiting days to get inside and millions watching on YouTube." And yet, if you listened to liberal media, you'd think there wasn't a soul there. "Joe Biden has trouble even filling a room and has to have 'private speeches,' so [that] no one can talk about the lack of enthusiasm for him."
So if you're wondering why the media is in the basement of people's trust, it's simple: they've earned it. The liberal press isn't just the "fourth estate" reporting the news and holding power accountable. They see themselves as the active resistance to Donald Trump. "And we've seen this throughout the Trump presidency," Davidson shakes his head, "starting from the general election campaign in the fall of 2016, immediately with Trump Russia collusion, the Mueller probe, the horrible treatment of Justice Kavanaugh, the impeachment farce, then to the coronavirus coverage, and now to the Black Lives Matter rallies and the double standards. [It's] a pattern of dishonesty, disingenuousness and in some cases, outright deception... and it undermines their credibility at every turn."