Commentary

Politico’s Self-Censorship Proves the Corruption (Yet Again) of the Liberal Media

By Craig Shirley | April 25, 2021 | 4:39pm EDT
Politico Editor-in-Chief Matthew Kaminski gives a TEDx Talk. (Photo credit: YouTube/TEDx Talks)
Politico Editor-in-Chief Matthew Kaminski gives a TEDx Talk. (Photo credit: YouTube/TEDx Talks)

Once upon a time, in America, there was a dirty deal in hell between the media and a Democratic administration.

If you think this sounds like a far-fetched conspiracy theory from a conservative, then you’d be dead wrong. I’m not far-fetched, I’m certainly not a conspiracy theorist, but I am a conservative and rational being who’s lived long enough to see this sort of thing happen time and time again.

The latest egregious example of this madness arrived this week in the form of a report from The Washington Examiner, a decent and sensible paper. The report details how Politico has become the latest outlet to kowtow to President Joe Biden’s farcical assertion that the flood of illegals crowding our southern border is not a crisis.

Indeed, the term “crisis” and Biden’s aversion to using it when describing immigration has come to define his fledgling administration. But rather than hold Biden accountable when clearly there is a crisis, Politico has instructed its staff to follow the Associated Press’ new guidelines forbidding the use of the word when referring to the border.

Ostensibly, this is to avoid characterizing illegals in ways "which could portray illegals as a negative, harmful influence." What this really means is that Politico now feels the need to protect Biden, since Jen Psaki is woefully underqualified for that monumental task. 

It’s sad to watch, particularly in a publication that once prided itself on being a straight-shooter. This was once true, but like so much of the media establishment that operates in Washington, Politico is now just another division of the Democratic National Committee’s press arm. It is now just an irrelevant rag not fit to be read.

Truth be told, I’m not that shocked at this blatant ideological display. After all, not that long ago Politico had to force down a revolt of its staffers for the audacity of allowing Ben Shapiro to run a byline. 

Maybe the decision to remove the word “crisis” from immigration stories is just a show of good faith so the news staff won’t have their feelings hurt anymore, but I digress.

What’s most troubling about this situation is that it directly underscores the supposed duty of the free press in a republic. While liberal outlets running interference for Democrats is certainly nothing new, it nonetheless is worth mentioning since it’s only an impediment to making any real progress in solving the border crisis.

First of all, worrying about how we characterize illegals misses the point in defining the crisis. Many Americans, particularly those of Irish, Hispanic, or Asian descent have only come here in the last 150 years. 

Those Americans can relate more closely to what is driving the illegals to flee Central America, as their ancestors came here not long ago for similar reasons (e.g. economic and social upheaval). More to the point, I believe most Americans in general would be sensible enough to have some empathy for why these folks want a better life, they just want them to do it legally. 

In short, calling the situation a crisis or using language like a “surge” of illegals isn’t going to make the average, centrist American suddenly hate illegals.

On a deeper level though, this refusal by Politico or the AP to address the crisis as such means that their reporters now feel less obligated to call Biden and Psaki on their B.S. even as hundreds of thousands of illegals continue to travel north. Biden will, in turn, feel even more safe and comfortable talking to Politico while ignoring an outlet like Fox because he knows Politico is there to lay down the palm branches for him to walk on.

The less pressure Biden feels from the media on the border crisis, the less likely he is to try and solve it. And the less Biden gives a damn, the worse it becomes for states like Arizona and Nevada.

In blunt terms, it’s a cluster, and Politico deciding to play nice with Biden instead of behaving like a news outlet isn’t helping. But they are too busy streetwalking for Biden.

I’m not writing this to argue that if Politico grew a spine and had its staff call things what they are that our immigration issues would be solved overnight. But I do think it would make a difference if they and the rest of the media stopped coddling Biden just because he’s not Donald Trump. 

There was a time when tenacious journalists could make a large impact in holding politicians accountable. Look no further than Watergate. How different would history have turned out if Woodward and Bernstein hadn’t kept digging? Heaven only knows not I, but the point stands that when reporters properly do their jobs, it can make a difference.

I hope Politico feels good about walking hand in hand with the Biden White House. Or perhaps I should amend that to say being led by the hand. Either way, it bodes ill for the state of reporting in this country. And Politico is a joke.

Craig Shirley is the author of four bestselling books Ronald Reagan's campaigns, including "Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980," out March 21, 2017. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, "December 1941," and is the president of Shirley & McVicker Public Affairs.

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