Donald Trump is a man of few talents and little skill. But he has two singular talents that have served him well: utter shamelessness and an ability to suck up all the media oxygen in the room.
But soon Trump will be leaving office despite his seditious attempts at a coup. He will continue to try to hog the spotlight, but nonetheless there will emerge a media attention vacuum that will demand to be filled.
Many of the major outlets will attempt in an abundance of fairness and balance, to strike the same tone toward the Biden White House as they did toward the Trump White House. There will be a certain appeal to this: after all, good journalism holds the powerful to account no matter who is in power, and the Executive Branch should receive the strictest scrutiny.
There will also be numerous progressive publications that will see it as their mission to push the Biden Administration as far to the left as possible. There is a strong argument to be made for this as well. After all, the divorce of the Republican base from the reality-based community means that neither explicitly progressive nor mainstream publications have much effect on Republican politicians. For them, Fox News is increasingly the farthest left flank of their discourse. Moreover, bipartisanship will increasingly be a joke for all but the barest necessities of budget bills or near irrelevancies of policymaking. Which in turn means that pushing the Biden administration to be as unilaterally aggressive as possible will have a certain value.
But the fact that the Republican Party has gone off the rails into an extremist, conspiracy-addled cult should not be ignored as we approach a new era. The depredations of Republicans in Congress and GOP state officials will need to be exposed. And calls for progressive action by the Biden Administration should be made not just by the leftist media flank, but with care and credibility by those with the credibility not to dismissed as boys crying wolf.
Insofar as possible, we need media organizations who can do all of this and navigate America’s course through these treacherous waters. The Washington Monthly is one of the core media organizations that can still perform this function credibly and effectively.
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