Back in 2009, media bias was hot on all of the right’s lips. We were aghast that racism accusations were hurled at every criticism of the administration. We were appalled at how many people we believed were good upstanding citizens were having their names dragged through the mud.
For a while, it felt as though one couldn’t oppose the president without the full awareness that their life might be destroyed by a media intent on squashing any and all dissent.
So if one was active at that time, they could be forgiven for defaulting to that setting today. On the news that the wildly inappropriate “Trump vs CNN” gif that President Trump tweeted might be from a middle-aged anonymous Reddit troll, the same folks from back in the Tea Party heyday stepped forward to gallantly defend his right to anonymity against a witch hunt.
The problem is that a lot has happened since the days of handing out pocket constitutions and the sense of optimism that some hoped to engender through calls for a return to founding principles.
Namely, the “right” has become a fairly decent caricature of exactly what all those old biased reports claimed they were: Bitter, stubborn, intellectually dishonest, outrage-mongers, dancing to whatever tune is played by the rationalizing pundit-class of entertainment-driven hacks that masquerade as thinkers.
I spend most of my time firing off my indignation at “our” side of the aisle for a simple reason: we (if we are a we) deserve it. The “right”, from which I have been outcast for the last two years, has spent most of the Trump era rationalizing every bad behavior, forgetting about those thing that used to upset them, switching their policy desires to match their madman of a leader or the thirst of a frenetic "movement", and generally being a collection of childish rabble reveling in the destruction of all standards in favor of “war.”
“War," you may recall, was something that (mostly) started with Andrew Breitbart and his principled stand against the media's unending coordinated assault on the slightest opposition to Barack Obama, and indeed their decades of willful political support of the left. "War" was the acknowledgement and encapsulation of the idea that he intended to run straight into the oncoming fire, calling out all the B.S. he saw as he charged on with no concern about what the elitists thought of him.
He declared war on what he called the Democrat Media Complex. It was welcome.
For the time in which he lived, this was a reasonable and balanced reaction to a media that has since, in some quarters, admitted they were collectively far too soft on Obama and too ready to cast any opposition as racist or evil.
But times they are a-changing.
By the end of 2016, I, along with a lot of the others who didn’t stand in lock step with the Republican Party over the principles that had brought us there, had had our addresses published online, our personal financial records and private information shared to a rabid frothing base of pitchfork-wielding maniacs who were anxious to snuff out and destroy the "traitors."
At the time (somewhere around the nomination) this sort of behavior was still decried by the conservative movement at large. A great many conservative pundits still hedged their commentary on Trump with comments like "well, I don’t approve of this" or "this is not what the Republican Party or the conservative movement should be applauding."
Back then, less than a year ago mind you, the kind of conservatives you’d run into on twitter more or less ran with the idea that “this is the nominee for better or worse, he’ll probably lose to Hillary but let’s just try to do the best we can with what we’ve got.”
But then he won.
Apparently there is nothing quite like the intoxication of winning. Because that same class of conservative who remained appalled at the alt-right army of trolls, much less Trump’s behavior, shifted pretty quickly to applauding every single thing Trump did, excusing or ignoring the bad behavior of his die-hard fans, and throwing “what about” out as much as possible to cover up their own inconsistencies.
Whereas just a few years ago, a silly video of Obama taking a selfie was blasted as unpresidential, today, a video of Trump beating the crap out of CNN is a brilliant move. “We’re finally fighting back!”
Fighting back stopped being about conservatism. Stopped being about advancing a true alternative to Obamacare, or even being against progressive taxes and government entitlements. Now fighting back just meant being a dick. Trump has over and over proven himself to not simply have the following of shitposters. He IS a shitposter. The king of them one might argue.
And writers and talking heads from across the media landscape that were once upset the tarnishing of the Office, are now excitedly tweeting about how refreshing it is. Because they just want blood.
This is what makes the rending of garments over the outing of the gif creator so particularly amusing to me. After regularly referring to CNN as ISIS. After constantly rationalizing ANYTHING that Trump does as merely a salvo in the “war” that they believe is a justified and moral war, these “soldiers” are crying into their hands about the death of democracy because CNN treated one shitposter with more restraint than the President treats just about anything.
They excuse the behavior over and over on the part of the president, they ignored the doxing of me and others with mild gestures of “oh that’s too bad,” but now… now it’s gone too far? Now. Because of a vile troll named "HanAssholeSolo"?? Really?
I don’t particularly find the identity of a gif creator to be that newsworthy apart from confirming it wasn’t made by the president or his staff. And I’m not big on the moral relativism required for me to approve of this doxing while lamenting my own.
But to the talking heads and radio personalities that have spent today saying CNN went too far? Spare me. You begged for this. And now you’ve got it.
This column originally appeared at RedState.com.
Someone tell me what happened with James Gunn. I'm only seeing the aftermath and am incapable of googling.