MARY KATHARINE HAM: This Vanity Fair Lionization Of The Press Is Why Everyone Hates The Press.
The press thinks it’s just observing, but it’s also a character in this drama. It has a picture of itself, honed by none other than Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, speaking truth to power and bringing down a presidency for the good of the American people. During Democratic administrations, the kind that don’t beg for bringing down, the Redfords and Hoffmans of the press are content to take a few years quietly indulging in some small, indy projects, playing an important but smaller role in our democracy. When a Republican president is elected, however, they’re back to big-budget summer blockbusters all day every day.But the press must congratulate itself, after having so thoroughly broken faith with the public who will no longer do that for them.
What is this “Vanity Fair” feature, after all, if not a standard “Vanity Fair” feature usually reserved for an A-list box-office star? The press is happy to be that invigorated, energetic star again, now that America has elected the kind of power to whom it loves to speak truth. There they are, auditioning for “All the President’s Men” in their tasteful Anne Klein dresses and schlumpy suits. At least we are spared the wide ties and plaid pants.
I used to say during Obama’s presidency, one good reason to elect a Republican is because the press might care about abuse of federal power again and actually report on it. Trump gives them plenty to work with and Americans to be wary of. But I’d prefer they go about it with the recognition that not everything’s an 11 or necessarily a conspiracy, and with self-reflection instead of self-congratulation.