The liberal media are suffering a debilitating bout of “cognitive dissonance,” a condition defined by mental discomfort created by trying to hold two contradictory ideas in the mind – at one time. Luckily, the American People do not.
Follow me here. The condition is very real, and you can see it creeping on the left. A few examples make the point. At first, opposition to President Trump’s determination to secure America’s southern border was dubbed a “trick,” then a “manufactured crisis,” and finally – as numbers shot past 100,000 illegal entrants per month – the New York Times conceded we have a “crisis.”
In effect, the left-leaning media’s narrative – or pre-set story line, following Democratic National Committee talking points – crumbled. The President was right all along: We are experiencing an unresolved crisis at the border. Democrat inaction accentuates this crisis, despite President Trump’s best efforts to stop this inflow.
Worse, the real story lays blame for the illegal surges at Democrats’ feet, since they flout federal law and push “sanctuary cities,” jurisdictions in which illegals are permitted to run free, even after committing crimes. Cooperation with federal law enforcement in these cities – and now the “sanctuary state” of California – is forbidden. This development itself requires cognitive dissonance; states and cities receive federal money based on compliance with federal law, yet openly violate federal law and demand the money.
States’ rights – under any credible theory – do not permit shielding federal law breakers on a whim, by disregarding federal court cases, or for putative political gain. This has not stopped the Democrats locally or nationally, so far. The surge creates higher public health, public safety, public education and public transportation costs – which they now ask the federal taxpayer to cover. More cognitive dissonance.
And more here: Generally, Democrats disdain states’ rights since they are viewed as undermining their big federalizing goals, but now they claim states’ rights to shelter future Democratic voters dependent on federal benefits. Ironic, no?
Here is more cognitive dissonance. National Democrats have long run on the tagline “It’s the economy stupid,” back to Bill Clinton’s 1992 election. They have spent millions on buttons, stickers and articles tied to that tag line – in prior cycles. Now, they do not want to discuss it. President Trump has created the best economy in 50 years, lowest unemployment across all demographics, highest GDP, labor productivity, wage growth, labor participation, and low inflation – and they have no answer. The “we need to expand government to save our economy” story – is dead.
Other media narratives are going up in smoke. Trump should never call out NATO for failing to pay their share of defense – except that by doing so, they now are. Trump should never speak directly with North Korea, since that would not stop ICBM launches and nuclear testing, only Trump’s stick-and-carrot strategy has stopped both.
Trump should never confront China, as they are too big, hold too many US bonds – except the deal nearly done, to be enforced with unilateral tariffs, will fundamentally rebalance US-China trade for decades. Trump will never get a better deal with Mexico and Canada, except that he did – if Congress will ratify it. And the list goes on.
The big ones are coming: The narrative for two years was the Mueller Report would scorch Trump, scald his White House, trigger impeachment or indictment – only it did none of those things. Worse, as Democrats and the left-lurching media choke on that bone, the Attorney General is asking hard questions: How did that canard get started?
He appointed a US Attorney to get the truth. That investigation may unearth bones too big for any media house to swallow – especially if corroborated by a pending Justice Inspector General report. That report, even assembled without subpoena power, is rumored to finger specific people from the last administration at DOJ and the FBI. Who knows? All we know is that the liberal media – whipsawed by Democrat talking points and then each time by incontrovertible truth – is in a terrible way.
As they continue plug old, politically-inspired stories that prove harder and harder to swallow – since they are coming up untenable, untrue or are expressly disproven – their credibility continues to sink. Readership and viewership is tilting toward more reliable, respected, data-driven, fact-centric and notably conservative outlets.
Where does all this end? Not clear. When cognitive dissonance gets into the media tank, it is like getting ink out. These outlets know their bind; they are reporting a political agenda that does not comport with material facts.
They can come to their senses, and return to reporting facts – as the New York Times did by acknowledging a genuine “crisis” at our southern border. They can report on Trump’s many successes, including a spectacular economy.
Or they can keep presenting Democratic talking points, as if the American public is dumber than rocks, easily duped – ready to believe whatever they spout on camera. They can sleep content in their cognitive dissonance, cozy in the notion that as America thrives – it does not. Only remember: Most of America does not go in for cognitive dissonance.