American Thinker; The media, the Democrats, and a few NeverTrumps are in a tizzy these past few days because President Trump dared to call NBC’s Chuck Todd “a sleeping son of a b‑‑‑‑” and The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman a “Hillary flunky.”
Said NeverTrump Erick Erickson, “The fact is @MaggieNYTand @chucktoddhave better character, better morals, and are more honest than the President who is attacking them.”
“@MaggieNYTand @chucktodd are not only great journalists, they are good people. This crass name-calling is beneath the office of the presidency,” tweeted Jake Tapper.
Tweets like these ran in the thousands. A common theme was one that Tapper raised – namely, that name-calling is “beneath the office.” A secondary theme raised by Politico’s Susan Glasser in an interview with Todd is that Trump’s “rhetorical assault” on the media was “unprecedented.”
Whether Trump’s comments are beneath the office is surely in the eyes of the beholder, but they are not at all unprecedented. There was a time not too long ago when Democrats in and out of the media celebrated “plain speaking” and at least one president who made speaking plainly a virtue.
That president was Harry Truman. In his fine 1998 book, Harry S. Truman and the News Media: Contentious Relations, Belated Respect, Franklin Mitchell traces the media’s evolving response to what at the time many considered the “ill chosen words and threats by the president.” Read more: