After the ratings-fantastic Fox News Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump’s enemies seized upon his comments about co-moderator Megyn Kelly as proof that he is coarse, sexist and unfit for office. What followed is what has become one of the liberal media’s favorite games: getting political figures to grovel and apologize for their misdeeds.
Trump responded by steadfastly refusing to apologize for anything, and his supporters only seem to grow. Trump is showing other Republicans that flaunting the media’s rules is not only okay, but a great way to show voters that you’re a fighter and not part of the despised Washington ruling class.
Even Mike Huckabee appears to realize this. His comment about Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and Jews being led to the ovens was roundly condemned in and around the Beltway. A few years ago, Huckabee might have played the game by prostrating himself before the fourth estate and begging forgiveness. Instead, he stood by the comment and refused anything resembling a mea culpa. To the shock of the grandees of conventional wisdom, Huckabee not only survived the comment but moved past it and performed well in the debate.
None of this is sitting well with the unelected know-it-alls in the political media.
In an interview last Sunday on Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd was incredulous that Trump would not apologize, despite urging him numerous times to do so. What is behind all this sophistry, chivalry towards women? Defending Kelly’s hurt feelings? Hardly.
It is the media’s desire to exert control over those they do not like. If they can get Trump to apologize for this, the thinking goes, they can get him to do all kinds of other things, too. The fact that Trump gleefully refuses to play along makes the collective media’s blood boil, hence their frequent obituaries of Trump’s campaign that so far have proven not only premature but dead wrong.
To no one’s surprise, Democrat politicians rarely find themselves in these situations. How many times has Hillary Clinton been pressed to apologize for destroying young Monica Lewinsky’s life, for lying about Benghazi, or about a hundred other things she should apologize for? She hasn’t. Because Hillary Clinton is a Leftist of the highest order, and clever at media relations. In short, apologize for nothing.
Media neophyte Martin O’Malley recently folded like a cheap suit and apologized for something he said at the Net Roots convention. His crime? Saying to a crowd of hard-left firebrands that “Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.” That should tell you all you need to know about how O’Malley might perform when the pressure is on in the Oval Office.
This anti-apology sentiment seems to be growing not only in politicians, but voters as well. A critical element of why the apology game has worked for so long is that much of the public accepted the premise and became outraged at what the media told them to be outraged about. To use Obama-speak, we can only hope this is the “new normal”, with no apologies necessary.
Image: Courtesy of Gage Skidmore; https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/