Tag Archives: historical criticism of presidents

Hysteria vs. The White House: What’s Different This Time

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government places the media criticism of the Trump White House in perspective, and defines why the actions against the current White House are unique.

Pundits portray the extensive criticism of President Trump as an unusual event, an occurrence if not unprecedented than certainly unique in its extremity. The point a rather biased press seeks to convey is that, in their perception, the 45th President of The United States is an advocate of policies that are particularly dangerous, and hence inspires an exceptional level of condemnation.

It is a venerable historical tradition.

The bulk of the media banks heavily on its belief that the American public suffers with a minute lack of historical knowledge, and retains little memory beyond events of the past year or so. It is aided in this effort both by an academic curriculum that is woefully lacking in adequate teaching of U.S. history, and social media search engines that tend to downplay results that are contrary to the prevailing press mindset.

Media coverage of the Obama Administration was overwhelmingly favorable, indeed, almost fawning.  The limited exceptions included only conservative talk radio, Fox News, and a very limited number of other outlets.  This occurred despite that Administration’s extraordinary failures in foreign policy, its steps which prevented the U.S. economy from recovering from the Great Recession, the enhanced suffering of the middle class, its detrimental impact on race relations, and its unprecedented scandals,(including its use of the IRS to attack political opponents,) its attempts to ignore First Amendment protections (particularly in regard to those disagreeing with the White House on climate change,) its false statements in regard to Benghazi, and the bizarre sale of uranium interests to Russia.

But contrast that with what could accurately be described as the outright hatred displayed by the Fourth Estate for Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush.  It was so extreme that the term, Bush Derangement Syndrome, (BDS) was coined by the distinguished columnist and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer. He defined BDS as “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush” … Krauthammer outlined how the attacks were based more on emotion than logic. In his book, “Things That Matter,” he cites examples of the level of hysteria reached by Bush opponents, including defining the 43rd President as a Frankenstein-like figure.

Using hyperbolic language, inaccurate statements, and emotional rather than intellectual appeals has become something of a regular tactic, used far more effectively by the Left in presidential matters.

Today, President Ronald Reagan has become an iconic figure.  Although arguably one of the most conservative U.S. presidents, he is now regularly invoked by politicians of all stripes.  Even the most progressive president in U.S. history, Barack Obama, at times invoked Reagan’s example.  But it was not always so.  The media portrayed Reagan as likely to start World War Three, and, for good measure, also likely to destroy the U.S. economy.

Outlandish criticism is nothing new in presidential politics.

Perhaps the most salient example of over-the-top criticism of U.S. Presidents can be seen in the treatment of Abraham Lincoln.  The historical site Civil War.org  provides this example:

“’The illustrious Honest Old Abe has continued during the last week to make a fool of himself and to mortify and shame the intelligent people of this great nation. His speeches have demonstrated the fact that although originally a Herculean rail splitter and more lately a whimsical story teller and side splitter, he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion. People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party. His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world. The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President. The truth is, Lincoln is only a moderate lawyer and in the larger cities of the Union could pass for no more than a facetious pettifogger. Take him from his vocation and he loses even these small characteristics and indulges in simple twaddle which would disgrace a well bred school boy.’ this tirade was not the rant of a fire-eating secessionist editor in Richmond or New Orleans. It was the declaration of the Salem Advocate, a newspaper printed in Lincoln’s home ground of central Illinois…At the time he was sworn in, Lincoln’s ‘approval rating’ can be estimated by examining wintertime Republican losses in local elections in Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis, and state elections in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island; by the observations of Henry Adams (of the presidential Adamses) that ‘not a third of the House’ supported him; and by the published reckoning of the New York Herald that only 1 million of the 4.7 million who voted in November were still with him. All these indications put his support in the nation at about 25 percent — roughly equivalent to the lowest approval ratings recorded by modern-day polling.”

The Report Concludes Tomorrow.