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Stop the presses!

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 08:15 am

Quiz: When does the press actually do its job?

Answer: When there is  a Republican in the White House.

Apparently, the press has just been too darn easy on Donald Trump, especially those silly TV journalists, and it's time they turned up the heat on that rascal. So says New York Times media reporter Jim Rutenberg, who wrote a column praising CNN's Jake Tapper for repeatedly trying to get Mike Pence to answer questions about connections between the Trump transition team and Michael G. Flynn, the son of the incoming national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn:

Mr. Tapper called it an example of how he had been trying to "draw basic lines about truth and decency and trying to get answers to questions."

As such, it was an object lesson in what doing it right looks like. At the same time, it was all very basic, what reporters are supposed to do: Ask questions of people in power and insist on answers.

But it bounced around the internet as a shining example of stand-up journalism, because, unfortunately, such moments now seem so rare — especially in a year marked by Matt Lauer’s soft interview of Mr. Trump at NBC’s "Commander in Chief" forum in September, and CNN’s own lapses with hires like the Trump aide Corey Lewandowski.

He goes on to praise the likes of  George Stephanopoulos of ABC, Martha Raddatz of ABC, Chuck Todd of NBC, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly of Fox News, and John Dickerson of CBS for "having their moments" in conducting tough interviews.

Perhaps Mr. Rutenberg has been waching different coverage than I have. Perhaps he did not notice CNN's "lapse" with Donna Brazile, who leaked debate questions to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Perhaps he did not see the study released a couple of months ago showing that 91 percent of the coverage of Trump on  ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts was hostile. Maybe he missed seeing Martha Raddatz crying on election night because Hillary lost.

I've been watching coverage of Trump's transition as he announces his choices for the Cabinet, and it's almost hard to believe how hostile it is. ("Almost.") They're a bunch of idiiots. They're a bunch of evil billionaires. There are too many generals. They like Russia too much. They will dismantle the government. And on and on. Eight years ago, when Obama was putting together his team, the press could not have cared less, except to toss out the occasional word of praise.

The truth is that Obama picked people he was comfortable with, which meant mostly people immersed in government who had no real-world experience. Some were good picks and some were bad, but you'd think they were all geniuses from the coverage. Trump is choosing people he's comforable with, which means there are a lot of folks from the business world who have made a lot of money. Some of them are good picks, and some of them are bad, but the press sees only bad in all of them.

And so it goes. The press has been asleep for eight years, its curiosity nowhere evident, its enterprise absent, its watchdog sense of duty on leave. Now that there will be a Republican in the White House, watch it wake up and realize again it has an obligation to keep the public informed. Watch it suddenly realize American troops are still dying on several fronts overseas and start keeping body counts for us again. Marvel as it suddenly takes an interest in conflicts of interest and ethical lapses that it couldn't be bothered with in the last eight years. Hell, I'll bet the homeless will even be in the news again.

Don't get me wrong. I like a press that does this kind of tough stuff. This is what journalism is supposed to be, digging for information, asking the tough questions, holding public officials accountable. I don't want to hear everything about what the administration is up to from Trump's Twitter feed. I just wish the press that were that way all the time.

Say, maybe they will get so used to doing the job proerly while Trump is in office that when a Democrat comes along again . . . 

Nah.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS

Of course, men see women as sex objects. It's completely normal. Why is something known to just about every woman and man who ever lived prior to the 1960s controversial to so many well-educated people today?

Wonder Woman was fired as an honorary ambassador the UN for "empowering girls and women" after a barrage of criticism that using a character with "with an overtly sexualised image" would send the wrong message or something.

One of those coastal elites says out loud what we already knew: They really don't like us yokels out here in the heartland. "American is held hostage by flyover states," says the headline on the article that explains that "Anyone who questions the narrow vision of Middle America Christian values, being forced on 325 million people of multiple cultures, religions, no religion, and a mosaic of ethnicities, is deemed ungodly and un-American." It's cultural fascism, you see.

At last, for all those millennials who are flummoxed by simple life skills like cooking dinner, figuring out health insurance, making the bed or changing a flat tire, there is now an Adulting School to teach them all the "adult" tasks that previous generations traditionally learned growing up.

West Point celebrates its fourth annual "Transgender Day of Remembrance" because "Our society, our police forces, our governments and the media largely ignore transgender hate crimes." Hurry, Gen. Mattis, hurry, before they forget about that "defending the country" mission altogether.

Aww, poor babies. New York City is offering its municipal workforce counseling services and other support for dealing with election-year stress brought on by Donald Trump’s election.

Wow, Donald Trump must really be the great persuader he claims to be. After meeting with the president-elect, Kanye West postpones his presidnetial run till 2024. Based on everything that's happened this year, I'm certainly not going to make fun of West and make light of his chances.

Stealing childhood, one piece of the playground at a time: Now the federal government is in the process of killing off see-saws.

Shades of "Minority Report." With new test, 3-year-olds can be identified as criminals of the future. So, once we know them, what? Watch them like a hawk for the rest of their lives?

I suppose this is good news, if the preliminary data holds up as true: No, kids don't smoke more marijuana after legalization. In fact, legalization seems to have made pot harder for kids to find.

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