On Dec. 15, senior Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to debate a bombshell discovery that Eichenwald had made about Donald Trump being admitted to a mental institution in the 90s. Carlson, a conservative television staple, is a 47-year-old man that wears a bow tie and is best known for getting demolished by guest Jon Stewart on his old show “Crossfire” — hardly an intimidating opponent. Defying all odds, Eichenwald somehow managed to make Carlson look good in one of the most bizarre interviews I’ve ever seen. Instead of offering evidence for his Trump claim, Eichenwald brought a giant binder of “Tucker Carlson falsehoods” on the show and deflected any question about his own claims about Trump with a different attack on Carlson. When he finally did talk about his claim about Trump, he claimed that it was intended to be a coded signal for one of his sources. Instead of talking about the many legitimately concerning problems with Trump, Eichenwald pursued a fake news story.
With the rise of fake news and the alt-right and the emergence of sites like Breitbart into the mainstream, it’s easy to think that the only threats to journalism are coming from the right. However, easy to miss thanks to the rise of modern Nazis and the new administration’s threats to human rights is how awful liberal journalists and pundits have become.
Not to be outdone by Eichenwald’s awfulness, Silicon Valley CEO Melinda Byerley wrote a self-serving political message on Twitter that showed how out of touch some liberals really are. In an open letter to Middle America, Byerley wrote that they only have themselves to blame for their declining economic situation, and that in order to get back on track, they must cater to people like her by adding fiber internet and “commit to not being bigots.” I don’t claim to be in touch with rural America, but I suspect that this open letter wouldn’t resonate that well with the people it was supposedly directed at.
Eichenwald and Byerley might have had elite bad takes, but no Twitter user has churned out terrible opinions more consistently than Eric Garland. Garland became famous shortly after the election, when he got high on Adderall and wrote an enormous (127 tweets), slightly intelligible tweetstorm attempting to explain why Obama and Clinton weren’t resisting Trump by using game theory. In this tweetstorm, he lays out why Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning are Russian operatives and states his willingness to die to resist Russia. Game theory is never really invoked and we never learn why Obama and Clinton “just gave up,” but that didn’t stop numerous liberals from fawning over Garland’s verbal diarrhea. Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery called Garland’s tweetstorm “a federalist paper for 2016.”
That the opinions of these people are viewed as legitimate by many mainstream liberals is worrying to say the least. If liberals want to be the gatekeepers of legitimate journalism, they cannot validate the views of those that have proven themselves to be detached from reality.
Chastain-Howley is a rhetoric and writing junior from Dallas.