The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Matt Lauer’s Firing Exposes the Press’s Liberal Tribalism

Matt Lauer at an Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit on Oct. 28, 2014, in New York City.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservatives sounded off about the firing of NBC’s Matt Lauer and other sexual misconduct scandals on Wednesday. “He has no more power over careers inside or outside of NBC, which means that the floodgates should open up shortly,” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey wrote of Lauer. “That may produce some uncomfortable moments at NBC, including for [Savannah] Guthrie and [Hoda] Kotb, who worked with Lauer for years without apparently ever knowing of any issues.” “Lauer is not just a creep,” RedState’s Susan Wright wrote. “He’s a hypocritical creep. When the stories about Fox News’ own sexual harassment problems were hot, Lauer actually covered the stories with a straight face.” At National Review, Jonah Goldberg wrote that coverage of the past several weeks’ cascading sexual misconduct scandals has revealed the mainstream press’s tribalism:

First, is it crazy to think that there’s a problem specific to liberalism at work here? I mean this all started with Harvey Weinstein, and he first thought he could survive the scandal by promising to go after the NRA. Where did he get that idea? Maybe because he had good reason to think it would work?

Perhaps there are a lot of liberal men who think they can buy indulgences by toeing the party line on equal pay and Title IX, and emptying their bladders over things like Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.” To be fair, in recent weeks, quite a few liberals have been coming to grips with the fact that Bill Clinton survived the exposure of his predations precisely because he bought such indulgences.

[…] The second point is the reverse. The stories of sexual harassment at Fox were entirely newsworthy and legitimate on the merits. But not because Fox is “right wing.” Yet it seems fairly obvious to me that the press enjoyed the Ailes and O’Reilly stories precisely because they involved toppling someone else’s icons. Where there was barely constrained glee in the voices of many pundits and reporters when it came to exposing the sins of Ailes and O’Reilly, there’s equally obvious remorse when it comes to Matt Lauer, Mark Halperin, NPR’s David Sweeney, and, obviously, Bill Clinton. It speaks well of the media that it’s reporting these things anyway. But it would be a good thing for the press to meditate on what that remorse (and glee) says about its own tribalism.

At the Federalist, Candace Owens defended actress Angela Lansbury for saying that women bear partial responsibility for harassment and abuse because they go “out of their way to make themselves attractive.” Owens described her first time getting drunk, which led to her vomiting in front of her crush at a house party:

To no one’s surprise, that crush never became my boyfriend, but on the plus side, I never drank myself into such a state ever again. Do bad. Feel bad. And never repeat. Personal responsibility is underrated.

Of course, had I waited a few years later for the birth of modern feminism, the outcome of that night might have been drastically different. I might have instead blamed the person hosting the party for allowing such debauchery in the first place. I might have hired Lisa Bloom to represent me, crying beside her on-camera that I “didn’t know that underage drinking at college parties might have negative consequences.” How could I have known?

Today, such victimhood is in hot demand. Damsel-in-distress is the new black.

In other news:

Conservatives laid out defenses of the GOP’s tax reform efforts. At National Review, Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute took on common critiques of Republican proposals, including the argument that they would raise the deficit:

Yes, it is legitimate to oppose these tax cuts because they would expand the projected ten-year budget deficit from $10 trillion to $12 trillion. But overheated critics are portraying this $2 trillion cost as the difference between fiscal solvency and a deficit-induced collapse. In reality, deficits will continue rising steeply with or without these tax cuts.

Additionally, the sudden deficit obsession of many on the left seems a bit disingenuous. If $2 trillion in tax cuts is unaffordable, then what about the $5 trillion in new deficit legislation signed by President Obama? Where are the liberal deficit concerns over Senator Bernie Sanders’s $30 trillion single-payer health plan (only half of which is paid for)? And when Republicans proposed addressing the staggering $82 trillion deficit projected for Social Security and Medicare over the next 30 years, where was the liberal proposal to bring these programs into solvency? There was none. Just a vicious ad portraying a Paul Ryan lookalike murdering a senior citizen.

Also in National Review, Ben Elliott, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, argued that Reagan would have opposed the GOP’s plans:

Reagan’s rate cuts were for everyone. We all rise together. In addition, his 1986 tax reform sought to ensure that the elimination of major deductions — such as interest for consumer loans and credit-card debt — would be shouldered by citizens in the broadest sense.

Both of today’s GOP bills, House and Senate, violate these standards of equity and fairness. In the Senate bill, which is being debated and voted on this week, Republicans claim that by slightly lowering rates and adjusting income ranges, as well as doubling the standard deduction and eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, they can ensure that everyone will receive a tax cut — or, as the president describes it, “a huge tax cut for Christmas.” Unfortunately, while taxes for most low- and high-income payers will decrease, many middle- and upper-middle-class payers will receive little or no tax relief, and some will even face higher taxes.