After a columnist denounced reporting on Democrats with a critical eye, left-wing journalists from multiple outlets supported partisan calls to end "both-siderism" in media coverage and advocated for even harsher treatment of Republican subjects.
Los Angeles Times columnist Jackie Calmes published an opinion piece entitled "Why journalists are failing the public with 'both-siderism' in political coverage."
In the op-ed dated Oct. 15, the LA Times opinion columnist lambasted the "journalistic pressure" placed on reporters to produce balanced stories that prevents journalists from reporting what she dubbed "the new truth."
Calmes described how the political landscape and field of political journalism have changed dramatically post-Watergate. "For years it was easy to cover 'both sides' — Republicans and Democrats — as equally worthy, and blameworthy, partners in democracy," Calmes wrote of her generation of reporters.
After the resignation of former GOP President Richard M. Nixon, "what remained was a Republican Party still capable of a creditable role in a healthy two-party system," Calmes penned. "Now, when reporters or pundits use the words 'both sides' in regard to some political problem, I stop reading or listening," she added.
"I started to chafe at false equivalence a quarter-century ago as a congressional reporter amid Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution." Calmes scoffed. "One party — his — was demonstrably more responsible for the nasty divisiveness, government gridlock and norm-busting, yet journalistic pressure to produce seemingly 'balanced' stories — pressure both ingrained and imposed by editors — prevented reporters from sufficiently reflecting the new truth."
Fast forward to 2012, Calmes stated that Democrat President Barack Obama dealt with "the willful obstructionists, conspiracists and racists" of an "increasingly radicalized Republican Party." Calmes admitted that it's critical for political journalists covering today's climate to remain fair and balanced but only "in contrast with the right-wing network that cynically co-opted those adjectives."
"To the extent, then, that journalists and pundits focus critically on President Biden and Democrats and give short shrift to Republicans' obstructions — as if the cancer of Trumpism was in remission, if not cured — that indeed distorts reality and disserves readers, listeners and viewers," Calmes wrote.
Calmes warned that "Democracy is literally at stake," characterizing election integrity reforms as Republicans blocking "federal voting rights legislation" and passing laws "to suppress future votes in ways disadvantageous to Democrats."
She went on to claim that numerous news reports suggest that President Joe Biden is "politically liable" for the persistence of COVID-19, when the establishment media has lobbed the septuagenarian soft balls since Inauguration Day yet continues to cast blame upon the previous Trump presidency.
After four hate-filled years attacking former President Donald Trump for even the most minute misgivings, the hard-hitting muckrakers have transformed into Biden's public relations team, fawning over the commander-in-chief's love for ice cream while allowing him to walk away from the podium without taking questions.
Calmes even claimed that the mainstream media is silent on the GOP's opposition to Biden's efforts promoting vaccines and masks. When in actuality, the left-wing outlets have pounced to publish fear-mongering rhetoric that conjures images of packed emergency rooms and a tsunami of ivermectin-related poison control calls.
"This is a Republican Party that is not serious about governing or addressing the nation's actual problems, as opposed to faux ones like critical race theory," she wrote, naming a topic that the left downplays as ethnic studies or simply non-existent, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
"Democrats can't be expected to deal with these guys like they're on the level. Nor should journalists cover them as if they are," Calmes concluded.
A few months into the Trump administration, Calmes became the White House editor for the LA Times in 2017, her opinion columns started in August.
Calmes served as the chief political correspondent and chief economic correspondent for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, covering the White House, Congress, and national politics before joining the LA paper.
In 2004, she received the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Reporting on the Presidency. Calmes is the author of Dissent: The Radicalization of the Republican Party and Its Capture of the Court, which details Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's controversial confirmation as well as "the Republican Party's movement over four decades toward the far right, and its parallel campaign to dominate the government's judicial branch as well as the other two."
Various journalists and former reporters took to Twitter to bolster the columnist's claims in the op-ed and also decried "both-siderism" in news coverage.
New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer backed what Calmes argued. "Missing from much political coverage is that only one party is even trying to govern," Mayer tweeted. She noted that it was a "good point" from the longtime reporter.
New York Times Magazine writer and 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones said that every political journalist should read the column and the book How Democracies Die, which argues that Trump's presidency threatened American democracy by eroding institutions such as the judiciary and the press.
NPR's former vice president Bill Buzenberg, also executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, tweeted: "Great Op Ed — important message for every journalist. (NPR and PBS this includes you). Please don't 'balance' the truth with an outright, calculated lie, and call it objective reporting or interviewing."
New York University professor of journalism Jay Rosen reacted: "I have been waiting for this column — by a former political reporter — for a very long time."
CNN's White House correspondent John Harwood, formerly CNBC's chief Washington correspondent, called the op-ed "outstanding."
NBC News analyst Howard Fineman, a contributor to the network and its cable affiliate MSNBC, stated that Calmes is "spot on" as "a calm, rational reporter."
"But she's rightly pissed that we give psycho #Trumplicans 'both sides' coverage."
NPR former correspondent Pam Fessler tweeted: "Yes, indeed."
Calmes and her left-wing colleagues are trashing objectivity in pursuit of "the new truth," labelling viewpoints right of center "misinformation" and "conspiratorial."
Trump claimed vindication for being an early accuser to point fingers at China over the coronavirus, all while the American media apparatus dismissed the Wuhan laboratory leak theory because the Republican president and prominent conservative figures pitched its probability to the public. When the speculation gained credibility, reporters admitted that the initial skepticism was in response to the theory's GOP origins. This is only one of many claims made by the GOP that were dismissed due to supposed "bias" before being proven likely, or even correct.