One of the most eloquent conservative voices against President Trump belongs to Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College and at Harvard Extension School. Last May he wrote an epic tweetstorm arguing that conservatives should vote for Hillary Clinton, whom he detested, because Trump was “too mentally unstable” to serve as commander-in-chief.
Given Nichols’ anti-Trump credentials, I thought it was interesting to read an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post over the weekend in which he argued that the media have been overreacting to some of the actions the Trump administration has taken. Among other things, he wrote:
There is plenty of fuel for the president’s critics in these actions, yet Trump’s opponents — especially in the media — seem determined to overreact on even ordinary matters. This is both unwise and damaging to our political culture. America needs an adversarial press and a sturdy system of checks and balances. Unmodulated shock and outrage, however, not only burn precious credibility among the president’s opponents, but eventually will exhaust the public and increase the already staggering amount of cynicism paralyzing our national political life.
I think this is important guidance. There are multiple reasons to think that Trump represents a unique threat to democracy. But journalists can’t run around with their hair on fire for the next four years. The best way to cover Trump is with calm, fact-based reporting — not with hyperbole that does not hold up to scrutiny.