With the coverage of President Trump putting media bias on display as never before, an influential House chairman and longtime press critic has opened a campaign to call out the "mainstream media" for what he thinks it is.
"The media and Democrats are so close in association and so close in their philosophical views that we might as well use one word to describe both, and that's 'Mediacrats,'" said Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, founder of the House Media Fairness Caucus.
Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, has often been on the receiving end of the media's anti-conservative bias, but he said the attacks on Trump have led him to urge colleagues to stop referring to the "mainstream" media.
"How can the media be considered 'mainstream' when it doesn't represent a majority of the American people?" he asked. "It's more accurate to use the term 'liberal,'" he said.
In an interview, he cited the media's ills: 91 percent of Trump campaign coverage was negative, 96 percent of media campaign contributions went to Democrat Hillary Clinton, and 55 percent of the public is weary of the anti-Trump tone in coverage.
"It's the most biased media I've seen in my lifetime," Smith said.
He blamed that for keeping Trump's approval ratings low. "Maybe the media is having an impact on the public's view of the president. That's not a surprise. Even if most of America thinks the media is biased, they still can be influenced by that bias, and I think that helps explain some of the public opinion polls of the president," he said.
While he has no plans to punish the media other than by scolding, he praised Trump for finding away around his press corps.
"I am a strong advocate of the president's use of Twitter. The only way the president can get around the national liberal media is to tweet," said Smith, a 15-term lawmaker and one-time Politico Policymaker of the Year.
He urged Trump, who regularly tweets his frustration with the media, to keep it up. "He can connect directly with the American people, and that's why the media doesn't like it. They want themselves to be the oracle. They themselves want to be the only conduit. They themselves want to tell the American people what to think," he said.
But that feud, he warned, could push the "mainstream media" over the cliff.
"I am concerned that it is hurting our republic, I'm afraid they are hurting themselves, I'm afraid they are hurting the country, and they're clearly so intent on hurting the president that they are taking themselves down at the same time," he concluded.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org