Gerard Baker: “Media Treat Trump’s Team Like Dogs, Biden’s Like Puppies”

From a Wall Street Journal column by Gerard Baker headlined “Media Treat Trump’s Team Like Dogs, Biden’s Like Puppies”:

When Joe Biden gets to the White House, he will, it seems, be bringing with him a menagerie of domesticated animals, eager to roll over and have their tummies tickled by a solicitous first couple.

There will be Champ and Major, the two German shepherds, one of whom, like his master, is a veteran of the Obama administration. There will be the as-yet-unnamed cat who, we learned last week, will prowl the echoing halls of the executive mansion, no doubt mischievous and imperious by turns, like all felines.

Above all there will be a whole pack of cuddly, playful, yelping puppies, eager for attention and desperate to please, gently nuzzling their master and members of his administration whenever they stoop to stroke them or issue a kind word or a stern command.

These fully house-trained pets will sport White House press passes and carry laptops and microphones. . . .But it’s clear already that when brought to heel they will have all the independence of mind of one of those nodding toy dogs that used to adorn the dashboards of motorcars.

The level of critical scrutiny on display so far from the national press corps since Mr. Biden began announcing the members of his administration and its plans makes Toto look like the Hound of the Baskervilles. . . .

To be fair, we are all suckers for new pets, and excitable reporters, like small children, can be forgiven for falling hopelessly for cute animals. . . .

On economic policy, we are told in awed tones that Janet Yellen’s expertise and experience in what will be the three top domestic roles—at the White House, Federal Reserve and now Treasury—makes her uniquely qualified. But there’s almost no critical assessment of the role she played, especially at the Fed, in the accelerating financialization of the U.S. economy, with all the baleful consequences that has had for most American workers and their living standards.

There’s a larger point here about the rot in America’s institutional leadership that, in part at least, the Trump administration was elected to undo. In its largely celebratory coverage, the press is unwittingly emphasizing what this restoration represents: the triumph of its own class. It is highlighting how completely in lockstep the various elements of the new and old establishments now are: the media and tech platforms, the global corporate bossocracy, the vast, overfed Washington policy crowd, whose different characters pop in and out of government with a change of president without leaving a footprint on the receding sands of American leadership.

Harry Truman famously reminded us that canine friendship is the only enduring loyalty when things go wrong in Washington. Joe Biden and his administration will at least have plenty of other friends to provide comfort as they set out on yet another familiar journey.

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