WASHINGTON — Kim Strassel published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) treatment by the media and his refusal to be silenced by the left.
The piece can be found here and excerpts are below.
“Yellow journalism” means a sensationalized press. Perhaps it is time to introduce “blue journalism”—the new media practice of abandoning standards to work seamlessly with the progressive left against any opposition.
A case study is the attempted political assassination of Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. The press has never liked most Republicans. Yet for most of Mr. Johnson’s decade in the Senate, it’s generally described him as what he is: an outsider businessman and fiscal conservative with a focus on deficits and spending. “Wisconsin’s senior senator is a numbers guy, a believer in the power of facts and figures,” wrote Milwaukee Magazine in his first term. In recent years, serving on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he’s developed a reputation for oversight.
Compare that with the recent onslaught. “Assaulting the Truth, Ron Johnson Helps Erode Confidence In Government,” read a New York Times news headline, over a story that called him the “Republican Party’s foremost amplifier of conspiracy theories and disinformation.” “Ron Johnson’s Crazy Train Is Somehow Getting Even Weirder,” snarked Vanity Fair. “Ron Johnson Is a Racist,” opined the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker. Mr. Johnson is “inciting fear” the Post’s Michael Gerson added. The paper’s “fact checkers” assailed his “misleading data” and “unscientific take.”
What’s this all about? From the Times story, it amounts to this: Mr. Johnson has refused to brand everyone present in Washington on Jan. 6 as “insurrectionists”; he’s continued to note that last year’s Black Lives Matter protests led to rioting, looting, arson and death; he held hearings on treatments for Covid and 2020 election integrity; and he’s declined, for now, a Covid vaccine, given he had the disease last year and decided to let others go before him.
None of this is remotely conspiratorial or even controversial. Mr. Johnson’s real offense is refusing to roll over to the progressive and public-health police and continuing to ask tough questions.
The blue press is now doing its part to help, serving (to borrow the Times’s words) as the “foremost amplifier of conspiracy theories and disinformation” about the senator. The Democrat-media establishment figures its efforts will cause Mr. Johnson to retire and provide Democrats an easier target next year, or alternatively make him unelectable. Republicans would do well to internalize the Johnson treatment. Much of the press no longer has a commitment to truth, fairness or honesty. Its commitment is to Democratic power.