Reporters can’t stop talking about two specific entertainment stories.
The first is the upcoming drama “Bombshell,” a look at Roger Ailes’ alleged sexual attacks on multiple Fox News employees. The second? Any time Oscar winner Robert De Niro slams President Donald Trump.
Both narratives get endless press coverage, particularly when De Niro curses out the Commander in Chief or compares him to a gangster.
Those two stories collided this week in spectacular fashion. Can you guess what happened next?
The far-left Daily Beast interviewed De Niro about “The Irishman,” his collaborations with director Martin Scorsese and, of course, politics. The subject veered to President Donald Trump, and De Niro trotted out his “greatest hits” grab bag of anti-Trump rhetoric.
The shocking part of the interview came when De Niro slammed Fox News. Again, that act alone puts him in line with most of his Hollywood peers. There’s a reason we’re seeing not one but two major anti-Fox News projects this calendar year.
De Niro loathes the conservative-leaning channel, but it’s how he framed that sentiment that soared beyond traditional rhetoric.
And I think about [Rupert] Murdoch, and what he did to this country. He’s an immigrant who became a citizen, and look what he contributed? Look what this guy did? It’s disgraceful—beyond disgraceful, beyond cynical. Fox News, it’s all about money and power. At what cost? And you’re not even an American; you’re someone who wanted to be an American, and this is what you gave us?
When President Trump tweeted a disparaging remark about members of the so-called Squad earlier this year, suggesting they weren’t really Americans, the media went on a war footing. Story after story castigated the president for his rhetoric, which stands as some of his worst comments as president.
What happened when De Niro essentially did the same?
Otherwise? Very few outlets dared to mention it. HuffPo did bring it up, but it clumsily compared De Niro’s comments to something President Trump said to neutralize the offense.
The same can be said of The Daily Beast, which lives for cultural outrage. They repeated the exchange but shared no alarm at its contents. In a sense, it missed its own scoop.
So did most other media outlets.
De Niro gets a pass for three sizable reasons. He’s progressive, which offers a measure of protection. He’s also aggressively anti-Trump, which is like swapping chain mail for full plate armor.
Best of all, for the actor’s sake, he’s savaging Fox News. Few, if any, will run to the network’s defense , let alone align with the channel’s very public face.
It’s all part of the double standard landscape the media both created and feeds on a weekly basis.