Former Richard Nixon speechwriter, actor, and game show host Ben Stein is famous for his brilliant portrayal of a monotone teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but he just might make a name for himself in the current generation as the guy who put the media in their place.
Stein appeared on CNN Sunday evening to talk about the White House Correspondents dinner and the revolting anti-Trump nature of the event.
When Stein explained that he was disgusted by this years event, CNN host Ana Cabrera was visibly shocked as she asked Stein to explain what he meant. Stein proceeded to masterfully dissect the media malpractice that has been the most important storyline of the events over the last 1-2 years. He explained that as one of Nixon’s loyal soldiers he thought he had seen media bias in all of it’s unfurled power, but even the beating Nixon took was nothing compared to what Trump has faced over the last year. Stein also laid out how it was this wholly unfair treatment of Trump, by the media, that had created the Trump presidency to begin with! If it wasn’t for the unfair way in which the media was treating then candidate, and now President Trump… it’s quite likely that he would never have been a serious candidate in the primary, let alone the general election.
It’s an amazing conversation, and it rings true – listen for yourself:
Ana Cabrera: Comedian, actor, and economist Ben Stein joins us now from Las Angeles. Ben, you had previously defended Mr. Trump’s decision to skip this dinner, saying he’s a punching bag day after day in the media. Do you still feel that that’s the case? Is this justified taking that position after watching the show?
Ben Stein: I thought what Mr. Minhaj said was sickening. Frankly, I felt like vomiting, and I couldn’t watch it for very long.
Ana Cabrera: Why?
Ben Stein: I think it’s stunning…
Ana Cabrera: What specifically?
Ben Stein: I think it’s stunning to belittle and attack and mock a President at such a base and villainous level, and to describe him as a Soviet agent and “liar-in-chief,” especially to the media. The media is a joke in this situation. First of all, they’re the ones who built him up. Without the media, he would still be back running casinos somewhere. He has played the media fantastically well. The media is not his enemy. He has cleverly made the media his main ally, and the media is laughing as if they think they’re somebody great and holy and neutral and above it all. They’re not above it all.
They are a sharp instrument of the left in this country, but Trump has managed to turn it on its head and make them the bad guys out there in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and places he was never expected to win. So, I mean, they’re laughing — they should be laughing at themselves, not laughing at him.
Ana Cabrera: Well, I think the media did laugh at ourselves. He, of course, the comedian also took a lot of jabs at the media through all of this. But, as you point out, I mean, the President has had a contentious relationship with the media, but other Presidents in the past, too, have had similar challenges in dealing with the media. You know, our job as journalists is to hold their feet to the fire, to hold government — elected officials accountable. And, of course, Presidents and people in power don’t always like that.
Ben Stein: Well, you know, I, if I may say this, I was a speech writer for President Nixon, I’ve always been a fan of President Nixon. Even Nixon was not held up to the same level of ridicule, mockery, and vicious attacks than Trump is. And I want to tell you something — I am not a big fan of Trump. I was writing in Barron’s, I suspect at least 30 years ago, that this guy possibly should be held up for criminal charges of fraud and securities fraud.
So I’m not a huge fan of his, but the level of attack on him by the media has been so vicious, I’ve never seen anything like it. And every day’s newspaper has got more stories attacking him, attacking him, attacking him. They just don’t give the guy a break.
On Monday Stein continued with the same theme during an appearance on the Fox Business Network: