This week Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan penned a response to President Donald Trump's recent tweet that his 2020 opponent is not any of the remaining Democrats, but rather "the Fake News Media."

"Trump's attacks on the news media are ugly and destructive. They deepen partisanship. They erode the bedrock democratic idea that there is a common set of facts underlying our politics," wrote Sullivan, adding that Trump's "ramped-up rhetoric will do damage ... by further dividing a torn-apart nation."

The irony in Sullivan's column is apparently unintentional, the hyperventilating overblown. The fact is agenda-setters in our national media, such as Sullivan, routinely tell us how terrible and despotic Trump is and — unlike in other parts of the world — do so freely without fear of retributive state-sponsored death or imprisonment. Moreover, Sullivan's intellectual myopia offers little introspection about the media's constant anti-Trump drumbeat being "ugly and destructive" in its own right, and "further dividing a torn-apart nation." She did note, "Mainstream journalists make mistakes," then quickly added, "But for the most part, they get the facts right and strive — sometimes to a fault — for neutrality and balance."

Apparently that last sentence also was written in complete sincerity — blissfully ignoring the media's myriad goofs and overly dramatized coverage of Trump, hovering above all of which is the two-plus years spent on the fiction that Trump colluded with Russian operatives in the 2016 election.

In recent weeks, though, three episodes have surfaced to demonstrate why Trump's assessment is more right than wrong, and why the national media's credibility continues to tank.

Last week, for instance, many media figures threw a tantrum after The New York Times reported that Trump ally Arthur Schwartz has stockpiled "dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations." Schwartz plans to share his files with conservative media to spotlight the bias and bigotry of many who bring us the news. Just days later, Lief Olson, a senior Labor Department official, resigned after Bloomberg News misleadingly labeled some 2016 tweets by Olson as "anti-Semitic" — even though Jewish commentators, including the Anti-Defamation League, understood and accepted the tweets as sarcasm targeting alt-right activists.

So it's acceptable for the media to dig up such fodder to destroy lives and deprive people of their livelihood, but they don't want to be accountable for public comments that illustrate their own biases. Got it.

Then, in mid-August, according to Slate.com, Dean Baquet, the Times' executive editor, was grilled during a meeting with his news staff about why the paper didn't call Trump a racist, or perhaps not call him a racist often enough. Baquet offered two revealing replies. First, he acknowledged he had "built" The Times's newsroom to focus on the Russia-collusion story, and when that blew up the Times was "a little tiny bit flat-footed." "I mean," he added, "that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?" So, Baquet admitted his paper allowed a chosen narrative — Trump colluded — to drive the coverage, rather than actual events. Secondly, Baquet then explained that with Russia and Mueller in the rearview mirror the Times must pivot. "How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump?" Baquet posed to his news staff. Well, he said, "the vision for coverage for the next two years" — right through the 2020 election — would be to "write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions," as stoked by Trump.

In other words, the "story" will now be that Trump, and presumably his supporters, are racists, or at least exhibit racist tendencies.

A final example features a different narrative and involves Sullivan herself. In early August, after the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Sullivan wrote, "there actually is a right or wrong side on the matter of controlling rampant gun violence. Journalists need to be on the right side of that, and not afraid to own it." What is the "right side"? Promoting gun control, of course. "Part of that [side-choosing]," Sullivan wrote, "is giving shorter shrift to the rote 'thoughts and prayers' reactions of politicians and ... bringing a skeptical eye to the now-customary, largely Republican calls for better mental health care."

In other words the media, in "a coordinated approach among large and small news organizations," as Sullivan noted, must become anti-gun activists, dismiss arguments that actual evil or mental illness might cause such horrific violence, and lump these killers in with millions of law-abiding gun owners.

The shrill complaints about Trump's attacks on our elite national media, such as Sullivan's employer, are so common and repetitive that they hardly deserve comment any more. But this is an important topic that readers must understand will continue under Trump.

It's unfortunate that America's national media lacks sufficient self-awareness to grasp that many news consumers, especially on the right, believe they have strayed far from their mission, and that until they abandon activism for journalism, they, too, play a significant part in "dividing a torn-apart nation."