Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Post Savages Trump

At the Washington Post, they're not even going to pretend to be evenhanded about the upcoming campaign. In an editorial titled Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy, they write:
The lack of experience might be overcome if Mr. Trump saw it as a handicap worth overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact. Throughout the campaign, he has unspooled one lie after another — that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after 9/11, that his tax-cut plan would not worsen the deficit, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started — and when confronted with contrary evidence, he simply repeats the lie. It is impossible to know whether he convinces himself of his own untruths or knows that he is wrong and does not care. It is also difficult to know which trait would be more frightening in a commander in chief.

Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.

What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous. . . .

Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. . . .  Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. . . .

Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.
I suppose they decided to unleash their biggest guns now, rather than waiting for October, to keep Trump from getting any convention bounce or being accepted even more widely as an ordinary Republican candidate. Of course the Post has generally been a liberal paper, except for their fondness for Middle Eastern wars, so one would hardly expect them to support Trump. Even their most important in-house conservatives (George Will and Charles Krauthammer) are firmly in the anti-Trump camp. So I guess they decided to go all out on this one.


G. Verloren said...

Personally I don't care much about the politics of a journalistic body, so long as they get the facts straight and don't cherry pick things and fail to address the larger context of an issue.

Whether you're liberal or conservative, what matters are the facts. People might disagree with your final opinions or conclusions drawn from those facts, but they can't disagree with the truth itself. And that's the primary purpose of journalism - to present the facts, and to spread the truth.

pootrsox said...

I have found the Post less "liberal" than the NYTImes in editorial content.

I have found their hard news coverage reasonably trustworthy: factual, truthful.