23 Jun '16     home | previous

Trump versus Good Journalism

I don't like demonizing people, but right now I'm upset with people giving Trump a pass on his opportunistically resorting to slander.

This morning, fact checking on the Washington Post describes comments made by Trump in his speech yesterday. The Post:

A large portion of his speech criticized Clinton's record as secretary of state and donations given to the Clinton Foundation, as outlined in Peter Schweizer's book, "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich." One of the strongest charges Trump made was that Clinton "ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund, doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others and really many, many others in exchange for cash."

But Trump offered little evidence to back up this charge, which doesn't make much sense beyond being an easy soundbite. It ignores the fact that the actions of Clinton and Clinton Foundation have been heavily scrutinized over the years, and that critics, including Schweizer, have not been able to prove quid pro quo.

A lot of respect, in my opinion, is due to David Gergen for calmly insisting on CNN that Trump has been going too far with his slander. Some others were playing with equivalency, suggesting that Trump was doing nothing that Hillary wasn't doing.

Chris Hayes at MSNBS wasn't playing that game. He described Trump's speech as

a tirade of inaccuracies, willful distortions and outright lies about Clinton and her records, starting with the charge she used the State Department to line her own pockets.

In my book, Trump lacks honor – common among opportunists. I"m not pretending to be Christian or Jewish, but I do see it as immoral in the sense of bearing false witness.

At Fox News, even Bill O'Reilly (who worked as a real journalist for awhile at CBS) was critical of Trump, but he too went with a false equivalency. He discussed this with Geraldo Rivera, who didn't hold back his emotions in describing Trump as employing slander. Also at Fox News is Sean Hannity, a low-education pundit like Rush Limbaugh – who thinks he is a genius gifted with insight born from common sense. Hannity sees Trump's bull as truth telling.

Today in the Washington Post, the conservative George Will gives us an old adage about a vat of wine standing next to a vat of sewage:

Add a cup of wine to the sewage, and it is still sewage. But add a cup of sewage to the wine, and it is no longer wine but sewage. Is this [he asks] what Donald Trump has done to our politics?”

In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank lays out Trump's falsehoods regarding Hillary and the Benghazi incident. Milbank:

For years, the conspiracy-minded have been trying to prove that Hillary Clinton gave "stand-down" orders blocking the military from helping ambassador Chris Stevens and other U.S. personnel in Benghazi the night of the 2012 attacks.

Trump's dystopia is frequently at odds with reality here on earth. He and his followers live in a dark place where life ranges from bad to horrible, conspiracies abound and allegation passes for truth.

Someone comments:

Much of what Milbank says is true, but he – like most if not all liberals – avoid the one truth that Donald Trump did megaphone, namely, the evil and homicidal promise of Islamist extremism---which advocates Sharia law? Why does Milbank omit this one shout of Trump?

Is Hillary really soft on Islamist extremism?

Someone else comments to the New York Times:

The need to gossip is about more than anxiety, it is a means of dealing with envy and sustaining a higher opinion of oneself by way of comparison. Hillary represents the high achievers amongst us just as did Obama – those terrible people who exploit the corruptive, non-egalitarian nature of a meritocracy.

Also in the news yesterday, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that Donald Trump will have his full support in November. A man with a better reputation regarding foreign policy, Brent Scowcroft, top national security adviser to several former Republican presidents, yesterday endorsed Hillary Clinton.

CNN's Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, 27, is under pressure. While other conservatives with brains (George Will for example and writers at the Wall Street Journal among others) are pushing themselves away from Trump, she is showing us humanity's stuggle with complexity, intelligence and rationalization. She appears to have a normal sense of decency, and like many educated people other than Trump she has a degree of modesty. She has studied both law and politics at Harvard Law School. She graduated from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service with a BSFS in International Politics. She also studied politics at Oxford University

. She says "It's time to make America great again and I have no doubt Trump is the man to do it."

She went face-to-face with Gergen yesterday, and some other than me probably think she held her own.

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.