Lazy Saturday Reads: “Both Sides Do It” — Your National Political MediaPosted: August 27, 2016
Today’s post is going to be mostly a link dump, because I have a busy day ahead; and besides, I’m still so overwhelmed with what’s happening in the news that I don’t think I can write anything much.
I’ll begin with Donald Trump’s latest inhuman tweet:
Apparently, Dwyane Wade (whose first name Trump misspelled) is a professional basketball player, and that may be what called Trump’s attention to the story. The Chicago Sun-Times: Woman pushing stroller fatally shot; was cousin of NBA star Wade.
“My cousin was killed today in Chicago,” Wade tweeted Friday night. “Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough.”
Nykea Aldridge, of the 6400 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, was taken to Stroger Hospital with gunshot wounds to the head and arm and was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
About 3:30 p.m., Aldridge, 32, was walking with a baby in a stroller and a man in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two male suspects walked up and fired shots at a third man, according to Chicago Police.
“As she was walking down the street some type of altercation occurred which didn’t involve her,” Deputy Chief of Detectives James Jones told reporters at Chicago Police headquarters Friday night.
Aldridge’s baby survived and is with relatives.
As with Trump’s reactions to the shootings in San Diego and Orlando, he sees this tragic death only as an opportunity for him. He doesn’t offer condolences; he apparently feels no empathy whatsoever for the woman who died so senselessly or for her family. He doesn’t even bother to use her name in his heartless tweet.
This is a man that much of the media spent yesterday defending against a serious speech by Hillary Clinton on how the Trump campaign is bringing vile white supremacist philosophies into the mainstream of the Republican Party. The “both-sidesism” in the media has been absolutely breathtaking, with multiple press and TV outlets pretending that Clinton’s serious policy speech is equivalent to Trump screaming “Hillary Clinton is a bigot” in a speech on the same day. Here’s prime example from The Washington Post: Clinton, Trump exchange racially charged accusations.
RENO, Nev. — A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of “taking hate groups mainstream,” while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a “bigot” toward African Americans.
Clinton started the day by releasing a video that featured Ku Klux Klan members and white supremacists touting Trump’s candidacy — then gave an afternoon speech condemning Trump’s racially inflammatory remarks and support within the “alt-right,” which she described as an “emerging racist ideology.”
“Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,” she said in the speech in Reno. “It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he’d be.”
Trump, meanwhile, declared in an interview on CNN that Clinton is a bigot — an accusation that he first made at a rally in Mississippi Wednesday night, but that he repeated several times under questioning from CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“She is a bigot,” Trump said in the interview, which was broadcast Thursday. “If you look at what’s happening to the inner cities, you look at what’s happening to African Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time.”
The blisteringly direct accusations brought the subjects of race and bigotry, previously undercurrents, to the surface of this year’s presidential election. And the exchanges hinted at just how nasty the verbal battle between Clinton and Trump could become in the roughly 10 weeks until the general election.
This false equivalency is maddening. How are racism and giving voice to white supremacist groups not serious issues in this campaign? Is the problem that the national media is overwhelmingly white? I just don’t get it.
A day after the Post published that ridiculous article, the editorial board denounced Trump’s racism: Republicans can’t pretend not to know what fuels the Trump campaign.
IN A major speech Thursday, Hillary Clinton linked Donald Trump to bigoted elements on the fringe of American politics. But she got it wrong when she said, “Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”
It’s not a “dog whistle” if everyone can hear the bigotry.
Republicans supporting Mr. Trump, explicitly or tacitly, cannot reasonably claim that they do not know who he is and what he has been doing.
Before running for president, Mr. Trump was the king of the “birthers” who questioned President Obama’s place of birth. He started his campaign by calling Mexican migrants rapists, then spoke approvingly of the inhumane 1950s deportation program known as “Operation Wetback” and delivered a convention speech that described a country overrun by violent foreigners. As Ms. Clinton recounted, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) called Mr. Trump’s attack on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Add in the Republican nominee’s proposed Muslim travel ban, his false aspersions on the U.S. Muslim community, his long history of belittling women, his dissemination of an anti-Semitic graphic, and a clear picture was visible long before Ms. Clinton approached the lectern.
In more recent days, Mr. Trump has attempted to salvage his image with appeals nominally aimed at African Americans. Instead, he only dug himself deeper, depicting African Americans as desperate people living in abject squalor with nothing to lose. He hired a new campaign chief executive, Stephen Bannon, a man who has called the Civil War the “war of Southern Independence” and who ran a website that warned the Obama administration is “importing more hating Muslims.”
Unsurprisingly, polling shows that a majority of Americans believe Mr. Trump is biased against women and minorities. Whether Mr. Trump is a genuine bigot or just cynically appealing to bigoted sentiment is not a question we can answer. Certainly not everyone who supports Mr. Trump is a bigot. But Mr. Trump has attracted the support of assorted American bigots, once thought ejected from mainstream U.S. politics. The candidate has courted this support with plainly visible winks and nods, retweeting their messages and hesitating to disavow them when asked. At any point — such as last August, when the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos pointed out that white nationalists were rallying to Mr. Trump’s cause — Mr. Trump could have offered the loud, full and unequivocal condemnation of the bigoted fringe that the situation required.
So which is it, WaPo? Did Hillary give a “major speech” or did she simply participate in an ugly racial back and forth, as your writers suggested? It’s time for those in big media to make up their minds whether they are going to continue to push the false equivalency doctrine or if they are going to stand up to real bigotry and demagoguery. At least the the majority of the American people seem to have taken Trump’s measure and rejected him.
One media figure who has been mostly even-handed and who has even defended Clinton at times, Joy Reid of MSNBC, published a mystifying and depressing piece at The Daily Beast late last night: Can President Hillary Survive the Media’s Fake Scandals? Though Reid obviously is not completely unsympathetic, she certainly sounds very negative about a possible Clinton presidency. I’ll let you judge this article for yourself, because I’m just too disgusted to excerpt from it.
More stories to check out:
Massimo Calabrisi at Time: What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower.
The Daily Beast: Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentices’ Had to Agree to Go Nude.
Michael Gerson at the WaPo: Trump’s repellent inner circle
Jeremy Peters at the NYT: As Donald Trump Repels Minority Voters, GOP Fears Its Future in the West.
Politico: Teamsters endorse Hillary Clinton.
Portland Press Herald: LePage effectively endorses racial profiling in Maine’s battle against drug addiction and Heroin withdrawal symptoms.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend.