Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Breaking news: New York Times spots naked emperor at GOP royal court

[In case you missed the naked emperor thread up until now, click here, here and here.]

As mentioned before, the establishment press, as always best represented by the New York Times, is on the horns of a dilemma. The thought of Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination for president is unthinkable for any number of reasons. Unfortunately however, virtually all of Trump's abuses and his most offensive tactics were made possible by years of declining journalistic standards at the very same institutions now decrying him. As a result, they cannot effectively criticize Trump without acknowledging their own role in his creation.

We need mea culpas and instead we get exercises in self-justification and selective memory like this recent NYT op-ed:
Mr. Trump relies on social media to spread his views. This is convenient because there’s no need to respond to questions about his fabrications. That makes it imperative that other forms of media challenge him.
I actually laughed out loud when I read that one. The asking of challenging questions has long been the exception, almost entirely reserved for safe targets. For a variety of reasons, the original three establishment GOP candidates were able to say nearly anything without danger of follow-up. Bush's 4%. Rubio's vanishing refundable tax credit. Walker's numerous scandals.

It wasn't just this paragraph. Throughout the entire piece, the rest of the GOP goes unmentioned other than one brief generic reference to the "Republican field." Someone unfamiliar with the campaign might come away with the impression that Trump is the only Republican candidate spreading debunked lies, using alarmist rhetoric, and playing on the Islamophobia of the base.

The editorial board of the NYT must be aware that Rubio (the wonky but cute one) is talking about civilizational struggles and comparing Muslims to Nazis. Kasich is "proposing a new federal agency to spread Judeo-Christian values throughout the world as a way to combat the Islamic State." Bush is for accepting refugees along as they're mainly Christian. Cruz is... oh, hell, do I even need to go there?

Institutions like the New York Times are still looking for ways to be selective in their condemnation of bigotry and dishonesty, avoiding examples that highlight their own complicity. This makes their arguments ineffective (not to mention maddeningly smug).

[typo fixed]

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