Monday, September 12, 2016

Beltway Media Abdicates Holding Trump Accountable

A Politico piece this morning asks the obvious question: why does Donald Trump get a pass?

"Why Donald Trump gets a pass."

"Clinton laments a media double-standard but it’s the voters who are grading on a curve."

Read more:

While it does admit this is going on, it wholly absolves the media of any guilt. It's the voters doing that.

Sure, it's the voters who have decided to cover the email story 24/7/365 while much more egregious Trump stories are giving the one and done treatment. It's the voters who write bad pieces about the Clinton Foundation where there has been no wrongdoing but still we get some really long piece that tries to suggest something, somehow, 'raises questions.'

And it's the voters not the media who is now mainstreaming absurd Hillary health conspiracies of falsely claiming she fainted; while Trump himself almost fainted at an event a few weeks ago. It's the voters that give us such asymmetric coverage.

"Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico was declared a success even after he mischaracterized the crux of his conversation with Mexico’s president. The GOP nominee is now described as “presidential” for shifting from insult-filled, ad-lib performances to insult-filled scripted speeches. And he scored points for confidence and style despite failing on substance during light questioning on the most important national security issues of the next presidency."

"Even the way NBC’s Matt Lauer teed up a question during last week’s Commander in Chief forum brought one reality of this 2016 campaign into stark relief: Donald Trump is being graded on a curve."

"You’ve had a very different background, in business,” Lauer told Trump. “So nobody would expect you to have taken over the last 20 years really deep dives into some of these issues. But I’m curious about what you’re doing now.”

Read more:

Matt Lauer, of course, is not a journalist, he's a voter.

And now the media is going on a health inquisition of Hillary, while seemingly ok with Trump not releasing any medical records at all.

David Rothschild speaks for many:

"@Pringles519 @BrendanNyhan media has given up on holding Trump to standard of every other past nominee, but continue to do so for Clinton."

And it's the voters not the media, I'm sure, who is deciding to vindicate health conspiracy theories. Britain Stelter tries to clarify:

"Speaking of those conspiracy theories... Dave Weigel noted that some of the people "who shared fake seizure stories and forged medical records" are saying they are "vindicated" by today's stumble. Let's be clear about this. The right wing web sites and supermarket tabloids that have been insinuating, for years, that Clinton is on death's door were irresponsible then and they're irresponsible now. Same goes for the radio hosts who have been reckless speculating about possible cover-ups. Those entertainers are not in the same category (or shall we say "basket") as the journalists and commentators who have been raising red flags about Clinton's health..."

You have to sigh up for Stelter's newsletter...

But Stelter also admits that this fake 'healthscare would be less if the conspiracies had not been fomented.

"The coverage of this episode will be magnified and extended because the people who’ve been pushing conspiracy theories about Clinton's health for some time understand well one of the less appealing qualities of the political press: say something long enough and loud enough and it becomes a controversy, part of the narrative, and gets covered regardless of its actual importance or basis in fact. Then, when there's an event like this that fits that narrative, it’s a bigger and more damaging story than it might otherwise have been."

Exactly. So you can't claim that the journalists now running with this are totally of a different order than the health truthers. If you hadn't had the truthers, the media would not be overhyping this so egregiously now.

Stelter also does what Beltway journalists always do. He blames the Clinton's 'lack of transparency.' This coverage is justified because she left the press behind. That's what is so important in their mind.

"Coverage of this will also be extended and magnified, though, because of the Clinton campaign’s own actions. Act like you've got something to hide — refuse to have a protective pool; ditch reporters at the memorial and go radio silent; put on a brief show for the cameras and then ditch reporters again — and you’ll get covered like you’ve got something to hide. And you’ll deserve it."

"This doesn't wash as Trump hasn't had a protective pool either, he has provided no meaningful health records and he himself almost fainted at an event a few weeks ago, but there has been no comparable coverage of him."
So blaming this on how the Clinton campaign interacts with the press won't wash, as the Trump campaign interacts worse, and practices zero transparency.

CNN's Jake Tapper:

"Voters have every right to see, ASAP, the presidential nominees' health records and tax returns as previous nominees have provided."

She provided 30 years of tax returns and she's provided just as much health records as Obama and Romney.

"Clinton, 68, has so far released only a physician’s letter with about the same amount of detail as letters issued by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012. Clinton’s doctor concluded she was “in excellent physical condition.”

Only. Why if it was good enough for Obama and Romney there is yet again a different Clinton standard?

But a voter wrote this piece, not a journalist.

So the Beltway's explanation: you can't blame us for any of this. We have no control over our coverage, we have zero discretion for any of this, really.

It's the voters who tell us what to cover and how much and what to not cover so much. It's just because the Clintons are not transparent enough, even though Trump is not transparent at all, we're ok with it in his case. 

We're only offended when it's the Clintons. 

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