Thursday, May 17, 2018

Absolving Donald Trump

With no apparent sense of irony, on July 31, 2006 candidate Donald J. Trump tweeted

Of course, Hillary Clinton never owned the media or even rented it, and Trump probably confused her with Barack Obama (autumn, 2008) and John McCain (any other time).

Journalist and author John McQuaid notes that the New York Times  "casually drops a kind-of mea culpa for its infamous 10/31/2016 'Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia' story toward the end of a long piece on the early days of the Russia investigation."  Reporters Apuzzo, Goldman, and Fandos (a law firm or brokerage firm?) therein concede

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.

"Crooked Hillary" is "a world-class liar," Donald Trump argued in 2016. That claim was made harder to refute when America's premier newspaper, The New York Times, gave the guy making the charge a virtual clean bill of health.

It's a little much to say the media was "owned" by any candidate during campaign 2016, But in this and in other important respects, it was rented by Donald J. Trump.

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