By Dave Andrusko
Say this for the New York Times editorial page. None of this last minute, 11th hour endorsement stuff for them.
Sunday—almost 10 months before the election and even before the first caucus is held in Iowa–the Editorial Page Writers (they deserve initial caps, they are so august) offered its endorsement for President!
Of course, as everyone immediately pointed out, what’s an endorsement if you endorse two separate Democrats—in this case, pro-abortion Sen. Elizabeth Warren and pro-abortion Sen. Amy Klobuchar?
You kind of anticipated The Times wouldn’t be endorsing Donald Trump. In the first paragraph, the only smear they missed was tip-toeing up but not specifically calling him a Nazi. They’re saving that one for later. Donald Trump could single-handedly cure cancer and the Times would bash him for taking credit away from hard-working researchers.
About a hundred years ago I covered Minneapolis City Hall for my college newspaper which, at the time, was universally acknowledged to be one of the top. I covered the Mayor and the City Council with a novice’s enthusiasm. In retrospect, I would put up what I wrote with any of the work of the beat reporters for the Minneapolis Tribune, the Minneapolis Star, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Their coverage was absurdly one-sided—pro-Democrat (locally called the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party). The local political and media establishments hated the Mayor who ran as an Independent. He won two terms, lost, and came back to serve a third.
I mention this because this NYT editorial reminded me of something from long ago that seems like it took place yesterday. A member of the Council, a Democrat, conjured up this corruption story about the Mayor and the Minneapolis papers treated it like it was Watergate and as if there were actual reliable sources for the allegations (there weren’t any).
The Mayor was bashed day in and day out. The beat reporters and the local editorial writers couldn’t write enough critical commentary.
Contrarian then as now, I interviewed the Mayor. He got to tell his side of the story. Suddenly, the beat reporters—who had treated this kid reporter fairly—looked at me askew.
How could I have possibly have written a story in which the Mayor got to make the case for his innocence? Didn’t I KNOW that everybody who was anybody KNEW that he was guilty?
I didn’t respond, although I could have, that I knew, they knew, everyone knew that the Council member who was the source for the allegation was the most partisan member of a Council running over with partisans, and that we all knew he would say anything, which you knew if you covered the Council on a daily basis, as I did for two years. Actually, you could have figured that out in about a week.
The point is simply this. When, in this case, newspapers absolutely hate a politician, they lose not only any semblance of balance, let alone fairness, they lose all credibility with anyone who does not loath the politician as much as they do.
Put another way, to return to the Times editorial, it blinds them to the gaping weaknesses of their preferred candidate[s]. And, it also leads them into making grotesque caricatures of the people who do support the candidate–Trump—they want defeated at all costs.
But, on the other hand, it couldn’t happen to a nicer news outlet than the New York Times.