April 28, 2019

"But her emails..."

There is no greater indictment of the failures of the American media than that one sentence.

Everyone and anyone with even a degree of sentience knew that Donald Trump was not fit for the presidency.

He was a white supremacist.
He cheated at everything.
He lied about everything.
He committed adultery.
He bankrupted companies and stiffed contractors.
He knew next to nothing about foreign policy or economic policy.
He was embraced by the swampiest of DC swamp creatures and conservatives too fringe or unethical for normal politicians to want to be seen with.

The damaging stories about Trump's life and proclivities came at us like a machine gun. So many stories. So many terrible things. Such an unfit person.

But the vast right wing conspiracy machine that games our mainstream media can't allow that information out to the masses without "balance." In a general election against a Democratic candidate who outstripped Donald Trump in intellect, experience, understanding, and qualifications, the mainstream media needed to focus equally on whatever they could to detract from Hillary Clinton as much as the Wurlitzer of hits against Donald Trump.

But psychologically, that minimized the far more damaging litany of Trump problems and outsized Hillary Clinton's. If you have to use the false equivalency of ten column inches for both candidates, each of Donald Trump's issues took up a half an inch, and Hillary's emails took up all ten.

The mainstream media hasn't really come to terms with their failures on their Hillary Clinton coverage, and how it's so negatively impacted not only the country and democracy, but the world itself.

But Jeffrey Toobin has come around. Toobin spoke to Larry Wilmore on his "Black on Air" podcast about the failures of journalism in which he was a participant.

“I think there was a lot of false equivalence in the 2016 campaign. That every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the p–––y, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’ And I think it led to a sense of false equivalence that was misleading, and I regret my role in doing that.”

Toobin has been a constant presence on CNN. Let us hope he takes this realization (which we've been writing about for oh, about fifteen years) and shares that with his on-air partners.

Perhaps we can have them be a positive force for small-d democracy now.

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