The way elections are lost: Yesterday, Maureen Dowd affirmed Donald Trump's invented fact.
She did so in a column which appeared on the front page of the New York Times' Sunday Review. It was a very high-profile piece. This was part of her column:
DOWD (5/1/16): The prime example of commander-in-chief judgment Trump offers is the fact that, like Obama, he thought the invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea.In that first excerpt, Dowd seems to say that it's a "fact" that Trump opposed the war in Iraq. In the second excerpt, she imagines Trump "preening about his good judgment on Iraq" in the October debates.
You can actually envision a foreign policy debate between Trump and Clinton that sounds oddly like the one Obama and Clinton had in 2008, with Trump playing Obama, preening about his good judgment on Iraq, wanting an end to nation-building and thinking he could have a reset with Russia.
Here's the problem:
As a million fact-checkers have noted by now, there is zero evidence that Donald J. Trump opposed the war in Iraq. There is zero evidence that he ever displayed any good judgment concerning this topic.
About a million fact-checkers have noted this point by now. But so what? The New York Times seems heavily invested in helping Trump spread this phony fact.
This is the way elections get lost; we'll discuss that recurrent problem later in the week. For today, let's record the recent efforts by the Times to spread this invented fake fact.
Last Thursday, the invented fact appeared at the very top of the New York Times' front page. This was the second paragraph of a front-page news report about Trump's foreign policy address:
LANDLER AND PARKER (4/28/16): Mr. Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, pledged a major buildup of the military, the swift destruction of the Islamic State and the rejection of trade deals that he said tied the nation’s hands. But he also pointedly rejected the nation-building of the George W. Bush administration, reminding his audience that he had opposed the Iraq war.Right at the top of the Times front page, Landler and Parker vouched for Trump's invented fact—for the widely-debunked, inaccurate claim that Donald J. Trump opposed the war in Iraq.
Three days later, Times readers met the phony claim again, this time in Dowd's column. That column appeared on the front page of the Sunday Review, a very high-profile placement.
Sadly, these weren't the first instances in which the Times affirmed Trump's phony invented claim. Over the weekend, we read Mark Landler's cover story from last week's New York Times Sunday magazine.
We'll be danged if Landler didn't play this phony card too:
LANDLER (4/24/16): Neither Trump nor Cruz favors major new deployments of American soldiers to Iraq and Syria (nor, for that matter, does Clinton). If anything, both are more skeptical than Clinton about intervention and more circumspect than she about maintaining the nation's post-World War II military commitments. Trump loudly proclaims his opposition to the Iraq War. He wants the United States to spend less to underwrite NATO and has talked about withdrawing the American security umbrella from Asia, even if that means Japan and South Korea would acquire nuclear weapons to defend themselves.It's true that Trump "loudly proclaims his opposition to the war in Iraq." He has been doing so since at least last summer.
It's just that a million fact-checkers have noted that Donald J. Trump seems to maybe perhaps be lying about this. There is zero evidence that he opposed the war, and some evidence that he didn't.
Last summer, Trump said he could produce twenty-five news reports about the way he opposed the war. So far, no one has been able to find even one.
Despite this fact, the New York Times now seems to be working hard to endorse Trump's invented fact. They're even framing his invented fact in exactly the way he likes it.
This is the way elections are lost. To date, the evidence suggests that we liberals will sit and twiddle our thumbs about this bizarre conduct by the Times, just exactly as we've done at other such times in the past.
Dowd says she can picture Trump playing this card in October's debates. Given what the Times is doing, we can now picture that too.