Don't ask, don't make Trump tell: It took them a few weeks more than a year.
It took them more than a year—but last Sunday, in a lengthy front-page report, the New York Times finally did it! At long last, the famous newspaper finally pretended to examine the claims which made Donald J. Trump the king of the nation's birthers.
To read the report, click here.
Trump became the nation's birther king in 2011. At that time, the gentleman's hometown New York Times was extremely reluctant to criticize his disgraceful, ridiculous conduct.
The Potemkin "newspaper" is like that! Last Sunday, the faux newspaper finally pretended to examine Trump's widely-bruited claims. The assignment went to Ashley Parker, one of the famous paper's silliest "political reporters."
Parker started at the newspaper, straight out of college, as Maureen Dowd's "research assistant," whatever that could possibly mean. Last Sunday, her 1835-word "news report" appeared on the paper's front page under this headline:
"How Trump's 'Birther' Claims Helped to Stir Presidential Bid"
Parker was the lead reporter on the piece, but she hadn't labored alone. Steve Eder was listed as co-reporter and, according to the Times byline, "Michael M. Grynbaum and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research."
Presumably, editors also worked on the piece. As always, they went unnamed.
Five different reporters had worked on the front-page piece! Their lengthy report helps us see what phony "reporting" looks like.
As noted, Donald J. Trump became king of the birthers in 2011. As Parker managed to note rather late in her front-page report, Trump "said repeatedly that he had sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to unearth information about Mr. Obama's birth records."
Parker even quoted one of the things Trump said about his alleged investigators. ''They cannot believe what they are finding,'' he said in an appearance on the widely-watched ABC program, The View.
From that day to this, several rather obvious questions have begged for review. Here are a few of those obvious questions:
Obvious questions which beg for review:Those are blindingly obvious questions about this gruesome episode. Given the prominence of Donald J. Trump, these questions should have been examined in real time.
Did Donald J. Trump really send investigators to Hawaii? Or was he lying when he kept making that claim?
How many investigators did he send? What are a few of their names?
If he did send investigators to Hawaii, what were their findings about Obama? Trump said they were startled by their findings. What were they startled by?
When Trump became a White House contender, these questions became even more salient. Last Sunday, the New York Times finally pretended to check them out, a bit more than one year later.
We say "pretended" for a reason. Ashley Parker's front-page report is a prime example of Potemkin journalism, in which a newspaper pretends to tackle a politically difficult subject while plainly failing to do so.
Did Trump send gumshoes to Hawaii? Despite her 1835 words, there is no sign that Parker. or her unnamed "editors," actually tried to find out.
How bad does reporting get at the New York Times? Before we examine the heart of Parker's evasion, consider the type of ridiculous error which typifies New York Times work.
Below, you see the way Parker's began her report. In paragraph 5, we're told that Trump "even proposed dispatching private investigators to Hawaii" (our italics):
PARKER (7/3/16): Joseph Farah, a 61-year-old author, had long labored on the fringes of political life, publishing a six-part series claiming that soybeans caused homosexuality and fretting that “cultural Marxists” were plotting to destroy the country.Let's assume that Farah's recollection is accurate—that Trump really did "even propose" sending gumshoes to Hawaii. You have to read all the way to paragraph 31, very deep in the lengthy report, to learn that Trump ended up repeatedly saying he'd done so:
But in early 2011, he received the first of several calls from a Manhattan real estate developer who wanted to take one of his theories mainstream.
That developer, Donald J. Trump, told Mr. Farah that he shared his suspicion that President Obama might have been born outside the United States and that he was looking for a way to prove it.
“What can we do to get to the bottom of this?” Mr. Trump asked him. “What can we do to turn the tide?”
Mr. Farah recalled that Mr. Trump even proposed dispatching private investigators to Hawaii, Mr. Obama’s birthplace, to resolve the debate.
PARKER (pgh 31): Mr. Trump also said repeatedly that he had sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to unearth information about Mr. Obama’s birth records. “They cannot believe what they are finding,” Mr. Trump told ABC’s “The View.”You don't learn that until paragraph 31, deep inside the lengthy, 46-paragraph piece! But a mere 12 paragraphs later, Parker seems to have forgotten what she wrote. Absurdly, she offers the highlighted point:
PARKER (pghs 41-43): Now, Mr. Trump almost assiduously refuses to discuss the topic, which, according to several people close to him, was always more about political performance art than ideology.Even threatening to send a team of investigators to Hawaii? Just like that, Parker seems to have forgotten that Trump repeatedly said, in public forums, that he actually did so!
“I don’t talk about that anymore,” Mr. Trump told the MSNBC host Chris Matthews after a Republican debate last year.
Raising questions about the president’s birth certificate—and even threatening to send a team of investigators to Hawaii—had served its purpose, raising Mr. Trump’s political profile and, whether he knew it or not at the time, providing him with the rudimentary foundation upon which he built his 2016 campaign.
How do newspapers make such absurd mistakes? Only the New York Times knows! But that absurd bit of memory loss is a relatively minor problem with Parker's report. The major problem lies at the end—and with the blindingly obvious questions she plainly refused to ask.
Did Donald J. Trump ever send gumshoes to Hawaii? Or was he just lying when he made that repeated claim?
These have been obvious questions for the past five years—but only in her final two paragraphs does Parker pretend to raise them. This is the way she ends her lengthy report:
PARKER (pghs 45-46): But for all of his fascination with the president’s birth certificate, Mr. Trump apparently never dispatched investigators or made much of an effort to find the documents.If you read all the way to paragraph 45 of a 46-paragraph piece, you see Parker suggest the possibility that Trump was lying all along. But she never states the possibility in such an unpleasant way, and she offers extremely flimsy "evidence" in support of her speculation.
Dr. Alvin Onaka, the Hawaii state registrar who handled queries about Mr. Obama, said recently through a spokeswoman that he had no evidence or recollection of Mr. Trump or any of his representatives ever requesting the records from the Hawaii State Department of Health. (end of report)
Most significantly, here's what she never does at any point in this long front-page report. She never asks a string of Trump factotums to answer those obvious questions!
Did Trump send gumshoes to Hawaii? Or was he simply lying? Bowing and scraping to Donald Trump's power, Parker never poses those question to Farah, with whom she opens her piece.
She never poses those questions to Roger Stone, another Trump factotum whom she interviews in her piece. She never asks Sam Nunberg, "who was one of Mr. Trump’s advisers during that period but was fired from his current campaign."
Parker quotes from an interview with Nunberg about the birther episode. But she never asks him the obvious questions: Did Trump send gumshoes to Hawaii to probe Obama's birth? Or was he lying when he kept saying he did?
Parker never poses those obvious questions to Farah, Stone or Nunberg. And needless to say, she never poses those awkward questions to the Trump campaign.
Parker writes that Donald J. Trump "declined to be interviewed about the subject." That said, what happened when she posed the obvious questions to Trump's spokespeople?
Parker never tells you that! In truth, there's no sign that she ever posed the obvious questions to anyone from Trump's campaign.
Did Trump send gumshoes to Hawaii, or was he simply lying? Judging from her lengthy report, Parker never asked!
Parker is one of the many sillybills on the Times political staff. Some of their political sillybills are hapless youngish men. But in the years since its famous "Creeping Dowdism" has come to define the New York Times work, the paper has seemed to prefer hiring hapless youngish women to perform its political work.
(Amazingly, several competent people are still on the New York Times staff.)
In this particular pseudo-report, the Times pretended to go Hawaiian, just as Gidget actually did so many years ago. In this instance, Parker showed how fake it can get when the Times pretends to talk truth to power without really having to do so.
Was Donald Trump lying all along? Playing a very familiar old game, Parker and her unnamed editors completely forgot to ask!