Donald Trump isn’t “The Donald:” Over the weekend, we decided we’d introduce a new running feature this week. It would concern an annoying aspect of the press corps’ coverage of Candidate Trump.
Examples of the widespread practice can’t really be searched for. We knew we’d have to wait until someone triggered our new feature through their silly, formulaic work.
This morning, the honors went to Jonathan Alter! We’re sorry, but it’s way past time for major scribes to drop this lazy piddle:
ALTER (8/17/15): Trump disgusts me and I’m sure he disgusts Clinton. He is hardly a model for her behavior or anyone else’s. But Hillary has a lot to learn from The Donald about how to handle herself in the circus that has become our politics. Trump could teach Clinton a thing or two about trust, risk-taking, and counter-punching. Instead of feeling embarrassed for celebrity-slumming at his wedding, she should ask herself every so often: WWDD. What Would Donald Do?Earth to so-called press corps:
You know that fellow, Candidate Trump? His name really isn’t “The Donald.” Now that he’s actually running for president, we’re routinely amazed, and not amazed, when journalists refer to him in their favorite silly/fun nickname-y way.
Is there anything our upper-end journalists are able to treat in a serious, professional manner? Endlessly, the answer seems to be no.
We’ll list offenders as they appear in this, our new running feature. But this is the basic idea:
You can call him “Mister Trump” or “Candidate Trump.” You can call him “Johnson” or “Jackson.”
But guess what? Except in the childish minds of these life forms, he actually isn’t “The Donald.” You might want to throw away “Hillary” too, although confusion with another Clinton may complicate this practice.
Journalists today just wanna have fun. It isn’t just Rachel Maddow!
And now for a bit of the rest of the story: A great deal of Alter’s piece doesn’t seem to make sense to us. (We are not assuming “innocence” on Clinton’s part in the email matter.)
For one example, Alter’s reasoning here is highly familiar. But it doesn’t quite seem to parse:
ALTER: But Hillary is not a lovable rogue like her husband. She is cleaner than Bill but wears less Teflon. The pattern with her going back to her days as first lady is a cover-up—or at least suspicious damage control—without a crime. Recall her disastrous “Pretty in Pink” press conference on the largely phony Whitewater scandal (which made her seem dodgy and legalistic); her misplacing of the Rose law firm billing records (which made her appear as if she was hiding something when the records showed nothing); and her testimony before a grand jury (which made her look like a crook when she wasn’t).Questions:
If Whitewater was largely phony, in what way did that “disastrous” press conference make Clinton seem “dodgy and legalistic?” Wasn’t that merely a hackish press corps script?
(By the way, is some purpose served by continuing to use the belittling “Pretty in Pink” designation?)
If the billing records eventually showed that Clinton hadn’t been hiding something, why does Alter refer to this episode as “a cover-up—or at least suspicious damage control?” Why doesn’t he simply say that Clinton has often been wrongly accused and judged by the mainstream press in the past?
In what way did Clinton’s testimony to that grand jury “make her look like a crook,” since Alter says she actually wasn’t? In all these designations, isn’t Alter simply repeating the scripts of his deeply horrible guild—a guild he lacks the courage, the decency and the honesty to stand up and challenge directly?
Donald Trump isn’t “The Donald.” Is Jonathan Alter a journalist now, or one more hack in the guild?