Cooper in hog heaven: In his column today in the Washington Post, Colbert King imagines the Clinton-Trump race as a series of boxing matches.
In the passage shown below, he refers to some possible knock-out blows, to the punches which may finish Trump. In this passage, King is describing events which occurred after the second Trump-Clinton debate:
KING (10/15/16): Altogether, Trump has received a sequence of consecutive punches for which he apparently was not prepared.In that passage, King suggests that the recent accusations against Trump may serve as a knock-out blow. That's certainly possible, of course.
The combination came from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who disinvited Trump from a Wisconsin rally...That was quickly followed by several Republicans urging Trump to drop out of the race, and news that 26 percent of Republican governors and members of Congress have refused to endorse him, according to a USA Today survey.
All that was before he got hit with the blows that may take him to the canvas—a succession of women punching back against his assertion during the second debate that he never did the lewd things he boasted about doing. Each claimed to have been sexually accosted by him.
In the main, King seems to be speaking about the way those accusations could affect Trump's vote total. That said, we couldn't help thinking about the way this wave of accusations has energized cable pundits.
Finally, after all these months, the Anderson Coopers of the world have found a topic which has galvanized their tiny ability to focus. Last night, the Coopers were thoroughly focused on these new accusations. "How far down your throat did he stick his tongue," they seemed to want to ask.
It seemed they could keep it up for days. Cable was in hog heaven.
We were struck by their sudden ability to focus. Again, we thought of the way these people have failed, during this campaign, to focus on much of anything else, except for Clinton's meddlesome emails and the ever-present latest batch of polls.
Trump's mental and moral disorder has been clear for some time. But until they got to ask a string of women about getting groped, the Coopers were never quite able to focus on this state of affairs.
They had the emails and the polls. They seemed to need little else.
Again, we find ourselves thinking about the most heinous conduct in which Trump engaged before this latest episode. We think of his reign as the king of the nation's birthers. We think of the refusal of people like Cooper to focus on that behavior.
The behavior which enervates Cooper today involves alleged assaults against individuals. Assaults of that type are a serious matter, of course. No one is wrong about that.
That said, Trump's reign as king of the birthers involved an assault on the national discourse, and on voters who were too gullible to know they were being played. But so what? The Coopers seem incapable of caring about such assaults, even of imagining that such an assault could exist.
Let's recall the history of this topic. Candidate Trump declared for the White House in June 2015. At that time, a few interviewers actually asked him about his birther claims.
He said he no longer discusses that topic. Suitably instructed, the nation's journalists folded their tents and crawled away.
To all intents and purposes, the topic disappeared. That said, consider what happened when the New York Times finally examined the topic.
Good lord! On Sunday, July 3, 2016, the Times ran a lengthy front-page report about Trump's birther career. By now, Trump had been a candidate for more than a year. The New York Times had finally decided to examine this poisonous matter.
Production of the 1800-word front-page report had been a family affair. Ashley Parker and Steve Eder were listed as the reporters. But according to an extended byline, Michael Grynbaum and Maggie Haberman had "contributed reporting." Kitty Bennett "contributed research."
More than a year after Trump announced, five reporters had rolled up their sleeves to report this remarkable episode. But how sad! In the course of their exertions, they never asked a basic question:
Had Trump been lying all along about this ugly affair?
We refer to one of the ugliest parts of Trump's assault on the discourse. We refer to his repeated claims in 2011 that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to probe Obama's birth.
"They cannot believe what they are finding," he had dramatically said on The View. Millions of people were watching the show. His claim ricocheted all around.
That said, had Trump really dispatched agents, or had that just been a lie? Amazingly, in the last two paragraphs of their lengthy report, the scribes finally offered these thoughts:
PARKER, EDER, GRYNBAUM, HABERMAN AND BENNETT (7/3/16): 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.Say what? Trump "never dispatched [those] investigators?" That was a lie all along?
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.
In best Times fashion, the "evidence" supporting this provisional claim was flimsy at best. But here's the part which should make inquiring minds resent the Times:
In all their 1800 words, there was no sign that Parker, Eder and the rest had ever popped that question! Did Trump send people to Hawaii? Or did he lie about that?
The Times Five interviewed three Trump associates in the course of their report. But how odd! There was no sign that they had asked any of these close associates if anyone went to Hawaii.
Trump himself declined to be interviewed for the Times report. That said, there was no sign that the Times had forwarded those questions to Trump, or to his official campaign. Had Trump been lying all along? Despite the suspicion they voiced at the end of their report, the Times reporters had been too polite to ask!
Donald J. Trump did a terrible thing when he ran that birther scam. He conducted an assault on the nation's discourse. Also on the gullible voters who failed to see through the scam.
A full year after he declared, the New York Times finally got around to writing about this episode. And when they did, they meekly agreed not to pose the key question:
Had Donald J. Trump been lying about this ugly affair all along?
Was Donald Trump lying all along? Admit it! To this day, you've never seen a single journalist pose that question to Trump.
Cooper has interviewed Trump again and again, especially during the primaries. But he never asked that obvious question. Dearest darlings, he seemed to know that such things simply aren't done!
Cooper was like a lazer last night. Everything else disappeared.
Coming Monday: President Clinton in Africa, via Gene Lyons' new column