The Times Against the Trump
Sometimes, it's ok to roll around in the dirt.
It must be increasingly harder for the Donald to pick up the New York Times the closer we get to Election Day. Not because he's personally bothered, since most of us would guess his ego to be too inflated for such things, but due to the fact that it's getting harder to ignore that the newspaper is playing a pivetal role in hurting his campaign. Hell, open up the Times' mobile app at any given day and you'll be blundered with explicitly anti-Trump front-page headlines: "Trump Assails his Accusers as Liars, and Unnatractive"; "Supporters of Mr. Trump booed and yelled at the press at a rally"; "Candidates Rhetoric often gets heated. But not like this". Not to mention the recent tape scandals, brought to light most effectively by the same paper that this week told the story of two women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by Trump in the past.
Of course, this poses above all else a question of journalistic integrity. Those who favour an unbiased, fairly balanced press will be quick to point out that the NYT is more than a little left-leaning, having supported, with few or no exceptions, Democrats in presidential elections over the years. And even those who agree with ideologically compromised journalism, as is common in the United States, might concede that the paper has gone a bit too far. After all, isn’t it the media’s job to inform the population in a responsible, democratic way, no matter who’s running? Aren’t both candidate’s proposals fair and acceptable from a mildly objective point of view?
The short answer, in this case, would be 'no’. The Times is aware of these problems, and has addressed them a while back in an op-ed titled "When a Crackpot runs for President" - short of subtelty, as always. And it more or less states what this piece is trying to say, albeit with better writing, manners, and visibility: that extreme situations require extreme measures. That upon us is a propsected future so grim, so hopeless and dangerous that news organisations must invest themselves with the duty of swaying the public opinion to the other side of the spectrum, because the burden of defeat is way too hard to bare.
For the main problem here isn’t that Donald Trump is a certified lunatic with a morally questionable character, but that he has the name, the connections, the discourse and, sure enough, plenty of piles of cash lying around to throw at campaign consultants to make himself look like the next Savior of America, and in turn put himself in a position where he can do real, lasting damage. And he’s been doing a pretty good job of it, too: up until last week, nearly half of the country was going to vote for a man with such insane ideals, in spite of recurring efforts to point out their depravity. And so, the Times sees itself forced to roll around in the dirt with him.
And I understand it completely, if only because it's become increasingly apparent that there is no longer room for rationality, cohesion and intelectual honesty in this discussion. When it comes to the presumably poorly educated or politically alienated mass that forms the base of Trump supporters, it doesn't matter that there is an obvious conflict of interest with having a wealthy entrepreneur with billions invested into business run for President; or that he showcases a discourse that can be objectively traced to racism, xenophobia, misoginy and plenty of other kinds of bigotry; or that he has a history of bullying and intimidating his opponents via scare tactics and lawsuit after lawsuit; or that he plans to overturn significant achievements of the Obama administration, such as the Affordable Care Act and the Nuclear Deal with Iran; or that he has no intention of adressing pressing democratizing issues like overturning Citizens United and reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act; or that he actually doesn't give a shit about the environment, sustainable development, social justice or your "average working-class american".
Instead, they need solid, palpable dirt on Trump to change their minds - the kind of speculatory, emotional political tools the man himself likes to get his hands on more than often. They need to know he's the kind of women-hurting, good-for-nothing scoundrel that can't be president because, you know, he's just a "bad guy" - a "grab 'em by the pussy" kind of guy. And so, the New York Times, one of the most respected newspapers in the world and a notoriously dirt-free outlet, gives them what they need, in hope that this lesser evil will contribute to the greater good on November 8th.
Of course, it's all too easy for the aforementioned Donald to dismiss these accusations with the usual clichéd talking points: it's an attempt by the "lamestream media" to stop this "grassroots movement" that's going to usher in "real change" and "make America great again", whatever the fuck that means. And many of his supporters will be convinced, unfortunately. All we know is the fiercest presidential race in recent memory is getting uglier by the minute, and in these desperate times if Trump will be stopped at nothing to get what he wants, then neither should we.