The few pundits who were quick to blame President Donald Trump for the mass murder at a newspaper in Annapolis, Md., last week were way off base.
You can’t blame Trump, the consummate press critic, for the rampage that resulted in five deaths at the Capital Gazette even though the president and some of his followers have labeled the news media as “the enemy of the people.”
No, the Capital Gazette shooting was more about a personal vendetta and today’s gun violence environment than a reflection of a public antipathy toward the press.
Police say Jarrod Ramos targeted the paper because of its coverage of his 2011 conviction for harassing a former classmate.
A year ago, Donald J. Trump surprised most of the world and probably himself by winning the presidential election. He couldn’t have done it without rural America.
The numbers in the exit polls were clear. Trump won 62 percent of the rural vote, more than any modern president. And here’s the statistic that shows just how rural his victory was: If you divide up the vote by the rural continuum of the Department of Agriculture – which has nine steps, from most rural to most urban – the smaller a place’s population, the stronger its vote for Trump, with one very small exception inside the error margin.
Trump’s percentage continued a recent trend of Republicans winning more and more of the rural vote. The biggest gain was actually made when Mitt Romney ran, but rural turnout was down significantly in 2012, especially among Democrats, so that boosted Romney’s percentage. But there was a better rural turnout in 2016 – and that was a key to Trump’s victory in the big swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
President Trump wants to have it both ways, and, for now at least, it looks like he’s getting what he wants.
He excoriates the media as an “enemy” of the people, but gorges on it – even the purveyors of what he maintains as “fake news.” He clearly subscribes to the line of thought that any kind of publicity is good publicity.
What else could be behind the melodramatic move barring The New York Times, CNN, and Politico from a Feb. 24 briefing by press secretary Sean Spicer?
The Trump administration has suckered the media into allowing itself to become the story.
Every president, every congressman, every Mississippi official, every mayor, every town councilman and more than a few litter commissioners have lamented not getting a fair shake in the press — some more often than others. The well-tested response by journalists has been to admit errors when made, then refocus on the issue at hand, which is never the press. Never.
We are not sure that newspaper endorsements mean what they once did, but if a weekly newspaper is going to make an endorsement in a race as momentous as that for president, with election day on Tuesday, now is the time and this is the place for that paper to do so.
And yet, in this year, in this presidential election, we at this weekly newspaper find that we cannot. We simply cannot, in good faith, in clear conscience, recommend to our readers any one of the field of candidates—perhaps the weakest in the history of the republic—for the highest office in the land and the leader of the free world.
While there are other minor party candidates on the ballot, the unsettling fact is that either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump is going to be elected the next President of the United States. One of them may be capable, but neither of them is worthy.
GREENWOOD – USA Today broke a tradition that goes back to its founding 34 years ago.
It made for the first time an endorsement in the presidential race.
The national newspaper says that every four years its editorial board has revisited its no-endorsement policy on presidential races, the only contest it would consider weighing in on. Until now, it has come to the conclusion that it should keep its opinions to itself. It says it hasn’t wanted to risk the charge of political bias, voters have no shortage of information on presidential candidates to make up their own minds, and its ideologically diverse board could rarely agree on an endorsement anyway.
But this year, the fear of a Donald Trump presidency has caused the newspaper to offer an endorsement — although technically a non-endorsement might be a more apt description.