For all the complaining I do about American journalism, there are moments worth celebrating. One of those came before the 2016 election when there was a sudden consensus among major outlets that Donald Trump was a liar. Over the past year or so, the press has been rewarded for its courage (belated courage, but still) as Trump lies like a rug, already reaching his 2,000th false or misleading statement, according to the Washington Post.
We are now witnessing another moment worth celebrating after the president, meeting with congressional leaders, decried immigrants from Haiti and Africa as coming from “shithole countries.” The news broke early evening Thursday, and I thought this would be reported as more of the same, but I awoke to a wonderful and constructive occurrence: there’s now a consensus. The president of the United States is a racist.
CNN led the way with Anderson Cooper saying no, this was not a “racially insensitive” remark. This was a “racist remark,” he said. The Times eventually followed suit with this headline: “Time to Say It: Trump Is a Racist.” Then Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman, a black man often called on the to the Republicans’ racism, told MSNBC: “Yeah, I do [think he’s a racist]. At this point, the evidence is incontrovertible. It’s right there.”
It is right there. It has been right there. But many did not want to see it.
This includes journalists who should be counted on to see what is right there, but often don’t report what is right there, because they can be and are attacked by conservatives for reporting what is right there, because conservatives see motive where there is statement of fact.
This too might sound like a partisan statement, and I have no doubt reporters for the New York Times and others are ready to regale me with both-sides tales of liberals attacking them. But what they don’t get—sometimes, not always—is that liberals get most exercised when reporters are not reporting what is right there. That is, liberals tend to get pissed when reporters are acting like partisans.