The Newspaper of Record on the evident virility of the once and future caudillo:
Mr. Trump, by contrast, does not appear to be suffering the effects of time in such visible ways. Mr. Trump often dyes his hair and appears unnaturally tan. He is heavyset and tall, and he uses his physicality to project strength in front of crowds. When he takes the stage at rallies, he basks in adulation for several minutes, dancing to an opening song, and then holds forth in speeches replete with macho rhetoric and bombast that typically last well over an hour, a display of stamina.
It’s a display of something, and they have a word for what that is.
Yet more from the New York Times yesterday, in the article Scott linked below, reporting that Trump threatened a NATO ally like a literal mob boss:
Former President Donald J. Trump said on Saturday that, while president, he told the leaders of NATO countries that he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to countries that had not paid the money they owed to the military alliance.
Mr. Trump did not make clear whether he ever intended to follow through on such a threat.
A sentence like that would not appear in the New York Times about any other American politician. What would it even mean to “make clear” that your threat is in fact a threat? Plus kidding on the square is fascist rhetoric 101!
This kind of thing was inexcusable in 2016, but in 2024 it’s simply active collaboration.
I’m going to quote a friend of mine who is a government lawyer:
1) Currently the Biden age article, the one featured more prominently than Trump offering up NATO nations for attack which incidentally is a pretty big tell as to how they rack and stack those totally incomparable things, is a horserace one: “Why the Age Issue Is Hurting Biden So Much More Than Trump.” Whatever the merits of the age issue are or could reasonably be, the idea to horserace it is emphatically a choice. Which is especially funny since at least some part of the reason it is an issue is because the media decides to make it one.
2) As many people have noted, they’ve learned nothing in the 8 years since 2016. They’ve had plenty of time and plenty of examples of how insincere the GOP is about everything, about how unbalanced the parties’ respect for the truth and democracy are, and how the GOP will exploit the Bothesidesm. Whether they are intentionally doing this because…well I don’t know, or they simply have not learned, I don’t know. I don’t care. They’re failing miserably long after it became unreasonable. Maybe its a hard problem, but you’ve got to try. It’s the difference between missing a 60 yard FG a couple yards short (understandable) and having your kick land at the 20 yard line (terrible).
3) legacy media ain’t what it once was, but it still matters. People of note still read it and let it influence their opinions, it affects other media organizations by giving them permission to do things. They’re powerful, a lot rests on them, and they are (again) totally dropping the ball.
4) already mentioned this but the frequency with which the media’s behavior is treated as something they don’t control, often by the media itself (“Biden’s performance placed his age at the center of discussion” as if the media isn’t choosing to place it there) is appalling. Again, there is some merit to it, but when you constantly obscure your role and agency in placing it there, it’s downright dishonest.
5) I’m a big picture kind of guy. I’m not going to say you can never critique Biden or explain exactly how you cover Trump. But at 30k feet, the issue is Trump presents an obvious existential threat. He’s not shy about laying it out either. So the basic message/answer/theme/program is “Trump is a menace who must be defeated.” That’s the story. So once we start getting nit picky in his defense or defense of people who should be stopping him (and media in a free society absolutely does need to take sides in broad defense of preserving that free society, and anyway even if you disagree the Trump hagiography [about his virile appearance at rallies] sort of blows the idea of them being above taking sides), it kind of misses the big picture.
And I just don’t have the patience for this crap. The country is facing an existential crisis in the open and slow motion. Trump et al are not the least bit subtle. And yet people continue to equivocate, minimize, distract, and defend. It’s just not the thing you should be focusing on. Don’t defend powerful assholes who are failing at their duty.
Fascism doesn’t happen without a whole lot of elites being at least OK with it, if not active enthusiasts.