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Extremely Rare Breath of Fresh Air from the Media


The editor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer does the incredibly rare thing and actually speaks truth about Donald Trump:

A more-than-occasional arrival in the email these days is a question expressed two ways, one with dripping condescension and the other with courtesy:

Why don’t our opinion platforms treat Donald Trump and other politicians exactly the same way. Some phrase it differently, asking why we demean the former president’s supporters in describing his behavior as monstrous, insurrectionist and authoritarian.


The truth is that Donald Trump undermined faith in our elections in his false bid to retain the presidency. He sparked an insurrection intended to overthrow our government and keep himself in power. No president in our history has done worse.

This is not subjective. We all saw it. Plenty of leaders today try to convince the masses we did not see what we saw, but our eyes don’t deceive. (If leaders began a yearslong campaign today to convince us that the Baltimore bridge did not collapse Tuesday morning, would you ever believe them?) Trust your eyes. Trump on Jan. 6 launched the most serious threat to our system of government since the Civil War. You know that. You saw it.

The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren’t two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don’t get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

As for those who equate Trump and Joe Biden, that’s false equivalency. Biden has done nothing remotely close to the egregious, anti-American acts of Trump. We can debate the success and mindset of our current president, as we have about most presidents in our lifetimes, but Biden was never a threat to our democracy. Trump is. He is unique among all American presidents for his efforts to keep power at any cost.

Personally, I find it hard to understand how Americans who take pride in our system of government support Trump. All those soldiers who died in World War II were fighting against the kind of regime Trump wants to create on our soil. How do they not see it?

The March 25 edition of the New Yorker magazine offers some insight. It includes a detailed review of a new book about Adolf Hitler, focused on the year 1932. It’s called “Takeover: Hitler’s Final Rise to Power” and is by historian Timothy W. Ryback. It explains how German leaders – including some in the media — thought they could use Hitler as a means to get power for themselves and were willing to look past his obvious deficiencies to get where they wanted. In tolerating and using Hitler as a means to an end, they helped create the monstrous dictator responsible for millions of deaths.

How are those German leaders different from people in Congress saying the election was stolen or that Jan. 6 was not an insurrection aimed at destroying our government? They know the truth, but they deny it. They see Trump as a means to an end – power for themselves and their “team” – even if it means repeatedly telling lies.

Sadly, many believe the lies. They trust people in authority, without questioning the obvious discrepancies or relying on their own eyes. These are the people who take offense to the truths we tell about Trump. No one in our newsroom gets up in the morning wanting to make a segment of readers feel bad. No one seeks to demean anyone. We understand what a privilege it is to be welcomed into the lives of the millions of people who visit our platforms each month for news, sports and entertainment. But our duty is to the truth.

So….yes! Thank you! This got some attention and said editor really calls out the rest of the media on its Beltway Both Sides Bullshit.

I was shocked. I told my wife and the editor that I asked to read it: “You know I was expecting the complete opposite.” I expected to get a hundred, two hundred emails and texts saying: “You’re an idiot, you’re in the bag for the libs,” and that kind of thing. And when immediately it was not that I was surprised. And then it just blew up. People were reposting it on their social pages. And you know, I started hearing from across the country and across the globe. And by the end of that first day, I had so many emails from people just to say thanks from everywhere. “Tears in their eyes,” they said, multiple people, saying “I’m reading this with tears in my eyes.”

And I gotta tell you I was taken aback because I didn’t feel like it was anything that we hadn’t said. But then I thought, you know, when you work on something like this for six months, and you’re trying so hard to get the language right. Maybe it’s the tone. Maybe it’s the timing. Maybe it was just the time was right.

There’s a lot of anger with the national media, the New York Times and the Washington Post in particular. People feel that they have allowed the Fox News kind of media to set the agenda — that if you go back and count how many times they’ve looked at Joe Biden’s mental state… Anybody that has read a detailed interview with Joe Biden knows he’s not some dribbling idiot that can’t speak. He’s still got his faculties. But Fox News pieces together the places where he stumbles and says dumb things, and tries to portray him as a blithering idiot, and the people who watch that truly believe it. I mean, I get notes from people that are definitely afraid about the future of this country because they think a guy who has no brain matter left is running it.

So [the readers I heard from] are mad that instead of kind of standing firm and setting their own agenda, because Fox News shows it that way, because a sizable part of the population starts to believe it, they feel like they’ve got to address it like it’s a legitimate concern. Instead of saying: “This is absolute horse shit, we’re not gonna do that.”

I was surprised at how many people brought that up — that understood that and are furious about it. And so they were saying: We wish other national media would do what you’re doing: Speaking about this as clear-headedly as you can, and saying,” the truth is the truth, and we’re not going to veer from the truth.”

On NPR: “They didn’t stand up and speak plainly”

The facts are the facts. It’s fascinating to watch what happened with NPR this week, because they didn’t do the right thing. They didn’t stand up and speak plainly.

And I think that’s why this resonated: We’re saying it straight out. We’re not going to pretend. We’re not going to act like “well, he says she says”. It’s not. That’s not what we’re seeing in America today. And there’s a cadre of people that don’t like it because they worship Donald Trump.

Good for this guy and good for the people of Cleveland to have him.

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