In the wake of last week’s election, one might have expected reporters to be chastened, with their candidate defeated and their attacks on Donald Trump having proved unavailing if not counterproductive. But they are incorrigible. Trump is nowhere near being inaugurated, and already reporters are spinning madly. Let’s take just one example from today’s news.
The Associated Press (our old friends Jill Colvin and Julie Pace, along with Steve peoples) tells us what to think about some possible Trump appointments. Until it was revised later in the day, this is how the AP article began:
His nascent administration already under attack…
That’s the lead: Trump is already under attack! As though it were newsworthy that Democrats are unhappy about losing.
…President-elect Donald Trump was considering Monday whether to inject new diversity into the GOP…
Because the GOP lacks diversity! That’s the story, right?
…by recommending a woman to lead the Republican Party and an openly gay man to represent the United States at the United Nations.
But why is this “new diversity”? If you keep reading, you learn that the gay man–Richard Grenell–“previously served as U.S. spokesman at the U.N. under President George W. Bush’s administration.” So the diversity is hardly new. Likewise with recommending a woman to head the Republican National Committee; the AP later grudgingly admits that this first happened 40 years ago.
Now we need a little more negative context for Trump’s possible appointments:
The moves, among dozens under consideration from his transition team, follow an intense and extended backlash from Trump’s decision on Sunday to appoint Steve Bannon, a man celebrated by the white nationalist movement, to serve as his chief strategist and senior adviser.
“Intense and extended backlash”? That sounds like news! Where is the backlash coming from?
“After winning the presidency but losing the popular vote, President-elect Trump must try to bring Americans together – not continue to fan the flames of division and bigotry,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. She called Bannon’s appointment “an alarming signal” that Trump “remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign.”
Criticism by Nancy Pelosi: stop the presses!
Of course, the AP would like to persuade us that Pelosi has a point when it comes to Steve Bannon. So we get this paragraph:
Bannon is expected to wield significant clout. Trump gave top billing to the former media executive, who led a website that appealed to the so-called “alt-right” — a movement often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”
Does the “alt-right” exist? I am quite well connected in conservative circles; I have hundreds of friends and acquaintances who call themselves conservatives. But I had never heard of the “alt-right” until it was brought up by Hillary Clinton’s supporters in the just-concluded campaign. This despite having checked Breitbart News, the web site in question, daily for a long time. So I doubt whether the “alt-right”–unlike, say, socialism–represents a serious force in American politics.
But note how the AP defines this nefarious philosophy. It is “far right,” even though its supposedly leading practitioner has just played a key role in a winning presidential campaign. “Alt-right” adherents, whoever they are, seek to “preserve ‘white identity.'” I have no idea what that means and, in any event, have never seen anything on Breitbart News about preserving white identity. Next we learn that the “alt-right” opposes multiculturalism. As well it should, given how multiculturalism is defined these days. I oppose it, too, and I hope that most conservatives, and many liberals, would say the same. And from there we go farther downhill: the possibly mythical “alt-right” defends Western values! The horror!
Is this the AP’s roundabout way of telling us that Hillary Clinton would have sought to undermine Western values? If so, thank goodness the voters rejected her! If defending Western values is all it takes to be “far right” in the eyes of the Associated Press and the Democratic Party–sorry for the redundancy–please sign me up.