Paul Fahri claims that “major newspapers, from the Washington Post to the New York Times, have struggled to find and publish pro-Trump columns for months.” So too, he says, “have regional ones such as the Des Moines and the Arizona Republic, which has a long history of supporting Republican candidates.”
I don’t believe it. Once Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, there was no shortage of able pundits who were willing to write pro-Trump pieces. This blog had at least one such commentator, initials JH, who could have supplied the MSM with forceful, well-argued pro-Trump content.
The absence of such content wasn’t due to a shortage of writers. The newspapers in question viewed Donald Trump as beyond the pale. Naturally, they also viewed most commentators who strongly backed him as beyond the pale, and thus not worthy of writing for them. I have no doubt, moreover, that left-wing papers like the Post were quite happy to be running two or more anti-Trump pieces daily on the opinion pages and virtually nothing for days on end that favored the tycoon.
It’s also no accident that organs like the Washington Post lacked in-house conservatives willing to write pro-Trump content. The center-right people they hire as commentators tend to be the Post’s kind of conservative — e.g. Kathleen Parker, Jennifer Rubin, and Michael Gerson. Ditto the New York Times with David Brooks.
I noted the Post’s stacked commentary deck in early July when I wrote:
To my knowledge, not a single conservative or right of center columnist in the Post’s stable has expressed anything other than contempt for Donald Trump. From Charles Krauthammer to Jennifer Rubin, they all seem to despise the tycoon.
Michael Gerson slams Trump at every opportunity. If he’s written a negative column about Hillary Clinton recently, I missed it.
The most positive thing I recall reading about Trump in the Post’s op-ed section is Krauthammer’s statement that although he can’t support Trump, it’s not unreasonable for Paul Ryan to do so. I can’t stand Trump either, but it’s a sad commentary on the Post that this is best anyone in its stable can say about the (presumptive) Republican nominee for president.
The Post could easily have cured this defect in the following months. The problem is, the paper didn’t consider it a defect.
Now that Trump has won, and his transition period is being viewed with pleasant surprise by many conservatives, it will be even easier to find pundits eager to supply pro-Trump commentary. And liberal papers will come under more pressure to engage some, especially if Trump remains popular in the early days of his presidency.
I expect, therefore, to see some token pro-Trump commentary begin to appear in the Washington Post and maybe even the New York Times. But I wouldn’t bet much on it.