Revisiting Trump's racism and the local papers' silence on it
At the end of April, local editor Mike Myer devoted his Sunday column to racism arguing that we needed to find "a solution to bigotry." I reacted by doing a blog post that began:
Sunday morning's Mike Myer column, “Let’s Find A Solution To Bigotry,” made a number of points about racism. After giving a personal example and acknowledging that racism exists in the Ohio Valley, he said that he wished that we could find a solution:
Racism is too serious to drop at that. We shouldn’t just be patting ourselves on the back for admitting there’s a problem. We need to find a way to deal with it.
I assume Myer is sincere and yet the Wheeling papers for which Myer serves as editor have totally ignored the elephant in the room -- a president who utters racist comments on a regular basis. For the past four years, I have closely read the local editorial pages and I have yet to see a single criticism of any of Donald Trump’s racist statements.
An update: nothing has changed in four months. Trump continues his racist outbursts and the local papers ignore them. Yesterday, the president tweeted about Omarosa Manigault-Newman:
When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2018
A dog?* Subtle.
Today, despite national coverage, the tweet was ignored by our local papers. In yesterday's Associated Press article about Trump and Manigault-Newman, the Wheeling News-Register dropped most of what was critical of the president. The story appeared on page 9
Trump, Omarosa Spar Over Allegations
and unfortunately for readers interested in the larger picture, the last 70% of the article was not included. Here's one of the paragraphs that was dropped:
Trump's battle with his former top black aide underscores the racial tensions that have defined his presidency. He notably blamed "both sides" for violent clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, a year ago and has questioned the intelligence of other prominent black figures including California Rep. Maxine Waters, basketball star LeBron James and TV journalist Don Lemon. He also has targeted black NFL players for kneeling in social protest during the national anthem.
Yes, occasionally an AP article that contains a paragraph or two criticizing Trump slips past the editors and gets published. Most of the time, however, articles that are balanced or critical simply don't make it into the paper. In editorials, you'll find no criticism of Trump's racism. Instead, we get to read local supplements to his racism like attacks upon Representatives John Conyers and Maxine Waters.
In April I concluded that "the lack of any criticism of the president’s racist rants only serves as a reaffirmation of the president’s prejudiced words." It's still true today.
*For an excellent take on Trump's use of "dog" and other derogatory terms for black women, see this analysis at Vox.