With false headlines
What does Trump have to do before our local "newspapers" will criticize him? How about racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic language and sometimes action? No. Not enough. How about evidence-free attacks upon the judiciary or former presidents? Hardly. In two years, the local papers have moved from a cautious acknowledgement of his candidacy to full-blown support for his presidency with no criticism. Their problem, as I see it, is that when Trump is outrageous (as he appears to be most weekends and sometimes during the week), much of what he does or says is indefensible.
So how do they cover him? As I've documented here and here and here, if it's on a weekend, they simply ignore him. (Unlike the rest of the world.) By Monday, they can use an AP summary that includes his outrageous actions but also includes defenders.
To that end, they sometimes use a headline that falsely summarizes what follows. Monday's headline read:
Trump Administration To Investigate Obama
That headline, which was not true, was nowhere near the AP's own headline which accurately summarized what followed:
Congress to Probe Trump Wiretap Claim, FBI Disputes It
There's a major difference between the two headlines and those who only read the headline totally missed the point of the AP report.
With false equivalencies
On the editorial page, the defense often is that Trump's (or his cabinet's) actions are no worse than what Obama or the Democrats did and consequently, Democrats are hypocrites and have no standing to criticize him.
A false equivalency is defined as "describing a situation where there is a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none."
Last week, for example, news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had indeed spoken to the Russian ambassador twice despite having denied it under oath at his confirmation hearing. Unlike most news sources that treated the revelation as a major story, the morning Intelligencer buried it on page 3.
It took to the editorial page, however, on Monday in "Too Many Glass Houses in D.C." to chastise Senator Claire McCaskill for having denied having ever met with the Russian ambassador when she is pictured as part of a group of senators that met with him in 2013. Similarly, Tuesday morning's political cartoon shows McCaskill and Senator Schumer next to Senator Franken as he asks Sessions "Are you now, or have you ever been, in a meeting with a Russian official?" (Schumer had also denied meeting any Russians when a picture turned up which shows him with Putin at the opening of a Russian-owned gas station in 2003.) To claim that either of these public meetings is equivalent to Sessions' two private meetings with the Russian ambassador is absurd. Sessions, the first senator to endorse Trump and widely seen as a Trump surrogate, met with the ambassador during a presidential election campaign in which many observers accused the Russians of influencing the election results. Sessions had to know that since Russia had become very important in the post-election political climate, he would be asked about any meetings with Russians. And most importantly, he was under oath. To suggest that his situation was the same as McCaskill's or Schumer's is absurd.
With attacks on Obama
This morning's editorial, "Get to Bottom Of Wiretap Allegations," deflects criticism of Trump by attacking the former president. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department had wiretapped reporters in a 2013 pursuit of administrative leaks. (Just a hunch with no evidence but I'd bet that, given the leaks plaguing his administration, Trump's Justice Department is doing the same thing.) What the editorial does not tell us is that the Obama Department of Justice followed all of the proper judicial procedures. (This was not one of my favorite Obama administration moments but they did nothing illegal.) From this, the editorial jumps to the following conclusion:
With that in mind, is it so difficult to imagine that Obama authorized tapping telephones used by then-candidate Donald Trump and some in his campaign prior to the Nov. 8 election?
Yes it is. He hadn't done it previously and why would he want to tap Trump's phone illegally? What did he have to gain? (Note -- a possibility not mentioned in the editorial is that the Justice Department had legally gotten a search warrant from a judge after having demonstrated the likely possibility that a crime had been committed.)
The editorial concludes with all of its biases showing. If after a thorough investigation, Trump was right:
it would be an outrageous perversion of the political process.
If false, Trump’s allegation — which he stuck by earlier this week — would reflect badly on the commander-in-chief.
It would "reflect badly." That's all? Really? That's quite a condemnation!