The venerable New York Times, which usually provides pretty good journalism other than the misogynistic columns of Hillary-hater Maureen Dowd, this morning published a story with the following breathless headline: “Some Donald Trump Voters Warn of Revolution if Hillary Clinton Wins.” That sounds ominous.
Who are these Trump supporters? Are they elected officials? Campaign leaders? Republican party leaders? Pollsters? Political scientists?
The Times sent reporters out to interview the rank and file at Trump rallies and, naturally enough, found plenty of idiots whose news diet consists of Fox News, Breitbart, and alt-right garbage they find links to on Facebook and Twitter. These folks actually believe that the majority of the country supports Trump and that the only way he can lose is for the polls to be rigged against him.
So the elite of the elite newspapers thinks that’s news — some Trump supporters believe Trump’s lies. Shocking! The following is also headline-worthy news, according to the Times:
Jared Halbrook, 25, of Green Bay, Wis., said that if Mr. Trump lost to Hillary Clinton, which he worried would happen through a stolen election, it could lead to “another Revolutionary War.”
“People are going to march on the capitols,” said Mr. Halbrook, who works at a call center. “They’re going to do whatever needs to be done to get her out of office, because she does not belong there.”
“If push comes to shove,” he added, and Mrs. Clinton “has to go by any means necessary, it will be done.”
Seriously? A random millennial Trumphead who works at a call center opines there’s going to be another “Revolutionary War” because of the “stolen election” and that is national news?
The Gray Lady did not stop there, oh no, because she decided to report on lots of dumb Trump supporters’ opinions:
New York Times reporters spoke to people attending Trump rallies in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In every crowd, there were supporters who echoed Mr. Trump’s message that the polls do not reflect the “silent majority” who they say will turn out on Nov. 8 and elect him in a landslide.
“You go through any neighborhood and see how many Trump signs there are and how many Hillary signs there are, and I guarantee you it’s not even going to be close,” said Bill Stelling, 44, of Jacksonville, Fla. “The only way they’ve done it is by rigging the election.”
That’s scientific polling for ya: counting yard signs. So of course the real polls must be wrong. Why is the Times lending legitimacy to this horseshit?
The rest of the article quotes various Trumpeters giving their dark visions of the apocalypse that is certain to descend on America if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Don’t get me wrong, it is newsworthy that so many people have swallowed Trump’s lies and still show up at his rallies, but the Times‘s decision to make headline news out of these fringe folks’ warnings of a “revolution” is irresponsible.
One of our best local columnists, John Archibald, this morning published an op-ed piece with the opposite message. John wrote:
I hate to be the town crier waking you just to tell you all is well. But sometimes, even in the dark of night, things are not as scary as they seem. Sometimes the thing to fear really is fear.
And there’s a ton of that right now. Fear of Donald or of Hillary, fear of ISIS and crime and taxes and immigrants or fear of who we will become if we let ourselves fear all those things all the time.
We’re better than that.
We’re braver than that.
We’ve gotta be smarter than that.
Because so much fear is deadly. It saps us of our strength and turns one against the other. So much of the hype and hyperbole is manufactured for political purpose to prod us into fight or flight fright.
And it’s not true.
As this unprecedented and at times dismaying election draws to a close, John’s message is the one we need — after the election, America will still be America, and that is damned good place to be.
I guess the New York Times will be covering the revolution spawned by the call center operators and retired teachers it interviewed for its headline-generating piece of non-journalism.
Sometimes the best journalism is a bit closer to home than New York City.