By Tom Johnson | May 30, 2016 | 10:13 PM EDT

Like almost everyone who has the sense God gave geese, Deadspin founder Leitch thinks O.J. Simpson is an unconvicted murderer. Unlike most of those people, Leitch also thinks Simpson’s acquittal “may have been one of the biggest civil-rights victories” of the 1990s. In a New York magazine review of the seven-hour, 43-minute documentary O.J.: Made in America, which airs in five parts next month on ABC and ESPN, Leitch remarked, “The verdict was just cause for all that national celebration from African-Americans, even if [Simpson] was guilty. Shit, especially if he was.”

To Leitch, the acquittal amounted to partial recompense for the black community of Los Angeles, given “the city’s [history of] scabrous racial politics, from the southern blacks who came to Los Angeles expecting acceptance and discovering something far different, to the Watts riots…to former LAPD chief Daryl Gates’s horrific racial attitudes…It all exploded with the Rodney King riots, which were less about King and more about the seeming impossibility that a black man could ever win anything in a court of law in the city of Los Angeles.”

By Tom Johnson | May 28, 2016 | 10:45 PM EDT

Brian Beutler expects that Donald Trump’s campaign will attempt to “hoodwink first-time voters or people who weren’t paying close attention…into believing known lies” about Hillary Clinton that first surfaced more than two decades ago. As for whether journalists will “debunk” Trump’s “whoppers,” Beutler’s not so sure.

“Unless a critical mass of media figures agrees to treat the things Trump exhumes from the fever swamps of the 1990s with the appropriate contempt, Trump will enjoy the benefit of the doubt most major-party nominees expect,” wrote Beutler in a Friday article. Beutler speculated that as Republicans unify behind Trump, reporters might be less inclined to criticize the presumptive nominee for his outrageous statements and more inclined to present him as a “partisan mirror image” of Clinton.

By Matt Philbin | May 25, 2016 | 10:17 AM EDT

After nearly eight years in office, President Obama no longer cares if he seems to be trolling the rest of the country. He is. Now, he’s heading to Hiroshima (by way of Vietnam) to push his choom-fueled dorm-room vision of a nuclear-free world. His purpose is shallow and silly. His timing – Memorial Day Weekend – is egregious. And his media coverage is predictably fawning.

By Tom Johnson | May 19, 2016 | 11:39 PM EDT

Even though Donald Trump is “dumb” and “racist,” he might constitute an upgrade in the Republican party’s leadership, suggests Rolling Stone’s Taibbi. That’s because before Trump turned into the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, the public faces of the party were “mean, traitorous scum.” Republicans, wrote Taibbi in the magazine’s June 2 issue, “dominated American political life for 50 years and were never anything but monsters…Their leaders, from Ralph Reed to Bill Frist to Tom DeLay to Rick Santorum to [Mitt] Romney and [Paul] Ryan, were an interminable assembly line of shrieking, witch-hunting celibates…the kind of people who thought Iran-Contra was nothing, but would grind the affairs of state to a halt over a blow job or Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.”

By Tim Graham | May 18, 2016 | 8:30 AM EDT

Mount Rushmore has become an ongoing reference to historical greatness. GQ editor Jim Nelson recently proclaimed Barack Obama was “Mount Rushmore great.” In 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed, NBC reporter Jim Maceda gushed its last dictator Mikhail Gorbachev deserved a place on Mount Rushmore.

Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports that Washington Post bigwig Bob Woodward envisions Bill, Hillary, and even Chelsea Clinton on Mount Rushmore, at least in their minds.

By Tom Johnson | May 17, 2016 | 9:47 PM EDT

Universities have generated countless breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine. Then there’s the product of higher education that Kevin Drum discussed in a Saturday post: “The first concrete movement toward gender-neutral bathrooms started at universities. Now it's becoming mainstream. Good work, idealistic college kids!"

Drum remarked that some current campus obsessions -- “safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings” -- might be considered “dumb,” but added, “I've always found it hard to get too exercised about this stuff. These kids are 19 years old. They want to change the world. They're idealistic and maybe too impatient with anyone who doesn't want to move as fast as they do. So were you and I at that age. Frankly, if they didn't go a little overboard about social justice, I'd be worried about them.”

By Tom Johnson | May 13, 2016 | 11:40 AM EDT

A lot of big-time journalists believe they speak truth to power, but according to Esquire’s Charles Pierce, the attitude of the elite media toward presidents and certain presidential nominees is pretty much the opposite: “giddiness in the face of power.” Because of that longstanding state of affairs, suggested Pierce in a Tuesday post, “a fully armed and operational bullshit station” better known as Donald Trump might be the next POTUS.

Pierce conceded that Democrats John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton benefited from credulous and even reverent coverage, but he devoted much more space to how Republicans had been similarly advantaged. He claimed that “the real precedent for the helplessness of the elite political press” was its treatment of Ronald Reagan, stating that Reagan's "constant disengagement from the truth were chalked up to his lifetime as a 'storyteller,' his love for 'parables,' and, very late in his term, his advancing age...The elite political press simply was not prepared to call the man a liar. It would not have been sporting. It would have been against The Rules."

By Tom Johnson | May 9, 2016 | 7:25 AM EDT

In a Tuesday post, New York magazine’s Chait suggested that conservatism is driven not by an elite but by its riff-raff. Chait asserted, “Whatever [the] abstract arguments for conservative policy…on the ground, Republican politics boils down to ethno-nationalistic passions ungoverned by reason,” and remarked that Donald Trump’s supporters “have revealed things about the nature of the party that many Republicans prefer to deny.”

During the GOP presidential contest, indicated Chait, the “lunatic theories professed by most Republicans: the theory of anthropogenic global warming is a conspiracy concocted by scientists worldwide; the Reagan and Bush tax cuts caused revenue to increase; George W. Bush kept us safe from terrorism,” have lost ground to Trump’s “entirely different set of crackpot beliefs that lie outside conservative ideology.”

By Tom Johnson | May 6, 2016 | 9:52 PM EDT

Some on the left claim that Donald Trump is an ideological descendant of Ronald Reagan, never mind that Reagan was Mr. Conservative and Trump is Mr. Opportunist. Paul Campos, from the University of Colorado, makes a different Trump-as-heir-to-Reagan argument. In a Thursday Salon article, Campos opined that the Reagan revolution was less about right-wing views than “stupidity, celebrity, and plutocracy,” and that Trump is its “natural culmination.”

Campos sniped that “being famous for being famous is a sufficient basis for winning [the] presidential nomination [of] the party of Reagan, the know-nothing B-movie star” and stated that Trump’s electoral success “marks the triumph of plutocracy in its purest form. Ronald Reagan hated government, and loved business, to the point where he helped create our national infatuation with the idea of the heroic businessman…In a culture that worships both stupidity and celebrity, the self-serving lies of famous plutocrats are often swallowed whole.”

By Tim Graham | May 6, 2016 | 6:56 AM EDT

How left-wing is NPR?  On Monday, it unspooled this opener: “It will be Indiana's turn tomorrow to vote in the presidential primaries, and that gives us the opportunity to remember one of the state's most famous politicians.”

Dan Quayle? Birch Bayh? President Benjamin Harrison? Nope. “Eugene V. Debs ran for president as a Socialist five times in the early 1900s, once in 1920 from prison.” The online headline was “Eugene V. Debs Museum Explores History Of American Socialism.”

By Tom Johnson | May 5, 2016 | 9:38 PM EDT

During the upcoming presidential campaign, predicts David Roberts, the media will not acknowledge an inconvenient truth: that the difference in quality between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is comparable to the difference in potability between “Coca-Cola [and] sewer water.”

“The campaign media's self-image is built on not being partisan,” wrote Roberts in a Thursday article. “How does that even work if one side is offering up a flawed centrist and the other is offering up a vulgar xenophobic demagogue?...Going after Clinton will be journalists' default strategy for proving that they're not biased.”

By Tom Johnson | May 1, 2016 | 8:57 PM EDT

Several decades ago, there were plenty of right-of-center Democrats and left-of-center Republicans. These days, however, almost everyone agrees that the Democrats have become a distinctly liberal party and the GOP a distinctly conservative party. One who disagrees in part is writer Conor Lynch, who in a Saturday article claimed that Republicans have transitioned out of true conservatism and now are “extreme nihilists” who have “embraced Bolshevism of the right.”

Lynch noted that pundits such as George Will and David Brooks “have widely condemned Donald Trump as a fake conservative, and they’re not wrong. Trump is clearly not conservative—but neither is the Republican Party...[which] has become an increasingly friendly place for…the kind of characters who used to make up the John Birch Society…For the sake of John Boehner’s mental well being, he is lucky he got out when he did.”