Saturday’s New York Times anti-Trump roundup included an ironic compliment to the Trump campaign, which has freed journalists to label (Republican) politicians as liars and racists. Times editorial board member Brent Staples perversely celebrated “The Election That Obliterated Euphemisms.” The text box: “Donald Trump made it impossible to avoid the word ‘racist.’” Staples certainly didn’t.
Staples is following the path of colleague Jim Rutenberg’s notorious August 8 front-page opinion, "The Challenge Trump Poses to Objectivity,” which argued that treating Trump like a racist demagogue was a basic journalistic duty.
Staples wrote: The Donald Trump campaign inadvertently performed a public service when it exposed the weakness and vulnerability of the euphemisms long used by political journalists. News organizations have been forced to acknowledge that phrases like “stretched the truth” and “fudged the facts” are useless for describing a candidate who speaks falsely in virtually every breath. Genteel circumlocution has given way to calling out lies as lies.
The Times has certainly been proud of itself for having the courage to call out Republican Trump’s lies -- while ignoring or excusing Hillary Clinton’s.
Mr. Trump’s campaign has also made it difficult for opinion writers -- even those disposed to give him the benefit of the doubt -- to avoid describing his behavior as racist. The signal moment came when, having already characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, he declared an American-born judge of Mexican descent unfit to preside over a lawsuit against the con game known as Trump University. Even the House speaker, Paul Ryan, had to concede that this was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
Instead of using phrases like “racially inflammatory” or “racially insensitive,” editorial pages were calling racism by its name. The shift was clear in the language of the endorsements Hillary Clinton received from news organizations across the political spectrum.
After celebrating Black Lives Matter, Staples concluded by suggesting journalists owed it to the country to keep America’s widespread prejudice at bay.
The bigoted outpouring licensed by the Trump campaign will surely persist -- whether or not Mr. Trump wins. This election has made clear that racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and xenophobia still have broad constituencies in America. The first step toward keeping them at bay is to insist on calling them by their rightful names.
The Times Claire Cain Miller also checked in on how Trump is doing among a vital subset of the electorate – those too young to vote: “Girls on the Election: ‘It really Does Get Into Your Head.’”
Almost a quarter of girls ages 14 to 17 say that Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy has made them more likely to seek positions of leadership, according to a national online Pollfish poll conducted for The New York Times.
But the more broadly heard message is negative: Nearly half of the girls say Mr. Trump’s comments about women have affected the way they think about their bodies.
No comment on how Bill Clinton’s publicly aired escapades with Monica Lewinsky impacted young women.
Reporter Caitlin Dickerson focused on the paper’s favorite subject, illegal immigrants (also not allowed to vote, as of now) in “An Immigration Status Grows More Uncertain – Not Legal but Allowed to Stay, Thousands Watch Election Warily.”
During the 10 hours a day that Bianca spends stretching and massaging patients at the chiropractic clinic where she works, she allows her mind to rest. But around 8 p.m., as she drives home to her husband and three children, her fear comes rushing back:
When a new president steps into office, will she be sent back to Honduras?
Donald J. Trump’s hard-line statements against immigrants throughout his presidential campaign have made clear that if he wins, this kind of leniency would most likely end.