President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress was analyzed live by an assortment of NYT journalists. Glenn Thrush, a Politico alum now with the New York Times, is new to these Times’ live-blogging sessions and stood out as more partisan than the other journalists, which is pretty tough in itself. A few samples of his snidery from Tuesday night’s speech:
Glenn Thrush White House Correspondent 9:15 PM ET “The rebellion started… by families of all colors and creeds,” says Mr. Trump who lost 88% of the African-American vote.
Thrush 9:18 PM ET “The stock market has gained over $3 trillion,” Mr. Trump says – taking a big risk, because the last time the market had so many consecutive record closes? 1987.
Thrush 9:19 PM ET Virtually every accomplishment Trump has touted thus far -- from job creation to “draining the swamp” -- is either exaggerated or contestable.
Another reporter chipped in an attempt to defend Barack Obama’s debt record.
Alan Rappeport Washington Correspondent 9:31 PM ET Here’s the part where Trump describes the “mess” that he inherited. We’ll need a fact check on this: “In the last eight years, the past administration has put on more new debt than nearly all other presidents combined.”
Interestingly, not even the paper’s overweening anti-Trump fact-checking posse flagged it -- perhaps because the national debt nearly doubled under the Obama administration, from some $10.5 trillion to almost $20 trillion.
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In addition, Times politicized television critic Jamie Poniewozik saw dark fear-mongering behind Trump’s positive tone.
But Mr. Trump also used those he invited to send a darker message. In a passage on immigration, he pointed out four relatives of people murdered by undocumented immigrants; he had invited the victims’ families to sit in the box with his wife, Melania.
This was showmanship, too, but of a much darker kind, meant to whip up fear against undocumented immigrants by implying that they’re more dangerous than native-born Americans. Study after study shows that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans.
(That liberal talking point has been challenged as being based on incomplete and unreliable information.)
But if you skew the publicity, you skew the impressions. Put “immigrants” and “kill” in the same sentence often enough and people hear, “Immigrants kill.”
That fear-mongering, familiar from his campaign, was a reminder that he still had an obligation to throw red meat to the passionate voters who got him elected. He deployed the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” which his new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, had reportedly asked him not to use, but which he had made a verbal totem in the campaign.