NY Times Hits ‘Right-Wing’ Use of ‘Treason,’ But Krugman, Kristof Use It on Trump

October 2nd, 2019 4:38 PM

New York Times reporter Katie Rogers rebuked President Trump for his use of the word “treason” to attack his political enemies on Twitter in “As Impeachment Inquiry Advances, President’s Language Takes a Dark Turn.

Rogers was critical of Trump’s overheated Twitter account, where he has been attacking Democrats, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who’s leading the impeachment inquiry:

....now Mr. Trump also talks about the civil war that could break out if impeachment proceedings against him continue, a whistle-blower he regards as a spy and, increasingly, treason.

But Rogers took an undue partisan turn in her Wednesday story (click "expand"):

The accusation is nothing new in the right-wing vocabulary -- Ann Coulter, the president’s sometimes adviser, sometimes adversary -- wrote a book on the topic. Mark S. Zaid, a Washington lawyer who represents the whistle-blower, reviewed the book in 2003, saying it contained revelations that would “shock anyone to the left of Attila the Hun.”

But experts see a civic danger in the president frequently and falsely calling out what he labels treasonous behavior. Carlton F.W. Larson, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law and an expert on treason, said the president had cheapened the word through overuse.

Yet the press at large had indulged in the “treason” slur against President Trump, and Times’ columnists have been no less reticent than Ann Coulter in throwing about the loaded accusation.

Nicholas Kristof’s column from March 2017 made it explicit in the headline: “‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air.’” He is quoting liberal historian Alan Brinkley from the column. “Now the F.B.I. confirms that we have had an investigation underway for eight months into whether another presidential campaign colluded with a foreign power so as to win an election. To me, that, too, would amount to treason.

Paul Krugman has more or less explicitly accused Trump and Republicans of treason several times, as in July 2017 under the subtle headline “The New Climate Of Treason.” After all the flag-waving, all the attacks on Democrats’ patriotism, essentially the whole GOP turns out to be OK with the moral equivalent of treason if it benefits their side in domestic politics.”

Also from July 2017: “Yet if Trump-Putin-treason weren’t in the news, we’d all be focused on health care, where Republicans are still trying to ram through a disgusting bill, inflicting immense harm, under cover of secrecy and lies....” Krugman went on to accuse Republicans of treason two more times in the blog post.

July 2017: “I’m not saying that everyone should ignore Trump-Putin-treason and all its ramifications: Clearly, the fate of our democracy is on the line.”

October 2017: “The wealthy donors for whom the G.O.P. will apparently do anything, up to and including covering up for possible treason, will get no joy from their tax cuts.... The party’s willingness to turn a blind eye to corruption with a hint of treason would be horrifying whatever the motivation.”

September 2019: “If a party is willing to rig political outcomes by preventing minorities from voting, if it’s willing to use extreme gerrymandering to retain power even when voters reject it, why won’t it be equally willing to encourage foreign powers to subvert U.S. elections? A bit of treason is just part of the package.”

Admittedly, it is different when the president accuses his political opponents of treason than when a Times columnist does so, no matter how large a liberal following he has. But it’s odd for a reporter to only chide Ann Coulter and the “right” for using the “treason” attack against Democrats, when Donald Trump and Republicans are regularly attacked that way in the same newspaper.

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