A couple of local conservative bloggers are aflame with the media’s “unfair” treatment and general back-stabbing of their candidate, Donald Trump.
George Rebane, writing at Rebane’s Ruminations, is dismayed to report that News Corporation–the owner of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal–“has really turned out the be the fifth column for Hillary.”
He’s upset with several anti-Trump editorials and opinion pieces that have appeared in the paper while he faults Fox News for giving significant exposure to “lightly camouflaged liberal” Chris Wallace while Bret Baier “continues to faithfully follow the topics set by the lamestream media.”
Meanwhile over at Sierra Dragon’s Breath, Todd Juvinall is calling The New York Times “scum” and demanding people be prosecuted for publishing excerpts from Trump’s 1995 tax returns. Juvinall finds it less than coincidental that a Mexican billionaire owns a large chunk of Times stock–and you know what they think of the U.S.
What neither of them seems to understand is that Trump has brought the negative coverage upon himself. The media isn’t setting the topics agenda–Trump is with his shoot-from-the-hip, fact free pronouncements, a massive ego that won’t permit anybody to question his “success,” and a thin skin that won’t let him ignore even the slightest personal criticism.
Trump’s handling of the Miss Universe controversy is a perfect example of how Hillary Clinton exploited his weaknesses and got out-of-the-way as he drove his own negative media agenda. Anybody with common sense–or who would listen to his media advisors–would have let the story die that night and moved onto making the case for his candidacy and attacking Clinton.
Not Trump. He kept the topic alive for several days, defending his original comments, attacking her character, and suggested people check out a non-existent sex tape, making him the first presidential candidate to recommend pornography to the voting public. And his supporters wonder why he gets negative press coverage.
Fox News may be covering this–nobody can ignore a good car wreck–but the network’s evening talking heads more than make up for the negative news coverage with their excuse making and fawning coverage, particularly the slobbering boot licking of Sean Hannity.
As for The Journal–Unlike most conservatives, the paper’s editorial board actually has standards. The Journal is well-known for its advocacy of free trade and a welcoming immigration policy, positions opposed by Trump. The editorial board is also put off by Trump’s embrace of Vladimir Putin and his almost total ignorance of foreign affairs. But don’t worry–if Rupert Murdoch wants the paper to endorse The Donald, it will happen.
The issue of Trump’s tax returns is another example of how he creates problems for himself. While there is no law requiring him to do so, it has become the custom in recent year for presidential candidates to make detailed financial disclosures, including releasing their tax returns.
Trump’s refusal to do so only raises the obvious question–what’s he trying to hide? (Just to throw a little more fuel on the fire, he lied when he said he couldn’t release his returns because they’re being audited by the IRS.) Now that part of his 1995 tax return has been published by The Times, Trump is bragging about his mastery of the tax code and his ability to make it work for himself and his employees.
So what’s the problem? The problem is that this is just another distraction from what should be Trump’s campaign focus, a distraction that would be in the rear view mirror if he had just released his tax returns in the Spring. But now his taxes have become an issue at a time when undecided voters may jump to Hillary–that’s why Clinton is pounding away on the issue.
Rebane had it right when he wrote: “Trump is having trouble with his feet again. He’s either shooting at them or sticking them in his mouth.”
NOT LIKELY: As much as Juvinall would like it to be otherwise, nobody at The New York Times is likely to be prosecuted for publishing part of Trump’s 1995 income tax return. The Pentagon Papers and similar cases have established the right of newspapers to publish material they get voluntarily from third parties. Whoever supplied the information may be in trouble, particularly if he or she works for the IRS or a state tax collection agency.
And you can be confident that a Mexican billionaire who owns a large stake in The Times had nothing to do with the story being published. Mr. Moneybags, Carlos Slim, owns about 17 percent of the company’s Class A stock, but the decision-making power belongs to the owners of the company’s Class B stock.
An estimated 90 percent of the Class B stock is owned by descendants of Adolph Ochs, the man who proclaimed The Times won’t soil the table cloth while publishing all the news that’s fit to print. Slim is just counting his profit.