By Tom Johnson ~
Plenty of journalists saw Hillary Clinton’s Thursday speech on Donald Trump and white nationalists as an attempt to further separate the GOP nominee from Republicans who aren’t #NeverTrump but are leery of voting for him. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones “propose[d] a different explanation”: that Hillary “was giving the press permission to talk about Donald Trump’s racism. So far, they’ve tiptoed around it. But once the candidate herself calls it out, it invites a thousand think pieces about Breitbart, the alt-right, the GOP’s history of tolerating bigotry…and dozens of other related topics.”
Drum contended that “surrogates can blather all they want about this, but it doesn’t truly become a mainstream subject until the actual candidate for president makes it one…This is part of the agenda-setting power that presidential candidates have. Donald Trump has used it endlessly, and now Hillary Clinton is using it too. Trump has made his bed, and Hillary is making sure he has to lie in it.”
But Esquire’s Charles Pierce has no confidence that pundits and reporters will deal properly with the racism issue, in part because so many of them just don’t like Hillary (bolding added):
One of the very real responsibilities for this nightmare of a campaign lies not with a candidate that normalized hate groups but with an elite political media that, by adhering to rules that did not apply, normalized that candidate. Donald Trump has hurled wild, vicious (and largely unsubstantiated) charges every since he first stood up behind a podium as a candidate. This is nothing new. So now, his wild, vicious (and largely unsubstantiated) charges are being hurled in a campaign context in which they have become the way people run for president, at least in 2016. And they’re being hurled at a person for whom much of the elite political media has had a barely concealed grudge for 25 years.
Pierce predicted that “nothing will change” in the presidential campaign as a result of Hillary’s speech, and that the race will be “rough, and more than half-vile,” which will be “more reflective of the actual state of the nation than a hundred soft-focus TV spots with gentle music.”
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.