Peter J. Boyer writes for Esquire magazine that, with the advent of Donald J. Trump in presidential politics, elite news media such as the New York Times were so triggered as to abandon the norms of traditional journalism – most significantly, the heralded posture of neutrality.
When the closing gavels came down on the 2016 political conventions, the news cycle did not ease into the usual midsummer lull but instead locked directly into a state of high alarm, with Donald J. Trump at its center. In the days following Trump’s nomination, there came reports of senior Republican officials considering ways to replace him on the ballot (ABC News), of “suicidal” despair inside the Trump campaign (CNBC), and of a growing list of Republican leaders who planned to publicly support Hillary Clinton (Time). Fox News reported that friends of Trump’s were planning to stage an intervention, involving his family, in hopes of saving his candidacy.
But amid those passing controversies was one story that Trump himself remembers clearly still. “Yep, very famous story,” he remarked to me in a recent interview. “It was a very important story…” Trump was referring to a front-page New York Timesarticle published on August 8, 2016, under the headline “The Challenge Trump Poses to Objectivity.” The opening paragraph posed a provocative question:
“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?”
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