In a series of tweets today, Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman warned against mainstream media attempts to normalize Donald Trump
Some pundits are more or less echoing Trump — hey, polls said he was unpopular before the election, but he won, so there. Sad! First of all, he lost the popular vote by almost as much as polls said he would. Without the Comey letter, wld probably have lost by 4-5. Equally important, in the campaign the media assumed he would lose, so they engaged freely in their favorite sport of Clinton-bashing.
As you read about Trump’s business ties, remember the big AP story suggesting HRC corruption because she one met with a Nobel laureate. Now Hillary isn’t in their sights, and many privately realize the enormity of what they did (although will never admit it). So now Trump doesn’t have de facto cover from media more interesting in harassing his opponent than focusing on his awesome awfulness. The big risk is still that the media will start to normalize, and worse, become intimidated and obsequious. Don’t let it happen!
We have already seen a certain amount of media normalization of Trump, both throughout the 2016 presidential races and since his inauguration. Trump has by no means made this process easy, with his repeated attacks on CNN and The New York Times (repeated today):
The failing @nytimes writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
The only person making things up is Donald Trump. What is far from certain is whether his cries of “fake news!” will have the same effect as those of the boy who cried wolf once too often. The media still far too often gives Donald Trump a pass and has yet to figure out how to handle the tyrant-in-the-making. CNN has done the right thing, declining interviews with Kellyanne Conway. And even Chuck Todd played back an inconvenient tape for Mike Pence the other day.
It remains to be seen whether or not other mainstream media outlets will show a similar reluctance to spread Trump’s lies for him, or whether, as he fears, they will become intimidated and obsequious, and Paul Krugman’s warnings appear well-founded.