Friday, October 19, 2018


Right near the top of its hompepage, The New York Times website features this:

And among the featured opinion columns near the top of the Washington Post homepage, there's this:

Terrific -- except for one thing: Neither of these pieces mentions why this is extraordinarily hypocritical of Trump.

The Times story says:
President Trump praised a Republican candidate’s assault last year on a reporter and fumed over his Democratic opponents here on Thursday night in a freewheeling rally meant to mobilize his base’s support in the coming midterm elections.

In urging the crowd to vote for Representative Greg Gianforte, who is running for re-election and who was sentenced to anger management classes and community service for assaulting a reporter last spring, Mr. Trump jokingly warned the crowd to “never wrestle him.”

“I had heard he body-slammed a reporter,” Mr. Trump said, noting that he was initially concerned that Mr. Gianforte would lose in a special election last May. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well; I think it might help him.’ And it did.”

“Anybody that can do a body-slam,” the president added, “that’s my kind of guy.”

Mr. Trump made no mention....
... of Trump's prior criticism of "Democrat mobs"?

Mr. Trump made no mention at the rally of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, who disappeared this month after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul....
And that's it. The Gianforte attack is portrayed as an assault on the press, but the reader is never remind of this, from a week ago:
President Trump hit Democrats as an "angry mob" while heaping praise on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while at a rally Saturday night in McConnell's home state of Kentucky....

Mr. Trump categorized voting in the midterm elections as "you can vote for Democrat mob rule or you an vote for a Republican party that stands proudly for law and order, fairness, freedom and justice."

In the last few weeks of the 2018 midterm campaign, Mr. Trump and Republicans have seized on describing Democrats as the party of an "angry mob." Mr. Trump used similar language in rallies earlier this week.

Mr. Trump described McConnell as "staring down an angry left-wing mob" during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. McConnell, Mr. Trump said, "never blinked, never looked back and got us a man who will be one of our great, great Supreme Court justices."
The Erik Wemple op-ed in the Post is appropriately indignant, but it also sidesteps the hypocrisy issue:
A congressman who’s a sufficiently “tough cookie” to assault an unsuspecting reporter, and then go on to win an election: That’s just too irresistible a sequence for a demagogue with an arena full of people to fire up. Just think of all the people out there learning, perhaps for the first time, how to impress the president of the United States. Go out there and show him what a “tough cookie” you are.
As does an accompanying op-ed by Jennifer Rubin, which links the praise for Gianforte to Trump's seeming indifference to Jamal Khashoggi's fate, and to the right's attempts to smear Khashoggi as a terrorist sympathizer:
... if you are falsely smearing a missing man, trying to diminish the horror of a thuggish regime’s alleged gruesome murder or yukking it up with a president celebrating violence against a reporter, it’s time to rethink your politics.
All worthy points to make -- but there's an election on, in which the man praising an assault that sent a reporter to the hospital is also sanctimoniously denouncing the other side as lawless thugs, as are other members of the president's party. Can we please remind readers of this? Is that too much to ask?

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