Charlie Pierce peered in to some of the Sunday shows and watches with wonder and trepidation when the press is going to start doing their effing job.
…[T]his week’s House Cup goes to my man Chuck Todd, who always has been the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Todd had He, Trump over for a chat and, after a few minutes of stunning incoherence on the subject of election law, we were treated to this amazing moment of television.
TODD: Wait a minute. Let me stop you there. You just said, “Businesses might pay a little bit more.” You just said, “Business might pay a little bit more, but we’re going to get ’em a massive tax cut.” You just said it within ten words.
TRUMP: No, no. I didn’t say it. Excuse me. I said they might have to pay a little bit more than my proposal, Chuck. I said they might have—
TODD: Oh, your proposal. Okay. I just wanted to get that clear.
TRUMP: —yeah, than my proposal.
TODD: Fair enough.
TRUMP: I’m not talking about more than they’re paying now.
TODD: Got you.
TRUMP: We’re the highest taxed nation in the world. Our businesses pay more taxes than any businesses in the world. That’s why companies are leaving. So they may have to pay a little bit more than my proposal, is what I mean. I assume you knew that. I assume you know that.
TODD: Got you. Okay. No, no, no, no. I just wanted to clear that up.
TRUMP: Okay, good. Good, I’m glad you cleared it up—
Forget that little pat on the head there at the end. My man Chuck Todd had He, Trump pinned. The way you know that is that He, Trump had to resort to a barefaced non-fact about how we are “the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (This is not within an area code of the truth. Criminy, even PolitiFact noticed.) And what do we get for pushback? “Fair enough” and two “gotchas.”
This is going to be a real crisis for elite political journalism from now until November, perhaps the deepest crisis elite political journalism has faced since the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and that one didn’t turn out well at all. The Republican Party is about to nominate an utterly truthless fellow who doesn’t know how much he doesn’t know and is prepared to lie his way past everything he doesn’t know anyway. I’m afraid that elite political journalism is so wedded to “balance” that it is in no way prepared to cope with a post-reality candidate. (Professor Krugman shares this concern.) “Fair enough” and “gotcha” are not appropriate answers to the assertion by a candidate that he plans to heal the national economy by setting up a roulette wheel and two blackjack tables in the Department of the Treasury.
If hope is not a plan, then bluster and bombast are even less of one. Elite political journalism has a greater responsibility to the Republic than “balance” or “objectivity.” This is going to be a long six months.
This is the same Chuck Todd who told America that it’s not his job to correct misstatements by candidates or mouthpieces. Which makes him about as relevant and as useful as the guy holding the mic on the Home Shopping Network.