More than 350 newspaper editorial boards
around the country today published responses to Donald Trump's repeated attacks on the press, including calls of "fake news" and labeling reporters the enemies of the people.
It's been rightly noted that the concurrent, unified defenses of the free press, led by the Boston Globe, are echoes of those that have been repeatedly and independently voiced already. Furthermore, they will, like their predecessors, do nothing to change the minds of readers who agree with Trump nor change the rhetoric or actions of the president himself. There are other problems, of course. Journalists like few things more than free food and talking about journalism, and the whole affair feels like nothing more than a cloistered contest to see which editorial board can most elegantly move from resting pose (in this case, navel gazing) into a more advanced contortion (in this case, autofellatio).
As Dig Boston Editor-in-Chief Chris Faraone wrote:
"Whether deliberate or if editors there really are delusional enough to think that Trump will care and can tell the Globe from the Wahlburgers menu, their marketing and editorial teams are using all these suckers—readers, writers, conservative nutjobs freaking out about a left-wing media conspiracy—to execute an inarguably futile campaign to spread the word about something people who read newspapers already know."
In other words: Participate, don't participate, it doesn't really matter either way.
Unless, of course, you're the Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer editorial board and you say to yourself, this is probably a dumb idea, but let's make it dumber.
"The consensus of the Editorial Board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer is that the Globe's effort, while well-intentioned, is not the ideal way to respond to the administration's criticism, so we are not participating," they wrote before introducing a roundtable of opinions from the Editorial Board members, thusly participating. (If you'll remember, it's far from the first time they've attempted a gimmick/cop-out move
in response to topics.)
Let's check in with some lowlights of their non-participation participation, beginning with resident Neanderthal Ted Diadiun.
"I don't think the Globe's effort is well-intentioned or wise: Urging news organizations across the land to band together in a coordinated attack on President Trump, less than three months before the partisan battle of the midterm elections, is a terrible idea. Such an effort erases all pretense of objectivity in our coverage of the administration, and destroys any credibility we might have left, removing any doubt the president and his supporters might have that journalists as a body have declared war on him and them."
A coordinated attack?
Pretense of objectivity?
Any credibility we might have left?
As an exercise in projection, we give it a solid C-. As a more grammatically correct predictive text of how Trump would himself respond this morning, we give it an A+.
Let's move on to Mary Cay Doherty, one of the new community members added to the editorial board earlier this year.
"Sadly, the media misses an invaluable message behind President Trump's bombastic rhetoric: he gives voice to the distrust many Americans share of a "free and independent" press seemingly prone to cherry-picking information that supports a liberal agenda. 'Enemy of the people' and 'fake news' are wholly inaccurate and unfair descriptors, but dismissing almost 63 million Americans who voted for Trump (and their views) as ignorant or, worse, malicious, is not the unbiased approach we expect from our press."
Yes, that right there is a reasoned, vetted opinion that should be widely shared with the backing of Cleveland's largest media outlet's editorial board. For absolute fuck's sake.
Finally, let's check in with Cleveland.com editor Chris Quinn, who argues that the they shouldn't participate but instead let their watchdog reporting speak for itself.
"The best way for journalists to convince Americans that the media are vital to our democracy is to do our jobs well, reporting accurately on how government works and operating as the ever-wary watchdog. With all the criticism we make when government fails, we ought to be able to shoulder the kind of criticism this administration lodges against us, however unfair we believe that criticism to be."
Two things here.
First, shout out to Mark Naymik, who, most recently, is single handedly killing it on the Ken Johnson grift beat
, the latest in his batch of legit watchdog reporting on local government.
Second, shout out to the rest of Quinn's pack of watchdogs below: