You may have missed the thorough verbal whipping Hillary Clinton gave to Donald Trump’s economic ideas and business history this week. The New York Times put it on page A14, although there was a tease for it at the very bottom of page one. You could not find it on the Google News home page at all when I checked it at 7:00 a.m. EST, although there were two stories about Trump and one reporting that Clinton’s lead over Sanders in California in the popular votes had decreased by an inconsequential amount.
Every day the Times puts a story about Donald Trump on the front page, and sometimes, like Tuesday, June 21, there are two. By contrast, Clinton hardly appears on the front page, and often when she does, it is in a story that starts with the Donald. This lopsided coverage stems partially from Trump’s many outrageous statements and the many controversies surrounding both his candidacy and his business interests. When faced with reporting manufactured and fabricated charges against Clinton or the real and verifiable scandals, underhanded dealings, lies and feuds that attach to Trump like fuzz to a sweater (at first I wrote something more disgusting involving shoes), the news media is correctly—and finally—chasing the real misdoings.
A good part of the emphasis on Trump, however, reflects a predilection by the mainstream media to cover Republicans more than Democrats. In 2010, 2012 and 2016, the mainstream news media, and in particular New York Times provided much more space to covering Republican statewide and local candidates and to Republican primaries than they did to those of the Democrats. The media ignored the many progressive movements of 2010 to focus exclusively on the Tea Party.
Those who haven’t been watching mainstream cable news or not found the text of Clinton’s speech online missed a very clever and impassioned job of cutting Trump down to size. Clinton made all the major points:
- Trump started with more money than most rich people have
- He sent four companies into bankruptcy, hurting thousands of employees and investors
- He has had many other business failings
- He has a reputation for not paying his bills
- He is involved in thousands of lawsuits, including a fraud suit against Trump University.
Along the way, Clinton got off a number of zingers. Here are some of the best:
- “Just like he shouldn’t have his finger on the button, he shouldn’t have his hands on our economy.”
- “Trump would take us back to where we were before the crisis. He’d rig the economy for Wall Street again.”
- “He has no credible plan for rebuilding our infrastructure, apart from the wall that he wants to build. Personally I’d rather spend our money on rebuilding our schools or modernizing our energy grid.”
- “He just says that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. Well I’ll give him this – it is a lot easier to say a problem doesn’t exist than it is to actually try to solve it.”
- “He’s written a lot of books about business – they all seem to end at Chapter 11."
It will be interesting to see if today’s attack on Clinton by Trump dominates the 24 hour news cycle. Or will it be the continued fallout from the double news that Trump’s campaign has less money than Ted Cruz’ or Bernie Sanders’ and that from 10-20% of money Trump has spent on the campaign goes to Trump business entities, which means that if Trump were to get enough donations to pay back the money he has loaned the campaign that he will have made money running for office. I’m hoping that the news media takes the high ground and that the story that dominates the news cycle in not the announcement that someone is trying to sue Trump for raping her multiple times when she was 13.
But two things I know for sure: 1. Unless there is another mass murder, Trump, not his presumed opponent in the fall elections, will be the center of media attention. 2. Whatever Trump says will be full of lies, exaggerations and distortions.