The New York Times’ Editorial Board, in a Nov. 24, 2015 editorial titled “Mr. Trump’s Applause Lies,” pointed out the candidate’s frequent racist assertions about African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims—anybody non-White—and the responsibility of the Fourth Estate to call him to task on those untruths.
This Oct. 5, 2016, file photo shows Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking during a campaign rally, in Reno, Nev. Why now? And why this?
For the legion of Republicans who abandoned Trump on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, recoiling in horror from comments their party’s White House nominee made about using his fame to prey on women, there is no escaping those questions. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
“History teaches that failing to hold a demagogue to account is a dangerous act,” the editorial stated, concluding, “It’s no easy task for journalists to interrupt Mr. Trump with the facts, but it’s an important one.”
Throughout this presidential election season, a wide array of news outlets have been doing that—calling out the Republican candidate’s lies, and his racist and misogynistic statements and behavior even when the candidate and his surrogates attempt to rewrite history by denying those facts.
For example, in July 2015, major online news source The Huffington Post began ending each of its stories on Trump with an editor’s note that reads: “Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims—1.6 billion members of an entire religion—from entering the U.S.”
The caveat was prompted by the Trump campaign’s metamorphosis from a “sideshow” to “an ugly and dangerous force in American politics,” Arianna Huffington explained in a July 12, 2015 post.
“We believe that the way we cover the campaign should reflect this shift. And part of that involves never failing to remind our audience who Trump is and what his campaign really represents,” she said. “So if Trump’s words and actions are racist, we’ll call them racist. If they’re sexist, we’ll call them sexist. We won’t shrink from the truth or be distracted by the showmanship.”
The editorial and commentary pages of major newspapers also have provided a steady counterbalance to Trump’s incendiary and mendacious remarks.
“Let’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist,” the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote in his opening of a December 2015 opinion piece.
The Times, which is located in Trump’s backyard, has also kept up a steady drum beat, pointing out the candidate’s outrageous ideologies and behavior on its opinion pages.
Even on the pages of The Wall Street Journal, a traditionally conservative publication, anti-Trump sentiments have resounded, with columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz calling Trump the candidate of “white supremacists and swastika devotees.”
Perhaps most impactful, however, have been the endorsements from major publications—especially from those with little to no histories of endorsing candidates and from conservative-leaning outlets.
The Atlantic magazine, for example, endorsed Hillary Clinton in its November 2016 issue—only the third time it has endorsed a presidential candidate since its founding in 1857. In the piece titled, “Against Trump,” the editors call the Republican candidate “spectacularly unfit for office.”
“His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read,” the indictment read.
USA Today, which has never endorsed a candidate, made headlines last month when it broke tradition by advising its readers that Trump was “unfit for presidency.”
The Dallas Morning News, broke from a 75-year tradition of endorsing Republicans to back Hillary Clinton.
“There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November…. Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest,” the paper wrote. The editorial board further said of Trump: “Trump’s values are hostile to conservatism. He plays on fear — exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best.”
Other conservative newspapers like the Cincinnati Enquirer, Arizona Republic and the San Diego Union-Tribune put aside partisanship to denounce Trump, with the Enquirer declaring: “Trump is a clear and present danger to our country.”