Media coverage of Trump, Clinton deplorable

by Andrew Dyer, Opinion Editor

Donald Trump and his supporters were triggered over the weekend when Hillary Clinton did not refer to them in a politically correct manner. Trump was indignant after she called half of his supporters a “basket of deplorables.” She walked her statement back after it dominated the weekend news cycle, but she was not wrong.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found 44 percent of Trump supporters view blacks as ruder than whites, 46 percent view them as more criminal and almost 50 percent view them as more violent. 48 percent support Trump’s unconstitutional proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.


Trump was an early adopter of the Obama birther conspiracy. The idea that the nation’s first black president was born in Africa is something that has taken root among his supporters. Public Policy Polling found 61 percent of them think Obama is from another country and 66 percent believe he is a Muslim.


Former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke is one of Trump’s most fervent supporters. As recently as Tuesday, Sept. 13, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence refused to say that Duke was “deplorable.” Trump has re-tweeted a neo-Nazi Twitter user named “WhiteGenocideTM” twice. This month he re-tweeted Kevin MacDonald, a man described by the Southern Policy Law Center as a white nationalist and anti-Semite.


Another story published in the midst of the Clinton non-troversy cast serious doubt on Trump’s claim to have given “millions of dollars” to charity.

Reporter David A. Fahrenthold of the Washington Post found that, since 2008, Trump has not donated any of his own money to the Trump Foundation. Instead he takes donations from certain organizations then donates the funds, in his foundation’s name, to others.

He also used foundation funds to purchase a six-foot painting of himself.

Farenthold found those receiving the donations were often those who also rented his hotel spaces and ballrooms.

This revealed much about the Republican nominee for president. It speaks to his character, finances and business ethic, and provides rare insight into a candidate who refuses to release his tax returns.

Trump’s overseas dealings represent a serious conflict of interest.

His charitable dealings, or lack thereof, are of vital public interest.

But in this media landscape the horserace matters more than reality.

News organizations were quick to fall in line with the Republican narrative. Their breathless coverage of Clinton’s health lends legitimacy to Trump’s conspiracy theories about it. Their coverage, equating Clinton’s unfavorable traits to Trump’s malignant ones, represents a reckless form of “both side-ism” and false equivalence.

Trump has mocked the disabled, called Mexicans rapists and insulted veterans.

He lies pathologically. Politifact found 70 percent of his statements to be false, mostly false or “pants on fire” untrue.

Yet Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment was scrutinized with the same level of condemnation as any of Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric.

When the media falls over themselves to cover Clinton health conspiracies with the same urgency it does serious political issues, it does the public a huge disservice.

News media framing the election as a horserace and pretending minor Clinton gaffes are just as damaging as the malignancy of Trump and his supporters is more than dishonest.

It is deplorable.