Even Conservative Media Turning on Trump

Last week, the editorial board of the reliably conservative 'Wall Street Journal' said Trump is his 'own worst political enemy.'

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch — whose sleazy Australian and British tabloid journalism informs his creation and ownership of the Fox News Channel — is courted by politicians worldwide. They crave his support but fear his opposition even more.

Trump was not immune.

So far, however, Murdoch has not debased his Wall Street Journal as he has cable news. 

For months, WSJ refused to join other national news media by calling Trump’s verifiably false assertions lies; WSJ’s editor said “lie” requires an intent to deceive and no one knew Trump’s intentions. 

However, last week, the reliably conservative, Republican WSJ couldn’t take it any longer. Its editorial board said Trump is his “own worst political enemy” and he is damaging his presidency “with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”

WSJ’s editorial focused on his unproven charge that then-President Barack Obama tapped his phones. “The President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.” 

And he’s not alone, the paper said, “rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. … Two months into his presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39 percent. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he’s a fake president.”

That’s similar to strong stuff we’ve been hearing from other right-wing pillars for more than a year: venerable National Review and neo-con Weekly Standard

• Enquirer reporters pursuing finances at the Park Board and the Center for Closing the Health Gap demonstrate the staying power of veterans with their editors’ support. WCPO.com reporters also are digging into Center for Closing the Health Gap spending.

Rather than argue numbers and contract issues, the Center’s Dwight Tillery and his allies are maligning the white reporters as racists. 

For more than 300 years, observers have said that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” 

Today, race has replaced patriotism as a way to deflect legitimate interest in how taxpayer money is being spent.

• One of the joys of print is mismatched headlines. Both are correct, but stacked or next to each other, they’re a hoot. The latest is from a recent Enquirer opinion page:

“Musketeer Madness takes hold; It’s time to support needle exchanges.”

• I awakened last week to news of the latest homicides in Cincinnati… on BBC’s World Service. Nothing about the nightclub mass shooting was on the Enquirer’s website, but WCPP’s story included its reporter and police quotes from ABC News. 

A couple days earlier, widely viewed dailymail.com reported the lynching of a driver whose car struck a child in Walnut Hills. The driver was beaten, then shot in the street. The child survived. 

• At the Rome Daily American, type used for the headline “Italian Gov’t Falls” was saved for repeated reuse. Similarly, this statement should be saved in newsroom computers after the latest deadly shootings in Cincinnati: “Police were having trouble getting witnesses to cooperate.”

• I may have wished then-young Constable Keith Palmer good morning when we entered the Houses of Parliament at the gate for guests, members and journalists. 

He’s dead now, murdered by a rampaging home-grown Muslim convert turned radical Islamist. 

And I can’t remember how many times I’ve walked or driven Westminster Bridge when I lived in London where pedestrians were murdered last week. 

Yet there was none of the irrational/racist reactions to Islamist killers we see and hear in our country. 

Public figures led by example with dignity. Initially, British news media that I follow online reported soberly, fully and accurately. It was the same after murderous 2005 London bombings by Islamists and years of deadly IRA attacks. 

• This response to the Westminster murders goes beyond keeping a “stiff upper lip.” Londoners still embody their government’s advice on the eve of World War II: “Keep Calm & Carry On.” 

Other World War II posters reminded Brits that “Freedom is in Peril/Defend it with all your might” and “Your courage/Your cheerfulness/Your resolution/Will bring us victory.”

No one had to tell them to make Britain great again. 

• Twitter enabled the antithesis to London’s calm and decency. Trolls abused a brown-skinned woman in a hijab photographed walking  past wounded people on Westminster Bridge. Among them was @SouthLoneStar. 

He wrote, “Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone. #PrayForLondon #Westminster #BanIslam.”

But photographer Jamie Lorriman told the Daily Mail, “I saw dozens of people walk past and the woman on the phone had just come from the part of the bridge where most of the victims were struck. That is why she clearly looks mortified and it is obvious that she is in shock. The woman would have seen people under buses — she had just walked past the worst of it. She wasn’t the only one walking past injured people and it looked like she just wanted to get off the bridge as quickly as possible. I took three photographs where you can see the woman and I think she looks distressed in all of them.”

Two days later, Huffington Post said the still-unnamed woman responded, “I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media. To those individuals who have interpreted and commented on what my thoughts were in that horrific and distressful moment, I would like to say not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.

“My thoughts at that moment were one of sadness, fear and concern. What the image does not show is that I talked to other witnesses to try and find out what was happening, to see if I could be of any help, even though enough people were at the scene tending to the victims. I then decided to call my family to say that I was fine and was making my way home from work, assisting a lady along the way by helping her get to Waterloo Station. 

“My thoughts go out to all the victims and their families, I would like to thank Jamie Lorriman, the photographer who took the picture, for speaking to the media in my defense.”


CONTACT BEN L. KAUFMAN: [email protected]

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