Jennifer Rubin gets a lot of flack here over the suspicion that she isn’t really on our side, she’s just against Trump, and will go back to screeching at us the way she screeches at him now. That’s possible, maybe even probable. But let’s not be so suspicious that we miss a few things. First is that she really does hate Trump with a passion equal to any of us here. Right-wingers and libertarians who wouldn’t give us the time of day may at least give her a second read. Second, we like to hammer on the fact that Trump is INcapable of learning from past mistakes, of changing his mind, of growing better as he grows older, while at the same time we praise Biden for be able to do all those things. We should at least extend Rubin the courtesy of allowing that she too may be capable, and give her a chance to prove it. Third, she is increasingly burning her bridges to the ultra-conservative community, as in this latest column, in which she takes on that bete-noire of conservatives everywhere, the New York Times, for not being tough enough on Trump.
Racists and liars are enabled and protected from accountability when the media mince words in describing their language. It is those who are already the victims of racial injustice, brutality and persecution who are hurt the most when the media bob and weave, sidestepping unpleasant but true descriptions of their oppressors. I pray we will finally respond to protesters’ demands for racial justice, but in the meantime, can we at least be clear about the identity and tactics of their persecutors?
Anderson Cooper of CNN, she points out at the start of the column, has no qualms whatever about calling out His Malignancy for what he is.
“He’s spending his time to trying to distract now with racist and jingoistic talk. He’s just leaning full into the racist he’s long been; he’s just letting us see it more clearly now than ever before.” That was Anderson Cooper on CNN Monday night. Clear declarative sentences that accurately label the president’s words. Is it so hard for others to do the same?
The Times, however, just can’t stop pussyfooting:
“For many Republicans who are watching the president’s impact on Senate races with alarm, his focus on racial and cultural flash points — and not on the surge of the coronavirus in many states — is distressing.” This was how the New York Times obliquely described Trump’s defense of the Confederate flag, his attack on African American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, his rants against peaceful protesters seeking to halt the murder of African Americans by police and his insistence that some Americans are out to destroy the country. I don’t know what it means to “focus on racial and cultural flash points.”
And Rubin isn’t putting up with it:
Trump is not conducting a seminar on race and culture. He is not calling attention to violence against racial minorities. He is making racist statements and venerating racist symbols. Period.
And she lectures the Times on basic journalism ethics:
Journalists should not construct tortured sentences to make racism appear as an unfortunate and perhaps accidental byproduct of his rhetoric. Try diagramming this sentence from the Times: “Mr. Trump has sought to stoke white fear and resentment, portraying himself as a protector of an old order that polls show much of America believes perpetuates entrenched racism and wants to move beyond.” That verges on self-parody. “Trump fans racism.” Period.
She doesn’t mention the Washington Post, not because they’re her employer, but because they publish headlines like these, which I picked up in a quick search in the past 7-10 days:
A similar search of the New York Times archives for the past month looking for “racist Trump” yielded 10 results, including the most recent, from July 2:
but even Michelle Goldberg didn’t call Trump a racist himself, just that he appeals to racists and uses racism.
Half the point of this diary is that the Times is indeed tiptoeing around the elephant in the room (and sliding all the time into elephant dung). But we’ve all known that. The other half point is that Rubin is saying all the right things, things that are not sitting well with her former constituency. We should accept it as genuine and encourage her to continue. Once Biden and the Democrats take over, we’ll watch to see what she does then.
In the meantime, Go Jennifer!