Just three days ago, CBS, NBC and CNN all found it newsworthy to wave around copies of the New York Daily News with its obnoxious “F U” cover insult directed toward Ted Cruz. On Sunday, the networks decided to cover a sophomoric anti-Donald Trump parody from the Boston Globe, even though the slam is appearing more than five weeks after the Massachusetts GOP primary.
Since December, liberal newspapers have published a spate of obnoxious, over-the-top covers that the broadcast networks immediately picked up as meaningful contributions to political discourse:
■ On December 3, CBS and NBC trumpeted the Daily News’s “God Isn’t Fixing This” attack in favor of gun control vs. prayer after the San Bernardino terrorist attack. CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King endorsed the sentiment: “I think this headline’s very powerful.”
■ The next day, CBS and NBC found it worthwhile to include another screed from the Daily News as part of their news coverage, this one slamming NRA President Wayne LaPierre as a “terrorist” on par with the “murderous psychos” who commit mass murder.
■ On December 5, all three networks picked up on the New York Times publishing a front-page editorial pushing for further restrictions on Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights. CBS’s Anthony Mason saw the Times’s judgement to run the editorial on its front page as significant, rather than opportunistic: “For the first time since 1920, the Times published an editorial on its front page. The title is ‘End the Gun Epidemic in America.’”
■ Then on December 8, the Philadelphia Daily News got into the act, with a headline and photo designed to cast Trump as another Hitler. Sure enough, the outrageous rhetoric was quickly legitimized by network anchors, as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CNN’s Chris Cuomo both incorporated the smashmouth headline into their questions to Trump. “You’re increasingly being compared to Hitler. Does that give you pause at all?” Stephanopoulos asked the candidate on that morning’s Good Morning America.
Journalists like to act as if they hate venomous rhetoric in politics, but they seem eager to take obnoxious liberal editorial opinion and push it out to their audiences as if it was major news.
Sunday morning, however, ABC’s Jonathan Karl and NBC’s Chuck Todd both suggested the Globe’s eruption was easily dismissed. On Good Morning America, Karl correctly noted: “It’s not going to affect any of his supporters, obviously....They’re not going to be deterred by what a liberal editorial page in Boston says.”
On Today, Todd seemed a bit regretful that the Globe took such a low-brow approach: “That’s something you would expect from The Onion, something you might expect from perhaps a partisan magazine, or something like that. It was just a very surprising move, and, again, that’s something that could actually turn people off more than it — than maybe what was initially intended by the editorial board.”
Indeed, the so-called “satire” included such lame tidbits as having Kid Rock as Trump's U.S. Ambassador to Japan and ex-Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault as the Secretary of Education, along with re-naming Yellowstone as “Trump National Park.”
One of the Globe’s sidebar teases: “‘A Trumping to Remember,’ the president’s first romance novel, was yanked from the shelves after the publisher acknowledged portions were cribbed from a May 1986 edition of Penthouse.”
Is that item supposed to reinforce the editorial view that Trump would be a disaster as President, or is it a giveaway that the Globe’s staff was merely indulging their desire to commit a political prank?
Here’s how ABC and NBC covered it on their April 10 morning shows, starting with Good Morning America:
DAN HARRIS: Let’s talk about this cover of the Boston Globe, the front page covered with satirical articles about life under a President Trump. The headline, “Deportations to begin,” and inside there’s a really tough editorial. It says, “Donald J. Trump’s vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American.” Have you ever seen anything like this before, and is it likely to have any effect?
JON KARL: This is pretty dramatic. Did you notice one of the little short little items on the front page, “Trump on Nobel Prize short list?”
HARRIS: Yeah, I don’t think they meant it.
KARL: Interesting. Look, this is a brutally tough editorial — very stark, one of the starkest I have ever seen. It’s not going to affect any of his supporters, obviously. They’ve supported him through thick and thin. They know exactly what his positions are. They’re not going to be deterred by what a liberal editorial page in Boston says. But, the point is here, this is what you’re going to be seeing if he wins the Republican nomination. This kind of attack coming from the Democrats. I think we have only seen the beginning of what will go against Donald Trump.
HARRIS: Worth noting, Trump did very well in Massachusetts....
# NBC’s Today, April 10:
CRAIG MELVIN: Chuck, I know you’ve seen this, The Boston Globe, the mother of all anti-endorsements, so to speak, front-page this morning. Do editorials like this -- one of the headlines, by the way “Deportations to begin, markets sink as trade war looms,” -- this is of course what they say would happen if Donald Trump wins. Does that move the needle at all with voters here in New York or anywhere else?
CHUCK TODD: I don’t think it does and it actually could have a backlash effect, that is a -- I was surprised that the Globe went that far. That’s something you would expect from The Onion, something you might expect from perhaps a partisan magazine, or something like that. It was just a very surprising move, and, again, that’s something that could actually turn people off more than it — than maybe what was initially intended by the editorial board.”