That the press has become quite unnerved over the tight presidential race is apparent in the Associated Press's coverage of Republican nominee Donald Trump's Monday campaign rally in Asheville, North Carolina.
John Hinderaker at Powerline alertly noted that reporters for both Breitbart and AP prepared dispatches on the event, enabling a quite telling comparison of the two efforts. The headline at his post says it all about how they compare: "Reality Versus the Associated Press."
Interestingly, Breitbart, which has been savagely disparaged by many not supporting Trump, is nonetheless a subscribing AP outlet, and carried the same wire story at its website as the AP did at its "Big Story" site — even running its pathetic headline: "Trump stands up for backers even as rally scuffle breaks out."
Hinderaker began his Powerline writeup by citing the opening paragraph from Breitbart's relatively brief in-house coverage:
Hillary Clinton owes all of you an apology and I think you’ll get that apology right around the same time that she hands over the 33,000 emails that she deleted, the Republican nominee told a huge crowd in Asheville, North Carolina during a campaign rally on Monday night.
I'll observe here that reporter Jonathan Lemire at AP didn't use that obviously ready-made sound bite in his AP report. In fact, he made sure that his report didn't contain the word "email" at all.
Hinderaker followed with a video supporting the observation by Breitbart's Alex Swoyer that there was "a huge crowd." Here is a still photo from that video:
The video Hinderaker posted is from a tweet by David Martosko of the UK Daily Mail.
Martosko is the same journalist whom the Hillary Clinton campaign threatened on Friday when he tweeted that their candidate sounded "absolutely exhausted" and that he "half expect(ed) her to slump over and collapse any second now" at a press conference on national security. It took two days, but the Daily Mail reporter was certainly on to something, wasn't he?
One of Martosko's tweets promised a crowd count, but his later dispatch vaguely described the crowd as in the "thousands." The capacity of the U.S. Cellular venue in Asheville is 7,654, with floor seating for 2,431. It looked to be mostly but not completely full.
The AP's Lemire recorded no observation about the size of the crowd.
Getting back to the Powerline post:
At one point a small scuffle broke out in the huge crowd, precipitated by anti-Trump protesters. Breitbart gives the incident appropriate space: "A bit of a scuffle appeared to break out during Trump’s remarks."
This was followed by a few tweets about the scuffle.
But the Hinderaker notes that the AP's Lemire obsessed over the incident:
The Associated Press saw the rally entirely differently. Nothing about the large, enthusiastic crowd. In the AP’s telling, the only significant thing that happened was the scuffle:
Donald Trump stood up for his supporters Monday against Hillary Clinton’s remark that half of his supporters belonged in “a basket of deplorables,” denouncing the comment as “an explicit attack on the American voter” and suggesting that it makes her unfit for the presidency.
Next comes the “but”:
But even as Trump defended his backers, one lashed out at protesters in the hall by appearing to punch and slap them.
So that is a refutation of what Trump said? The AP evidently thinks so. Trump talked through the scuffle.
How dare he ignore the only thing the Associated Press wants to talk about!
The Daily Mail's Martosko submitted a separate item on the Asheville scuffle. Though he probably gave it more attention than it deserved (tabloids will be tabloids), he noted one observation by Trump that was spot-on:
'It's a few people out of thousands,' he said, complaining that 'the dishonest media' wouldn't likely write that his antagonists left with their middle fingers held high.
'They won't report the gesture. They won't report anything. But the good news is the cameras follow it,' Trump said.
... Inside, Trump did nothing to encourage the violence.
Of course, Trump was right. The AP's Lemire didn't report the middle-finger gestures.
Powerline's Hinderaker missed one important item not present in Breitbart's or AP's report. It's something only Martosko noted, and only in a portion of one of his opening bullet points: "Eventful rally included testimonials from North Carolinians." Trump, in the wake of Mrs. Clinton's "deplorables" comment, invited several of his supporters on stage to react to Hillary Clinton's depiction of them as half-likely to be "deplorables."
Here is video of that portion of the rally:
Jonathan Lemire of AP devoted well over 300 words to his coverage of the rally — he went onto other items in the rest of his dispatch with equally biased gusto. Naturally, he failed to report Trump's shrewd move. After all, if he did, he would also have had to note that Trump's testimonial-givers were clearly a quite diverse group. We can't have that.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.