The broad strokes, platitudes and scattershot insults coming from candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail are considered low-hanging fruit in the media business these days: a guaranteed goose chase of fact-checking and application of context sure to get some eyeballs and SEO love.
We did it anyway, with a deconstruction of Trump’s Greensboro speech in this week’s cover story, “The annotated Donald Trump,” beginning on page 16.
And while it’s sure to get traction among our readership, who by and large seem to reject the mouthy New York millionaire and everything he stands for, we know full well that the people who need to read this story — the ones planning to vote for the guy — likely will not. Even worse, if they do it probably will not change one bit their opinion of the man who just hours before his Greensboro appearance denied media credentials to the Washington Post, the newspaper of our capital city.
Point something like this out to a Trump supporter, and they’ll likely fire back immediately with an indiscretion of his competition, Hillary Clinton, who to be sure has raised plenty points of contention thus far in her long career.
Seriously, though: American politics have devolved this century into nothing but rock fights, where the preferred means of scoring points is to make the other party look bad. And scandals can be found everywhere: old tax returns, Twitter accounts, magazine articles from the 1990s. Chances are in the hours between when this newspaper goes to press Tuesday evening and hits the streets Wednesday morning some fresh new outrage will have emerged concerning one or both of the candidates. And chances are it will make no difference to the faithful.
Oddly enough, just as political parties are devoting their energy to smearing the opposition, it seems to have less of an effect than ever. What new piece of information could a confirmed Trump voter receive that would finally convince him to change his vote? Likewise, is there any conceivable situation that would push a Hillary supporter into the Trump camp?
So we admit we’re tilting at windmills here when we take candidate Trump to task. But still we stand by the work. We don’t just stop newspapering because people don’t want to listen. We maintain that Trump is a dangerous grifter whose plans for this country are the antithesis of the American way.
And nobody’s gonna tell us different.