Collected Commentary on the Hot Topic

The New York Times is America’s leading newspaper. I read it every day. Sometimes I read the comments. Sometimes I write one of my own. Has doing this had any effect on the course of human events? Well, every journey begins with a single step, right? Even if you never reach your destination.

In roughly chronological order:

Re: Hillary Clinton’s Dishonesty

Let’s see. A possibly misleading statement about financial transactions almost 40 years ago. Being involved in firing White House employees who were not protected by civil service rules and served “at the pleasure of the President” 20 years ago. Exercised bad judgment in some cases. Changed her positions in some cases. Perhaps criticized a political opponent unfairly.

You may dislike her intensely, but you haven’t made your case that she is especially dishonest, certainly not especially dishonest compared to many other successful politicians. We will see whether she seriously tries to deliver on her campaign promises when she is President. That’s the kind of honesty that will matter most.

The expert you cite is an independent blogger who has self-published two books and specializes in conspiracy theories. A look at his blog suggests he thinks every election we have is rigged. According to his “About Me” page, he’s focused on President Kennedy’s assassination since 2012 and produced a spreadsheet that shows “absolute mathematical proof” of a conspiracy. According to comments he’s left on other sites, he also denies that we know the truth about 9/11.

What his “analysis” has to do with whether Hillary Clinton is more or less honest than other successful politicians escapes me. The most important test of a politician’s honesty is whether they try to deliver on the promises they make. By that standard, I predict President Hillary Clinton will turn out to be more honest than many of her predecessors.

Re: A Conversation with Trump

This is the first Maureen Dowd column I’ve read in years. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that what she’s done here is what so many interviewers do with Trump: ask him a question and then let him have the last word. over and over again. It would be more productive and informative if she and other interviewers pinned him down instead of moving on to the next question.

If that’s too challenging, how about giving Hillary Clinton equal time? Trump says a bunch of crazy stuff. Report that. Hillary meets with some voters. Report that. Trump insults someone. Report that. Hillary makes a boring speech. Report that.

Giving the two presumptive nominees equal time wouldn’t be as entertaining, but it would help give the electorate a more balanced view of the campaign. This is serious business. It’s time for the news media to get serious too.

Re: Two Performers Refused to Appear on a Talk Show When They Learned Trump Would Be on the Same Program

If only more people refused to have anything to do with Trump. Shame on anyone who supports him, treats him with respect or does anything to imply that he is just another candidate for President, rather than, as one rich Republican donor said, “an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard”, i.e. a danger to our country and the world.

Re: Pro-Nazi Tweets from Trump Supporters

One of the important issues Mr. Weisman raises is how news organizations should be dealing with Trump. The First Amendment gives Trump the right to say all kinds of nonsense (either hateful or simply stupid), but it seems wrong for people in “the news business to find and write up both sides of [this] story, with respect and equal time to all opinions”.

I’m not a journalist or a journalism professor but it seems to me that we’re in a situation now that presents a “clear and present danger” to our country and the world. Trump has a right to speak, and since he’s the nominee, we need to know what he says and does, but it seems wrong for anyone, especially reporters, to treat him and some of his supporters with respect, reporting what they say without comment, as if Trump is simply another candidate for President.

Re: The State Department Inspector General’s Report on Hillary Clinton’s Email

Are editorials like this meant to show that the NY Times is treating all the candidates equally? America is hanging on a precipice, facing the real possibility that an incredibly dangerous person will become President, and we get another demand that Clinton utter some magic words about her email that will satisfy the press. How about you ladies and gentlemen come up with a confession for her to sign: “I screwed up. I wanted to insure my emails were private. It was a serious mistake. I should have been more forthcoming about the details. I apologize. It certainly will never happen again.” Then we could get back to doing whatever we can within the bounds of legality to stop Trump from becoming our President. If the people who speak for the NY Times don’t think they have a responsibility to help stop Trump, they are tragically mistaken.