Yesterday morning, The Federalist published an article by David Marcus, one of our senior contributors. He argued that the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci was a good thing because it finally put to bed the idea that Donald Trump would be a responsible president. It made fun of Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, and Reince Priebus for saying that Trump would settle down in office.
Marcus, a longtime critic of Trump’s, said serious people don’t want the job of communications director, because they are asked to say “patently false” things on behalf of the president. And he said it was good for America to have a communications director who helps us understand what the president genuinely believes, rather than one who is always trying to downplay what he says. It ended:
Most political commentators have their heads in their hands, asking how it came to this. How did this over-energetic guy become the voice of the White House? Well, look at the big desk in the Oval Office. Who do you think should be speaking for him? Why would we want levelheaded professionals pretending he isn’t saying what he says? Who does that serve?
President Donald Trump is who he is. He’s a tough as nails New Yorker who enjoys competition. No well-intentioned compromisers from Wisconsin, be they Paul Ryan or Priebus, can change that. President Trump needs a voice that speaks his language. Scaramucci is fluent. Trump will never be a Republican in any sense we used to think of. Can he change what Republican means? Maybe. And making Anthony Scaramucci his mouthpiece lets us all know the stakes.
In no universe is this a pro-Trump article.
Well, Scaramucci was fired yesterday. That led David Harsanyi, a totally different person from David Marcus even though they share an exceedingly rare first name, to write an article about how this “might” be a good thing for Trump. Harsanyi is also a long-time Trump critic, but I assure you he and Marcus are different people:
The firing of bombastic White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci could mean any number of things.
Perhaps the ascent of Gen. John Kelly, the new chief of staff and the man who fired Scaramucci, indicates that a modicum of normalcy is about to be instituted in the West Wing. This is the best-case scenario for Donald Trump.
Or maybe Kelly will be pushed out of his position before I finish writing this post.
Could go either way.
In no universe is this a pro-Trump article. But in a world where anyone not holding the bloody, severed head of Donald Trump is a Trump enthusiast, critics pounced.
First out of the gate was Conrad Close. He since deleted the much-retweeted tweet but here it is:
See, in the morning we published an article that said Scaramucci was good because he matched Trump in his lack of seriousness and decorum. Then nine hours later our NeverTrump senior editor published an article about how Scaramucci being gone was probably a good thing.
But if you didn’t read both articles, you could do what Conrad Close did, and use this as “evidence” that The Federalist just supports whatever Trump does. Nevermind, again, that neither article is supportive of Trump. Push that meme, as Olivia Nuzzi, the Washington correspondent for New York Magazine, did in the image above.
But things were just getting going. Here’s Brendan Karet, a Media Matters for America researcher, taking Close’s idea for his own:
And Ken Tremendous, the nom de Twitter of American television producer and writer Michael Schur, upped the ante. Showcasing multiple anti-Trump viewpoints terrifies him, he said:
Yes, hosting debates and being open to different ways of looking at things is Orwellian. More his essays than his dystopic fiction, of course.
But is it too much to ask the vaunted members of the Resistance — whether they’re Republican lobbyists, aspiring writers, or established journalists — to read things before they try to score cheap points? We’ve already seen that both articles were negative regarding Trump, as even the most cursory read could have established. They were written by authors with a long track record of criticizing Trump.
Unlike many other publications on both the Right and Left, The Federalist goes out of its way to find and publish different perspectives and competing arguments. That’s because we value debate for its own sake and aren’t afraid of considering and engaging arguments we may not agree with. Although stifling groupthink might be the defining characteristic of many Beltway newsrooms, we think groupthink is boring and turns otherwise smart people into intellectually lazy hacks who can’t even manage to read a byline, let alone an entire article. Consuming only content that you already agree with may be a great way to prevent facts and varying perspectives from invading your meticulously curated safe space, but it’s a pretty sad and cloistered way to go through life.
So we’re going to keep publishing people who love Trump and people who hate him and people who think he deserves a shot at implementing his agenda and people who don’t. We’ll publish people who think he’s conservative and people who don’t, and people who think he’s an abomination and people who think he’s exactly what America needs. And if you don’t like that, we encourage you to retreat back into your bubbles, where debate is anathema, facts are irrelevant, and intellectual rigor consists of reading at least half of a headline before stealing someone else’s barely literate Twitter meme.