Paul Krugman seems like he’s on a mission to cement his reputation as the most out-of-touch political commentator of the 2016 election cycle—or the most cynical. In his Monday column, he argues the press is treating Hillary Clinton unfairly but handling Donald Trump with kid gloves—Trump is “being graded on a curve,” while Clinton is getting the same rough treatment Al Gore got back in 2000.
Krugman must not read the Internet.
Say what you will about Trump’s inchoate campaign and the general absurdity of Trump as a public figure (let alone a U.S. president), the mainstream media has been rather candid about its intention to cover the GOP nominee with extreme bias.
Usually, the press at least pretends to be objective and balanced in its election coverage. But not this time—Trump is just too extreme for respectable media outlets. Back in July, Ezra Klein set the stage by explaining that this election is different than all previous elections: “The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate.”
Normal versus abnormal. Got it? The New York Times last month built on this theme with a front-page op-ed justifying biased coverage of Trump. Sure, imbalanced coverage is offensive to the very idea of modern journalism, wrote Times editor Jim Rutenberg, “But let’s face it: Balance has been on vacation since Mr. Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy.” If reporters “believe” that Trump is a dangerous demagogue who would endanger the country, Rutenberg suggests they should just give into those feelings and churn out biased coverage of Trump.
The press appears to be following the Times’ lead. Bias against Trump is now so blatant that, as Mollie Hemingway noted here yesterday, the media routinely ignores legitimate campaign issues simply because Trump is the one to bring them up.
Meanwhile, Krugman is frustrated that reporters are still asking questions about the Clinton Foundation, which is one of the greatest charities of all time and is in no way a giant influence-peddling scheme. He wishes the press would just stop it with the innuendoes suggesting there was anything untoward about big donors to the foundation meeting with Clinton during her tenure as secretary of State, for example.
Krugman also has some advice for all those legions of anti-Clinton reporters at mainstream media outlets across the country: “the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing.”
He then goes on to talk about how Clinton’s ongoing email scandal—including the release on Wednesday of dozens of emails relating to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack that Clinton failed to hand over to the FBI—raises serious questions about whether she can be trusted in the Oval Office.
Just kidding, he doesn’t do that at all. He never even mentions the email scandal, or any of the other Clinton scandals that have stacked up over the past quarter-century. Instead, he cites Trump’s record of “bilking students” and “stiffing contractors” as evidence that he can’t be trusted in the Oval Office.
Remember, his column is about supposed media bias against Clinton. Krugman, a highly influential member of the media elite writing in the most powerful newspaper in the world, apparently has no sense of irony.