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WaPo, New York Times Make Dumb Fake News Out Of Very Perfect, Very True Trump Quote

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What I hate about the national media, almost more than anything, is their unwavering ability to take a legitimately fascinating or even mildly interesting story and turn it into something stupid, dishonest — or even worse, something boring.

Case in point, two separate op-eds in The New York Times and The Washington Post used the same quote from a recent TV interview Donald Trump sat for last week and stripped it of all its original and insightful meaning, purely to reinforce one of their tiresomeDemocracy is at stake!” narratives.

Referencing the quote in question, Jamelle Bouie of the Times said, “Trump plans to turn the Department of Justice against his political opponents, prosecuting his critics and rivals.” (Whoa! A president prosecuting his critics and rivals? Never thought I’d see the day!)

Citing the same quote, the Post’s Catherine Rampell said it was “horrifying” that Trump was threatening to use presidential power “against political rivals in retaliation for their alleged persecution of him.”

Both Bouie and Rampell used just a section of Trump’s remarks, but here’s more context:

Univision interviewer: “You say they’ve (Democrats) weaponized the Justice Department, they’ve weaponized the FBI. Would you do the same if you’re reelected?”

Trump: “Well, he’s (Biden) unleashed something that everybody — we’ve all known about this for 100 years. We’ve watched other countries do it and in some cases effective and in other cases, the country’s overthrown or it’s been totally ineffective. … What they’ve done is they’ve released the genie out of the box, you understand that. They’ve done something that nobody thought would happen. … They have done something that allows the next party — I mean, if somebody — if I happen to be president, and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them,’ mostly that would be, you know, they would be out of business. They’d be out. They’d be out of the election.”

The fuller answer is even more interesting, but what Bouie and Rampell omitted is that Trump wasn’t making an unprovoked threat about what he plans to do if he’s reelected. He was accurately describing the logical consequence of criminalizing political opposition. When the party in power falls out of it, they’re vulnerable just the same.

That’s called payback, and no doubt Trump and his supporters want it. But let’s not leave out the details of how we got here. That’s the most interesting part of the story.


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