He didn’t pound on any desks

I thought the Times interview displayed Trump in all his shameful vanity and idiocy, but I guess I took the bait, because wise observers say they simply normalized him.

Eric Boehlert at Daily Kos:

More than three years after Donald Trump rode the down escalator inside Trump Tower to announce his radical campaign for president, more than three years after Trump began waging a vicious war on the free press in the United States and around the world, and years after Trump adopted dictator rhetoric and began smearing hardworking journalists as “Enemies of the people,” the New York Times still doesn’t have the collective spine to stand up to the Oval Office bully.

Signaling once again that the paper cherishes access above all, Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger on Thursday joined TimesWhite House reporters Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker for an on-the-record interview with Trump. Sulzberger was present ostensibly to press Trump on his use of “fake news” and his dangerous, unprecedented, and relentless attacks on the news media.

But, Boehlert says, it was just toothless, and Trump got to lie and ramble and lie with no consequences. Sulzberger should have pounded the desk and talked about Khashoggi for twenty minutes, but instead he just uttered some gentlemanly rebukes and left it at that.

He didn’t pound on any desks, and he didn’t raise his voice. In fact, Khashoggi was barely mentioned. Instead, the publisher basically pleaded with Trump, as if logic and nice words work with this tyrant.

The sad reality is that the Times is just another powerful media institution that has utterly failed to stand up to this radical president.

Doubly fearful of a brutal economic environment that puts all media players at risk and afraid to offend, while already being historically nervous about getting dubbed as part of the “liberal media,” the Times like so many other media outlets has opted for a get-along strategy with Trump. The paper is choosing to cling to its role as insider White House chronicler.

I suppose, but I think there’s an argument that its (mild) criticisms have more bite coming from the very establishment respectable paperofrecord yadda yadda Times. Maybe that’s just naïve though.

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