The mainstream media allows Donald Trump to get away with lies and racist attacks without questioning them by treating back-and-forth statements from politicians as part of the horse race of politics. If the media were doing its job, it would not pass on statements without at least checking on their veracity.
Let’s look at a single example. Yesterday, Trump tweeted this:
CNN passed on this tweet without comment, only reporting that “The two have traded barbs throughout the week. … The back-and-forth between Trump and Warren is nothing new.”
But let’s pretend we are responsible journalists and examine this tweet. First of all, he says that Warren is “sometimes referred to as Pocahontas”, which is itself a racist statement. According to an article in “Indian Country Today“:
Trump’s very use of Pocahontas’ name is disrespectful. The story of Pocahontas is heart-wrenching. Toward the end of her life she left her people, went to England, contracted a disease and died at a very young age. When I think of that story – and the hundreds of sad and disturbing stories of how Native people have suffered throughout history, I can’t imagine making a mockery of their names or their lives. In my culture, we have deep respect for our relatives who have gone before us. It would be an utter disgrace to carry on as Donald Trump has about a Native woman whose life was cut short in a terrible way.
Also, note how Trump tries to make it sound like anyone other than himself refers to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas”.
Which brings up the question, why is Trump calling Warren “Pocahontas”? He is trying to revive a discredited controversy that came up during Warren’s 2012 campaign for the Senate. Her opponent tried to claim that Warren had been a fake “diversity hire” at Harvard. But there is no evidence that Warren had ever used anything about her ethnicity in order to get a job anywhere.
Of course, Trump never allowed lack of any evidence to stop him from claiming that Obama wasn’t born in the US. And he isn’t allowing it to stop him from lying that Warren “pretended to be a Native American in order to advance her career”. Especially considering that there is far more evidence that Trump is pretending to be wealthier than he really is in order to advance his career.
And finally, Trump calls Warren “very racist”, which, as Vox points out, is ironic because it “proves that Trump can also be racist while trying to insult someone for being white.” Regardless, claiming to be a Native American may be dishonest, but it is not racist in any sense of the word.
The point of this post is that CNN didn’t bother to discuss any of this in their article. They merely passed Trump’s tweet along with absolutely no discussion of its merits. Is CNN afraid that if they question Trump, that he will attack them?