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When political reporting gets a plot twist

Posted by: | April 12, 2016 | No Comment |

It’s an election year and politics is King. Politics, controls the news cycle. It’s been an interesting year with Donald Trump dominating the conversation, bringing out the worst…and best(if I’m being fair) of America.  It’s been an entertaining election.

At one point, the Huffington Post covered Trump in their entertainment section calling his campaign a ‘sideshow’. Roughly five months later, Arianna Huffington announced the Huffington Post wouldn’t cover Trump in Entertainment but treat it ‘as if it were a normal campaign’. The full post is well worth the read.  Huffington wasn’t alone with celebrities like J.K Rowling, Pitbull and Miley Cyrus publicly denouncing trump.  Trump is an easy target, which is why I’ll save Ted Cruz for a separate post.

Burying the lead a bit, there are good things that have come out of Trumps presidential run. No, I’m not talking about the Freedom girls, the heartwarming ‘hugs’ campaign, or John Oliver Tonight, but David Brooks,I Miss Barack Obama’(IMBO) op-ed for the New York Times.   If this isn’t a nice cherry on the political reporting cake, I don’t know what is. A prolific conservative writer, it’s not entirely surprising he wrote a homage Obama piece. Known for his pithy, poignant, and unabashed writing style, Brooks is a g.o.a.t, having a NYT column since 2003. What’s ‘newsworthy’ about the piece is Brooks is a conservative. Not a Rush Limbaugh conservative but a bi-partisan conservative that right and left-wingers approve of. Since Brooks isn’t running, approval is a mute point.  The oddity of the piece was picked up by Washington Post’s Justin Moyer who thinks Brooks is ‘going through something’. 

 I have a sense of amusement from it all, and the reader comments suggest I’m not alone.

It’s a fact — Brooks isn’t a fan of Donald Trump.  In ‘No, Donald Trump Won’t Win’ he compares Trump to a pink rug ending  the article with “In an era of high anxiety, I doubt Republican voters will take a flyer on their party’s future — or their country’s future.” This was the popular rhetoric at the time. Many doubted that American’s would vote for such a man. How could they?

Two months after ‘No, Donald Trump Won’t Win’ IMBO is posted, the tagline reading ‘This campaign is highlighting some of the presidents better traits’. This was after he called trump the ‘lingua franca of pro wrestling’ and said he was ‘more spectacle than substance’. Biting to say the least.

Contrary are his words for the President :

“No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect. Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.”

Further up, the fifth thing Brooks will miss? Obama’s optimism.

“To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That’s simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth.”

So what does this all mean? Obama’s presidency isn’t untainted and by no means is he the progressive many hoped for, but to have David Brooks send praise is gratifying and represents the excitement that is political reporting. There’s more to this than a conservative giving Obama praise. IMBO gives a glimpse into the changing political framework and inadvertently, a change in political reporting. It pulls the shades back on a broken system and creates a platform that says ‘hey, it’s o.k to be a conservative and applaud a liberal’. It sets a standard for fair, reflective and open political reporting. It shows people that you can praise Obama and still keep your guns. 

Liberals, count this as a win.

-J.

under: Comm 455

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