On Oct. 2, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted the hashtag #failing@nytimes to show his disdain for The New York Times report on his tax returns. On a broader scale, the hashtag epitomizes his general feelings toward the paper’s coverage on his campaign over the past year. Before this surreal election year, one might think Trump was insulting the corrupt referee at his son’s 7th-grade soccer game, not the (arguably) most famous newspaper in the world. Surely if anyone is doing reliable reporting, it is the paper with 199 Pulitzers on its mantle.
Nevertheless, Trump is unabashedly against them — but he is not entirely wrong for it.
In the past week, there have been more than 20 articles written on Donald Trump — and that’s just looking at the opinion section. The obsession with Trump has catalyzed an inundation of articles on the Republican nominee that leaves one wondering what is exactly going on at The Times. Opinion pieces are not just “the news,” but rhetorically stylistic and argumentative persuasive pieces that offers new insights to a topical issue. The New York Times opinion section has been beating the anti-Trump horse to death. There are only so many ways to condescendingly refer to his voters, and opinion writers at prestigious newspapers should be offering more nuanced or even just new pieces of the election.
Unfortunately, The Times has spent too much time printing bland or repetitive pieces that have taken away any reason to read the paper this season.
This is not to say that every piece published is entirely garbage. Max Boot published a piece on Trump and his legacy in the Republican party that offered new and interesting perspectives on the election. Unfortunately, most articles are painfully pointless in their criticism — one was quite literally just a list of statements Trump has made contradicting one another. There is no argument, persuasion or stylization explaining why this is worth anyone’s time. Now, many would argue that Trump is so depraved that he needs no explanation — his statements speak for themselves. Trump, it seems, is the exception to normal campaign coverage, and it is in this fallacy that The Times fails us all this year.
Freedom of press is still a beloved value, and one of the best parts of the opinion section is that a writer can ignore an unbiased argument and write his or her opinion. However, the lack of pieces in support of Trump matches the lack of pieces on Hillary.
The Times, along with many Americans, forget that Donald Trump is a man — a human being — not an evil robot who feeds off of certain prejudices. The Times opinion writers often take extreme approaches to his words, essentially taking one quote of his and blasting it for an entire article. Their ruthless offensive slam pieces on Trump only make him stronger. Donald Trump may be evil in his words and in his politics, but the media has created a monster-persona that has done nothing but make his actual presence seem tame.
Overall, they are right about Trump, no doubt. But when opinion pieces become nothing more than a rant with a clickbait title, one starts to sympathize with Trump’s tweets calling out the unfair fixation on him.
Journalistic standards should not be lowered to match the standards of those they write about. Few pieces have been written on the first female major party candidate in comparison to her opponent, and their ambiguous (yet baiting) style leaves her “sketchy” rumors up to anyone’s speculation. At this point, The New York Times seems to be reveling in its “obvious” rightness about this entire election and seems content to sit back and just be right about everything. Their goal is murky at best.
Dissuade Republican voters? Convince undecided ones? They seem to be ranting about everything Trump says in the news with no thought to insight at all. Trump may well be correct in his hatred for this news source, who has done nothing but call him names ad nauseam while ignoring real issues in the election. So yes, anyone would sound like a deranged old man for threatening to sue The Times and calling them out their willingness to “say anything.” But in Trump’s case, he has earned that right.