Political journalists are less teachable than children

Kill’em, Brian Beutler: “There is apparently less capacity for living and learning in political journalism than there is in elementary school; less object permanence than in nursery school.” To wit:

On Tuesday night, in vintage fashion, Trump offered few details to back up empty promises. He alluded to courtroom convictions to create the false impression that terrorism in the U.S. is principally a consequence of weak vetting and porous borders—a false justification for his Muslim ban, which the courts have enjoined. He cited an increase in homicides in 2015 to foster the impression that violent crime is at a historic high, rather than a historic low. He outsourced to Defense Secretary James Mattis a lie about a raid he ordered in Yemen—which resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL, numerous civilians, and an eight-year-old American girl—falsely heralding it as “a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence.” Hours earlier, Trump had blamed his own military planners and Obama for its obvious failure. He also claimed to support NATO, which he has previously described as obsolete.

A middle finger to the thoughtful folks at Poynter, whose recent proffered bits of wisdom made sense when adults read Ann Landers in newspapers:

Take a look at your sources to make sure they’re ideologically diverse.

Check your copy with colleagues who may hold different political opinions.

Look through your feedback on social media. What criticisms do people on the left and the right have of your work? Is it fair?

In the Reagan-Bush era journalists and ideologues quibbled about the role of the federal government; in 2017 we wonder whether a story deserves a GOP source extolling the safety of contaminated water. And in 2017 I don’t care about persuading people resistant to suasion. Sorry.

The Beltway pundit class looks for evidence in the rubble that Donald Trump respects normal standards of conduct; I extend him the courtesy of taking him for what he was the moment he said Barack Hussein Obama had to prove he was born in the United States: a fink.

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