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A small semantic dispute
Let the Sunday shows settle it!
BOLT UPRIGHT: Good evening, I’m Bolt Upright, and this is Received Opinion.
[Music. Screen behind UPRIGHT: Picture of TRUMP giving a Nazi salute with the caption WHAT, ME WEIMAR?]
They tell reporters in journalism school not to let themselves turn into the story, but people are talking about the New York Times’ recent coverage of former President Trump. Some says it’s irresponsible — others fair and balanced! For example:
[Screen: NYT headline: “Trump Takes Veterans Day Speech in a Very Different Direction.”]
This is how the Paper of Record headlined a speech in which President Trump called his opponents “vermin” and “the threat from within,” terms repeatedly used by Adolf Hitler, who for our younger viewers was a German leader who opposed the United States in the mid-20th Century. Critics thought the Times should have mentioned that in the headline. The Times did get “vermin” in the lede as we say in the business, and later changed the hed as we say in the business. But the incident does raise a question:
[Screen: Cartoon image of a 1940s dowager getting kicked in the butt by a shaggy hippie, captioned GOOD GREY LADY CANCELLED?]
Has political correctness gone too far? To address this we go to our roundtable: syndicated columnist and author of Let Me Tell You Brats About Mr. Reagan Peoni Doyenne; Democratic consultant, New York Times contributor, and author of Yet Another Other Side of the Other Side, Chafe Dramaturgy; and syndicated columnist and author of Why I Hope Trump Murders My Liberal Friends Buff Toehold.
[As ugly music howls, UPRIGHT approaches the desk with his panel — dressed as they always are because this is hell.]
Peoni, what do you think is going on here?
DOYENNE: The lunatics have taken over the asylum, Bolt. Clearly the Times’ woke young reporters, all of them supporters of Hamas by the way, are holding Joe Kahn hostage the way the Columbia students held Kingman Brewster hostage just twenty-five years ago!
UPRIGHT: Actually, Peoni, it was fifty-five years ago, the Columbia president was Grayson Kirk, and they held Harry Coleman hostage, but I take your point. How can the Times loosen the death-grip of its radical leftist reporters?
DOYENNE: I would simply fire them all, Bolt, the way Ronnie Reagan fired the air traffic controllers [eyes flashing angrily at UPRIGHT] on August 5th, 1981! You can fact check that if you like!
UPRIGHT: No argument there! But, Chafe, we’re just getting word of another contretemps over yet another Times headline in response to this part of a Trump speech — let’s look at it on tape:
[Clips of TRUMP yammering in some hall.]
TRUMP: There’s nothing wrong with being white, folks. Nothing wrong. There was a guy, some of you know him, he was loved and admired in our home growing up, and he said a beautiful thing, he said the existence of our people, it has to be secure, and to do that the white children gotta have a future. But they make out like it’s a bad thing.
[Back to UPRIGHT and the others.]
UPRIGHT: Now, as a lot of people have pointed out this clearly refers to Hitler’s famous 14 words, but in its early edition the Times headline on the story was “Leading in polls, Trump shifts to a family-friendly theme.” Do you think this perhaps soft-pedals what some say is a pattern of quoting a fascist dictator and threatening to implement his totalitarian policies?
DRAMATURGY: Bolt, so often in this country we talk right past each other. We jump to conclusions when what’s needed is dialogue so we might understand one another. The media should reach out to Trump’s people and dialogue to get an explanation for what may have been just a poor choice of words.
UPRIGHT: Actually, Chafe, the Washington Post did reach out to Trump spokesman Steven Cheung, who said, quote, “Yeah, it’s Hitler, bitch, deal with it,” then broke wind and walked away.
DRAMATURGY: Well, that’s hardly a dialogue, is it? I’m sure if the Post reporter or someone could just reach out even more to Mr. Cheung, we could straighten this whole thing out.
UPRIGHT: Buff, I notice you’ve been stabbing the roundtable repeatedly with a penknife, clearly there’s something on your mind.
TOEHOLD: Well, Bolt, I’m actually envisioning you and Peoni and Chafe and all my liberal friends tied down on a table like James Bond in Goldfinger so I can stab you repeatedly over and over, over and over, just like this until you stop screaming and die. But until Trump returns and makes it possible, let me just say it’s Hitler, bitch, deal with it, and — wait, just a minute –
[TOEHOLD grimaces, then makes a noise like a fart except much wetter; DOYENNE and DRAMATURGY groan; TOEHOLD stands, holding his butt.]
Look what you made me do!
[TOEHOLD waddles off.]
UPRIGHT: Clean-up on aisle nine! When we come back, what about those rumors that if reelected Trump will purge the Justice Department? Former Trump aide Stephen Miller joins to tell us it isn’t true and so what if it is!