Home 2019 Elections At the Debates, the “Bar” Actually Should be a LOT Higher…for Donald...

At the Debates, the “Bar” Actually Should be a LOT Higher…for Donald Trump


There’s been a lot of talk about how the “bar” the media and others has set for Hillary Clinton has been much higher than the “bar” for Donald Trump. Thus, Trump can (and does) have literally hundreds more serious (and some not as serious) scandals, possible (likely?) crimes, bigoted/outrageous comments, etc. than Hillary Clinton, yet there have NOT been hundreds more articles in the media or air time on the boob tube about Trump than about Clinton’s non-“scandals.” With the potentially pivotal presidential debates coming, this disparity is more crucial than ever. As Paul Krugman writes this morning:

PolitiFact has examined 258 Trump statements and 255 Clinton statements and classified them on a scale ranging from “True” to “Pants on Fire.” One might quibble with some of the judgments, but they’re overwhelmingly in the ballpark. And they show two candidates living in different moral universes when it comes to truth-telling. Mr. Trump had 48 Pants on Fire ratings, Mrs. Clinton just six; the G.O.P. nominee had 89 False ratings, the Democrat 27.

…If Mr. Trump lies only three times as much as Mrs. Clinton, the main story should still be that he lied a lot more than she did, not that he wasn’t quite as bad as expected.

Again, I’m not calling on the news media to take sides; journalists should simply do their job, which is to report the facts. It may not be easy — but doing the right thing rarely is.

So, yeah, Trump lies a gazillion times more than Hillary Clinton does. He also has a gazillion times more truly terrible things about him than Clinton’s enemies can even semi-plausibly claim that she (supposedly) has. Yet the media has mostly reported this utterly non-normal campaign with their normal, obnoxious, fundamentally dishonest “both sides” false equivalency – “he said, she said,” in other words. And now we have the debates, moderated by that same pathetic, cowardly media (think Matt Lauer, Chuckles Todd, etc.). Really gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, huh?

Anyway, the main point of this diary is that the media AT THE MINIMUM should call out candidates’ (almost certainly, those will be overwhelmingly by Trump) lies, fact-free b.s., outrageous statements, etc. at the debate and afterwards. But I’d go a step beyond that: the media should actually set a much HIGHER bar for Trump than for Clinton.


Simple. Because, unlike Hillary Clinton – with her long record of public service, almost all of which is very much on the record, verifiable, refutable, etc., along with her transparency on her taxes and medical records – Trump has ZERO record of public service, never been elected to anything, has ZERO foreign or domestic policy experience, has NOT released his tax returns, and has NOT provided any serious medical information. Trump also has failed to lay out any serious, detailed policy proposals – again, unlike Clinton. And even worse, in some ways, Trump has repeatedly made statements that, in a normal election year, any ONE of which would have been the end of his candidacy (remember Todd Akin and “legitimate rape?” Trump has made many, many statements at that level of lunacy or worse)

And the most important bottom line here: whether or not you like Hillary or agree with her policies, there is NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that she’s qualified to be president. In stark contrast, there is ENORMOUS DOUBT that Trump has any qualifications, temperament or fitness in any other way to be president of the United States. Which is exactly why the “bar” should be a LOT higher for Trump than for Clinton. Again, that’s because Trump has a LOT more to prove than the former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State does. By a factor of…oh, I dunno, infinity?


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