Nearly 350 newspapers around the United States took part in a massive group protest of President Trump on August 16th by publishing Trump-bashing editorials comically purporting to defend free speech and freedom of the press. This, they claimed, was in response to Trump lambasting “fake news” and calling the press “the enemy of the people.” Yet, they themselves have been attacking Trump since the day he took office, rigorously hiding anything that reflects positively on him while endlessly savaging him for things he may or may not have done years before he took office. And everything he’s done since then. And for any other slight, real or imagined. And for his diet, weight, hair, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
The Boston Globe was the instigator of this mass tantrum, coercively encouraging every newspaper in the land to participate in this colossal exercise in group-think ironically disguised as a defense of their First Amendment rights. One major metropolitan paper, however, stood tall, choosing to exhibit its independence by deciding not to participate. Here is how it announced its decision: “The Los Angeles Times, however, has decided not to participate. There will be no free press editorial on our page today.”
The editorial continued: “This is not because we don’t believe that President Trump has been engaged in a cynical, demagogic and unfair assault on our industry. He has, and we have written about it on numerous occasions. As early as April 2017, on ‘Trump’s War on Journalism’: ‘Trump’s strategy is pretty clear: By branding reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality. By undermining trust in news organizations and delegitimizing journalism and muddling the facts so that Americans no longer know who to believe, he can deny and distract and help push his administration’s far-fetched storyline.’ We still believe that. Nevertheless, the editorial board decided not to write about the subject on this particular Thursday because we cherish our independence.”
The Monty Python Troupe couldn’t have written better satire, although theirs would have been intentional. The Times just wrote extensively about precisely what it said it wasn’t going to write about. And then it sniffed: “The Los Angeles Times editorial board does not speak for the New York Times or for the Boston Globe or the Chicago Tribune or the Denver Post. We share certain opinions with those newspapers; we disagree on other things. Even when we do agree with another editorial page — on the death penalty or climate change or war in Afghanistan, say — we reach our own decisions and positions after careful consultation and deliberation among ourselves, and then we write our own editorials. We would not want to leave the impression that we take our lead from others, or that we engage in groupthink.” (Emphases mine). Of course not. Perish the thought.
The Times then went on to say that the president treats the media as a cabal, referenced his “enemies of the people” remark, and mocked him for believing that “we’re in cahoots to do damage to the country.” It closed by stating: “We mean no disrespect to those who have decided to write on this important subject today. But we will continue to write about the issue on our own schedule.”
You’ve got to hand it to the L.A. Times. It managed to write about what it said it wouldn’t write about that day, referenced all the times it wrote about the subject in the past, and promised to write more about it in the future, all-the-while touting its extraordinary independence and inability to be influenced by its fellow newspapers.
Remarkably, it took advantage of an opportunity that others of its ilk used for virtue-signaling, did likewise, and then virtue-signaled again by saying it wouldn’t take part in the mass virtue-signaling like its common, garden-variety peers.