It has been anonymously reported by The Atlantic magazine that President Trump disparaged World War One soldiers buried in a French cemetery when his trip there was cancelled due to bad weather a couple of years ago.
Trump often says incendiary things, but he is also often quoted out of context. Just look at his “fine people on both sides” comment which was NOT about White Supremacists, yet which the Leftist media and even Joe Biden continue to falsely assert. Biden has twice said that the Charlottesville remarks caused him to enter the race for President, yet the media has not given him 100 Pinocchios for his false characterization. And I have no doubt that the media will continue to overlook Biden’s lie through the remainder of the campaign.
(I don’t use the word “falsely” lightly. Watch the video of his comments, it is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmaZR8E12bs).
One wonders whether Trump really would have spoken so critically about fallen soldiers from over 100 years ago, and I doubt it. I don’t think Trump is a World War One historian. But has he said disparaging things about the military or particular soldiers or generals sometimes? Absolutely. He has also praised the military often. He also has reportedly said that soldiers who went and died in Vietnam were “suckers,” which I presume refers to the discredited conflict, not the sacrifice of the individuals. Trump seems to value American life as he brings soldiers home from abroad and resists using military force unless absolutely necessary.
Using anonymous sources can also be problematic, especially when they are discussing “gossip.” Is there one source who created the news, told several others, and this turns into several anonymous sources? It is also suspicious in this case because there are so many “never Trumpers” who support Joe Biden, and for the lengthy delay in hearing these alleged comments, which are coming to surface right in the final stretches of the campaign. It smells like a political hit piece.
The Boston Globe article interviews two “Gold Star” families (parents who lost a son or daughter in war) who were upset by the reported remarks attributed to President Trump by the magazine. The Globe journalist does indicate that the remarks are not proven by using the word “reportedly” in the piece’s opening paragraph, but then quotes the words supposedly used by Trump in quotation marks. The quotation marks are not Trump’s words (he denies saying them) but instead are the words from the magazine’s allegations. Readers might assume otherwise.
But the big problem with this piece is that the allegations aren’t IMMEDIATELY followed by Trump’s denial.
Paragraph two of this article should have been Trump’s denial statement, but readers don’t see that until the eleventh paragraph, after several speakers attack the president personally for the reported remarks. He was attacked by the Gold Star parents, a curious reference to former Trump Chief of Staff General John Kelly (I guess to insinuate a pattern), and then Democrat Seth Moulton, a fierce local partisan who had the distinction of running for president and polling a zero (not a single supporter identified by some polls. See https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/07/28/multimedia/seth-moulton-2020.html).
This is bad journalism when dealing with such an incendiary subject which has been vigorously denied by the speaker and which is based solely on anonymous sources.
To add insult to injury, you had to turn inside to page B4 to read Trump’s denials (photo 4). They had room for several photos and an all-capital headline on page B1, but not a prompt denial by the target of their ire.
Apparently, the two parents held a press conference which the Associated Press attended. The AP story was picked up by dozens if not hundreds of media services across the country (see photo 5). The Globe admitted using the AP story in its reporting too.
Yet the AP’s headline for this piece was much less partisan than the Globe’s. The AP wire service used “alleged” in the headline when describing the offensive remarks. But in the Globe’s coverage, it chose to remove that descriptive word, which is important because Trump has vigorously denied the remarks. And even Joe Biden, when attacking Trump, made it clear that his attacks were based on what Trump allegedly said, because it has not been proven. So even Joe Biden, Trump’s opponent, is being fairer to Trump than the Boston Globe in its coverage.
Many readers might not notice the bias in today’s example, especially since the paper can point to Trump’s denial in the piece. But having the denial after several people are quoted in the attack, and putting it on the continuation page rather than on the front page, are examples of bias. These are subtle things, but I believe they are purposeful and not random. And, of course, the Boston Globe has a long and documented record of bias against President Trump, with frequent violations of journalistic standards in its coverage, as I have documented on this website.
Allen Nitschelm is publisher of PublicEditorMA.com. He critiques the Boston Globe, mostly focusing on the bias in their news reporting. News articles are graded for bias, and the website has a listing of the average bias ratings for all reporters reviewed. See our website for more information and the four categories of articles we publish.
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