Journal Sentinel Sanitizes Trump Disaster
It offers only Paul Ryan’s positive account of Trump’s ugly tussle with Congress.
“House Speaker Paul Ryan had nothing but praise for his party’s presumptive nominee after a closed-door meeting between Trump and House Republicans,” JS reporter Craig Gilbert reported. “We had a great meeting,” Ryan said at his weekly news conference Thursday. “I thought he did a great job engaging with our members….We clearly have a presumptive nominee who wants to work with us.”
Gilbert does disclose that the meeting “featured a fews testy exchanges between Trump and GOP critics.” But he doesn’t say who those critics were (they happened to be U.S. Senators) or what they had to say. Instead he gives a rundown of the some polite comments pro and con by members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. I went away from the story thinking Trump’s meeting may have helped him, but at least didn’t hurt him.
Contrast this with the New York Times story headlined, “Peacemaking Goes Awry as Donald Trump Lashes Out at G.O.P.”
The lead graph tell us “A peacemaking summit meeting between Republican lawmakers and their renegade presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, descended on Thursday into an extraordinary series of acrid exchanges, punctuated by Mr. Trump’s threatening one Republican senator and deriding another as a ‘loser.’”
“Mr. Trump arrived in the capital with hopes of courting skeptical House and Senate Republicans and mending his relationship with Senator Ted Cruz, his former rival for the nomination, in a blitz of face-to-face meetings. But the friendly atmosphere turned fraught when Mr. Trump lashed out in the face of direct criticism.
“The tension reflects the lingering fissures in a Republican Party that continues to grapple with Mr. Trump as its standard-bearer, and underscores Mr. Trump’s limitations when it comes to unifying the party and moving beyond political grudges.”
Wow. This is an entirely different story than what the Journal Sentinel has handed its readers. The Times story documents Trump’s nasty exchanges with Republican senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Jeff Flake of Arizona and The Donald’s attack on Illinois Republican Senator Mark S. Kirk, who wasn’t there to defend himself, calling Kirk “dishonest” and a “loser.”
Kirk later shot back at Trump, calling him an “Eastern, privileged, wealthy bully.”
And Sasse later was quoted saying “with these two candidates this election remains a Dumpster fire.”
The Times story does include Ryan’s view that the meeting went great but notes the signs of skepticism among House members: Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger said he could sense some hesitation in the room. “I’m not a Never Trump guy, I’m a Republican — I want to support him,” Kinzinger told the Times. “But things like saying the Saddam Hussein comment are not helping me to get there.”
The Washington Post’s account was quite similar to the Times’ with a less dramatic headline: “Trump, seeking GOP unity, has tense meeting with Senate Republicans.” The story also details his spat with the three senators and includes Ryan’s view far down in the story, in the 19th graph.
While it is certainly noteworthy that Ryan was satisfied with the meeting, the arguments Trump had with the U.S. Senators are surely far more newsworthy: the meeting was such a failure it’s entirely possible Trump will never patch up relations with GOP members of Congress. That, in turn, raises questions about Ryan’s judgment: how can he claim all is well when Trump’s meeting erupted into yet more arguments between him and ranking Republicans?
The Journal Sentinel is now part of Gannett and has access to national coverage by that company’s papers, including USA Today and Associated Press. Yet it has offered its readers a story that is so distorted to favor a local politician it barely qualifies as news. What in the world is going on with the newspaper?