Thursday, November 24, 2016

The New York Times View of the World

Back on Tuesday President-elect Trump had an on-the-record interview with the New York Times chappies and chapettes. And I have read the transcript.

Let us make a rash assumption. Let us assume that the order and the frequency of raising issues with the president-elect tells us a lot about the chaps and chapettes at The New York Times.

The alt-right. Yes, first out of the box, Dean Baquet, executive editor, asked about the alt-right convention in Washington DC. "So, I’d love to hear you talk about how you’re going to manage that group of people[.]" Oh please.

Next up, the Clinton pardon. Maggie Haberman, political reporter, asked about that, and what it means in detail (you know, so the Clintons would know what was coming at them).

Then, climate change. Thomas Friedman, opinion columnist, asked "But are you going to take America out of the world’s lead of confronting climate change?" Oh no! Trump said he had an open mind, but mentioned the Climategate emails. Yay!

Hey! Clintons again! Elizabeth Bumiller, Washington bureau chief, " I just wanted to follow up on the question you were asked about not pursuing any investigations into Hillary Clinton. Did you mean both the email investigation and the foundation investigation — you will not pursue either one of those?" Trump actually equivocated, saying that he just wants to go forward.

Then, climate change again! Michael D. Shear, White House correspondent, asks it Trump is going to take us out of the Paris accords.

Then, climate change yet again! Shear asks about wind turbines on Trump's golf courses and the conflict of interest.

Then, climate change again! Michael Barbaro, political reporter, asks about Trump meeting with Brexit leaders about wind farms. Trump says that we are "subsidizing wind mills all over this country" and they kill all the birds. No!

Hey kids! Back to alt-right and Steve Bannon. I am not making this up. Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House correspondent, asks about Steve Bannon, "hero of the alt-right. He’s been described by some as racist and anti-Semitic."

Now, Breitbart. Unknown asks, "what do you think of the website [Bannon] ran, Breitbart?" Then Julie Davis mentions African Americans and Jews and "the slant that Breitbart brings to the news[.]" The horror!

Finally, actual economic policy. Ross Douthat, opinion columnist, asks how whether in four years the Rust Belt will feel that Trump governed more like Paul Ryan. Trump goes on a riff about the forgotten men and women. But what about the robots? Trump says we'll make 'em here. And by the way he got a call from Bill Gates and from Tim Cook and talked to Cook about tax cuts and making iPhones in the US.

Look out: alt-right Nazi alert! Unknown asks about the "conference this past weekend in Washington of people who pledged their allegiance to Nazism." Trump says "Boy, you are really into this stuff, huh?"

Now infrastructure. Pinch Sulzberger asks "is infrastructure going to be the core of your first few years?" Trump says not the core, but important.

Now shock and awe. Thomas Friedman says "I came here thinking you’d be awed and overwhelmed by this job, but I feel like you are getting very comfortable with it." Trump says he is comfortable and awed. But then Michael D. Shear chimes in saying that Obama said you guys were pretty overwhelmed. Trump says he had a good meeting with Obama.

Finally, foreign policy. Thomas Friedman asks "What do you see as America’s role in the world?" Trump waffles then goes off the record on Syria.

And waterboarding. Maggie Haberman asks if Trump would return to waterboarding. Trump says that Gen. Mattis told him that you can get more from a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers than torture.

And Jared Kushner. Haberman asks if Trump will bring Kushner in. Trump answers: maybe to bring peace between Israel and Palestine.

Finally First Amendment. Mark Thompson, CEO, asks "after all the talk about libel and libel laws, are you committed to the First Amendment to the Constitution?" Trump says no worries. Because he doesn't want to be sued any more than The New York Times.

OK, sports fans. Let's add up the score on mentions.
  1. Alt-right, Bannon, Breitbart: 4
  2. Climate change: 4
  3. Clinton emails, etc.: 2
  4. Economic policy, infrastructure: 2
  5. Foreign policy, torture: 2
  6. Son-in-law: 1
  7. First Amendment: 1
Now my question is this. Do you think that the folks at The New York Times are serious journalists, or what?

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