Letter: A Losing Record

Letter to the Editor

The betting markets have Biden beating Trump by two-to-one odds in the final week before the election. There are various signs that President Trump has lost his ability to drive the political narrative anywhere except at Rupert Murdoch’s fact-free “news” outlets and, even at these outlets, professional reporters have refused to be associated with articles about Joe Biden’s possible involvement in a Chinese commercial venture. 

FBI Director Wray refused to open an investigation into claims made by President Trump’s personal attorney that Hunter and Joe Biden were involved in a $3.5 million commercial deal with China. Editors from major newspapers and cable media news outlets have refused to devote newspaper space or broadcast time to President Trump’s conspiracy theories with no verifiable validity. 

This stands in contrast to 2016, when FBI Director James Comey violated departmental rules on announcing the (re-) opening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails days before the election. Newspapers like the New York Times violated journalistic norms by devoting front page stories to reporting possible low-level national security violations posed by Clinton’s emails that, ultimately, elicited no disciplinary action whatsoever. 

A good part of the reason why President Trump is unable to drive the political narrative in 2020 the way that he was able to do in 2016 is that the COVID-19 epidemic keeps dominating the political landscape, despite President Trump’s repeated attempts to convince the public that it is relatively innocuous and can be safely ignored. But another, more important reason is that over the last four years many professionals from a variety of occupations have refused to subordinate their professionalism to accommodate President Trump’s politically convenient wishes, even at considerable personal cost. Attorneys, military personnel, government watchdogs, politicians, foreign service officers, public health professionals, intelligence community officials, etc., have lost their jobs or been demoted for refusing to violate their professional norms to support an illegitimate narrative favored by the president. Without credible enablers to support his efforts to assassinate the character of Joe Biden, President Trump has to run on his record, which is why he is now losing.

William McCarthy