In yet another op-ed for the New York Times, Paul Krugman has made a compelling case: the media is doing to Hillary Clinton what they did to Al Gore in 2000.
Krugman has provided us with a step by step account of the parallels between the media treatment of Gore in the 2000 election and the media treatment of Clinton in the 2016 election.
For one, Krugman explains the way in which then Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush was painted in the media as “a bluff, straightforward guy,” while Gore was portrayed as being dishonest.
The parallels here to the current election are crystal clear. As Krugman suggests, few are claiming that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is some honest saint, however, “it’s hard to escape the impression that he’s being graded on a curve.”
Secondly, Krugman demonstrates that any movement towards ‘the center’ or mainstream by Trump is seen as progress, while coverage of Hillary Clinton and her so-called ‘scandals’ is consistently viewed as corrupt. Even before facts are known, Clinton’s actions are branded as such. Krugman uses the Clinton Foundation fiasco as evidence for this, beginning with:
“Step back for a moment, and think about what that foundation is about. When Bill Clinton left office, he was a popular, globally respected figure. What should he have done with that reputation? Raising large sums for a charity that saves the lives of poor children sounds like a pretty reasonable, virtuous course of action. And the Clinton Foundation is, by all accounts, a big force for good in the world. For example, Charity Watch, an independent watchdog, gives it an “A” rating — better than the American Red Cross.
Now, any operation that raises and spends billions of dollars creates the potential for conflicts of interest. You could imagine the Clintons using the foundation as a slush fund to reward their friends, or, alternatively, Mrs. Clinton using her positions in public office to reward donors. So it was right and appropriate to investigate the foundation’s operations to see if there were any improper quid pro quos. As reporters like to say, the sheer size of the foundation ‘raises questions.'”
Thirdly, rather than projecting what people would like to believe Donald Trump is and what he stands for, the best way to judge a candidate is by looking back at what they’ve accomplished. When you pit the two 2016 candidates, it’s clear that Trump really hasn’t accomplished anything. He’s had several failed business ventures, a history of racist conduct especially by way of housing discrimination, no political expertise, and the list goes on. Mr. Trump has a long record of poor business conduct and has demonstrated in the past that he is anything but the working class proponent that he claims to be.
Meanwhile, we are letting innuendo dictate how the candidates are viewed in the mainstream in the same way that it was done in 2000. In short, we cannot let another election happen in that way, as we’ve all seen the catastrophic aftermath of the 8 years that the country endured of the Bush Administration. Krugman’s call to action holds true:
“In other words, focus on the facts. America and the world can’t afford another election tipped by innuendo.”