By any objective measure, Donald Trump is at an all time low. He’s been such a criminal as president, he’s in the process of being impeached. He’s been such a criminal in his personal capacity, he’s in the process of being indicted on state charges by a grand jury in New York. Almost everything that’s happening regarding Trump is negative – and if you’re a false equivocator, that’s a real problem.
If you want to be an honest and unbiased political pundit at a time when 98% of the developments regarding Donald Trump are negative, then 98% of your coverage and analysis needs to be negative for Trump accordingly. That kind of honesty gains you respect among those who know what’s going on and understand that you’re just telling it like it is.
But then you have the average low-information schmucks out there who are in the middle politically, and who therefore expect political analysis to be somewhere in the middle as well. Their clueless definition of “unbiased” is that they’re hearing positive things about both sides and negative things about both sides. If you want this kind of person in your audience, you have to pander to them. And in this era, where nearly all of the developments are objectively negative about Trump, that requires throwing in at least a trace amount of false equivalence.
So on a day like this, when Donald Trump’s downfall is so throughly underway that he can’t even attend a baseball game without the crowd overwhelmingly calling for him to go to prison, it’s disappointing but not surprising that certain pundits feel they have to throw Trump a bone. It’s not that they want to help him. It’s that they think they have to play both sides in order to retain their core audience.
FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver tweeted “It really amazing how many Libs can’t even permit Trump to have *one good day*” even as Morning Joe co-chosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said on-air this morning that it was shameful for baseball fans to boo Donald Trump and chant “lock him up.” They’re all getting thoroughly raked over the coals for it on social media, because this kind of false equivocating crap is not respected by those who know what’s going on. But it’s the kind of “appearance of being unbiased” pandering that these types of pundits think they need in order to retain a broad audience.
As Donald Trump continues to circle the drain the developments get even worse for him, we’re likely to see an increase in this kind of false equivocating from the pundits who see it as their security blanket. That is, of course, until the day Trump is ousted – at which time these same pundits will act like they’ve never said one positive word in Trump’s direction. This kind of nonsense won’t stop until audiences get smarter about what does and does not constitute bias.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report