If either of the two major presidential candidates is looking desperate in the countdown to Election Day, it pales next to the media’s obvious attempt to drag Hillary Clinton across the finish line of a race she was expected to have wrapped up months ago.
Something’s up, though, when the New York Times’ blockbuster scoop about Donald Trump’s ’95 tax return includes the words “could have” in the headline.
Does Trump say stupid stuff? No doubt, not to mention way too often. But when media outlets are rushing out stories with “implies” and “appears to suggest” in the headlines, someone’s reaching.
After speaking to veterans Monday in Herndon, Va., social media lit up with tweets about Trump calling veterans with PTSD weak.
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) October 3, 2016
— POLITICO (@politico) October 3, 2016
Wasn’t it just two days ago that Politico ended up changing a headline to “better reflect” Hillary Clinton’s tone on a leaked bit of audio?
Politico kicked off its report on the Q&A session with vets saying that Trump “seemed to imply that military veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder are not strong because they ‘can’t handle’ the ‘horror stories’ they’ve seen in combat.” Trump certainly didn’t do himself any favors with veterans early on in the campaign with his off-the-cuff remark about John McCain’s capture, but come on:
Full quote on Trump's thoughts on veteran suicide. Doesn't seem as bad as snippets made it sound. pic.twitter.com/QbJAa6yla0
— Kyle Feldscher (@Kyle_Feldscher) October 3, 2016
The full quote doesn’t sound rehearsed and focused-grouped, that’s for sure, at least from reading the text. But what about Trump’s tone? Do the headlines about Trump implying vets with PTSD aren’t strong properly reflect his tone? The man who asked the question doesn’t think so, and he called it “sickening” that the response he received was being twisted to suit a political agenda.
Chad Robichaux, Marine staff sgt who asked Trump about PTSD: "I took his comments to be thoughtful and understanding of the struggles…" pic.twitter.com/wDvlRrh1MD
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 3, 2016
Marine who asked Trump about PTSD today defends the candidate's answer. Faux controversy? https://t.co/7aHmc7DNWo
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) October 3, 2016
Faux controversy? Of course not. It doesn’t matter what the veteran who asked the question thinks about the answer; what matters is how you feel about it, and journalists are going to make sure you feel the way you’re supposed to feel.
The award for most hypocritical response, though, has to go to the New York Daily News.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 3, 2016
Keep in mind this is the same paper that, after the terrorist massacre at a nightclub in Orlando, published a reporter’s account of his ordeal test-firing an AR-15 at a shooting range — and didn’t hesitate to run with his claim that firing the gun (which wasn’t even the rifle used in Orlando) was horrifying and gave him “temporary PTSD.”
But by all means, feel offended on behalf of veterans who’ve served multiple combat tours and didn’t know PTSD could be “temporary.”
@Kyle_Feldscher great. another week of CNN (et al) grinding this into the ground trying to make something out of nothing.
— Colorado71 (@LisaPadon) October 3, 2016
* * *
… and surprising no one, the Hillary Clinton campaign has piled on, managing to cut Trump’s response down to just seven words — more than enough to give some context and accurately reflect his tone and repurpose a campaign spot.
"A lot of people can’t handle it." —Trump on veterans with post-traumatic stress pic.twitter.com/f05ggyEnb7
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 4, 2016