Todd Gitlin calls out the media companies that made their deal with the Orange Devil:
The sheer idiocy of treating Donald Trump as if he were a normal political candidate who spoke in defensible sentences eventually became an embarrassment. What seems clear is that once Trump had nailed down the nomination, many honest and decent journalists in mainstream media sat themselves down for a needed soul-searching. For months they had dutifully trudged along applying to a huckster what the sociologist Gaye Tuchman once called the “strategic ritual” of objectivity, even as Trump had not cared a whit when caught out in falsehoods, delusions, and self-contradictions—and most alarmingly, his legions of followers did not seem to care either.
Someday, this journalistic turning point of late spring 2016 will repay extensive analysis. My first-draft judgment at the time was that the better quarters of journalism were jolted by journalistic remorse. We saw fine work from The Washington Post’s squadron of investigative reporters (said to number 25); by CNN’s Jake Tapper refusing to let Trump off the hook about the purportedly prejudicial “Mexicanness” of Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel; by a number of reporters at The New York Times, and the editors’ decision to run the word “lie” in a Trump headline (admittedly a news analysis, not a news piece, to use a Times distinction that means little or nothing to readers); the appearance of factual corrections in the crawls that ran at the bottom of the TV screen; the emergence, also at the Times, of locutions like “despite no evidence to support the claim.” There remained vast swathes of Trump background that never took off in the mainstream—for example, reporting on Trump’s history of friendly relations with organized crime, pioneered by Wayne Barrett and David Cay Johnston; but his tax dodges and misogyny did break through, especially when, in the latter case, there was a smoking video from Access Hollywood to attest to it.
By this time, of course, Trump had become the front man for the most vicious, racist, nativist, logic-starved, violence-inciting and otherwise deplorable and demagogic political campaign within memory.