Ever since it became clear that Hillary Clinton was the front-runner, and eventually the nominee of the Democratic Party for this year’s presidential election, we’ve been treated to a steady diet of her shortcomings, thankfully, only a few Whitewater references, but a never ending string of articles and editorials about her emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation. What I look for every day, but have yet to see; is the same degree of media scrutiny of her opponent’s checkered past. Except for the occasional article, the mainstream media seems uninterested in examining the skeletons in Donald Trump’s closets—at least not to the same degree they do Clinton.
He’s just a crude, ego-driven trust fund kid, you say, with no regard for the finer social graces, you say? With Clinton, the things in her background go to the issue of trustworthiness. Aw, come on, I reply. Let’s look at some of the bones buried deep in the Trump closet, and you tell me they don’t have anything to do with whether or not he can be trusted.
First, there are his business interests. If the Clinton Foundation is a conflict of interest problem, how can Trump’s far flung business interests, some of them with faint connections to organized crime, not be a potential conflict of interest? If taking money from donors to a charitable foundation exposes you to possible manipulation, what does profiting from the actions and influence of mob do?
From his connection with Roy Cohn, the lawyer who worked with Senator Joe McCarthy during his Red Scare witch hunt, and who himself had reputed associations with organized crime figures to reported mob involvement in the construction of his Atlantic City casino, Trump has long been on the periphery of activities that the mob had a hand in. Trump was even a character witness for Cohn during hearings that led to his disbarment in 1986, shortly before he died. Except for a September 2, 2016 article in The Wall Street Journal, I’ve seen no mainstream media coverage of this.
While the media covered Trump’s meeting with African Americans in Detroit on September 3, there hasn’t been the constant drumbeat of coverage of the actions of him and his father, Fred Trump, to deny rentals to blacks in their New York properties.in the 1970s, or the Justice Department discrimination lawsuit, which was settled out of court. The amount of settlement is unknown as the deal was sealed. Still, there should be enough publicly available information to make this an interesting story, especially with his recent efforts to ‘reach out’ to the black community.
There was, for a time, a lot of coverage of the lawsuit against Trump in regards to Trump University, an organization which many former students claim bilked them out of their cash and offered nothing in return. Most of this coverage, though, was generated by Trump himself, when he went after the judge on the case, claiming that he couldn’t be objective because he’s ethnically Mexican-American. That got front-page coverage for a few days, and then disappeared except for the occasional reference buried deep in other articles.
I’m not saying that the media shouldn’t cover Clinton’s problems. If they can find facts to support their claims—and, not just cherry-picked information that supports a preconceived belief—more power to them. I am saying that the equal time rule should apply here. The lack of coverage (or maybe a more accurate thing to say is, the paucity of coverage) of Donald Trump’s skeletons could lead the unaware to think that he was somehow less untrustworthy than his opponent; that his skirts are ‘cleaner.’ You have to dig to find that this is not the case.
If journalistic integrity means anything, both candidates should be covered with a certain amount of equity. Don’t throw mud in just one direction. If the only thing that matters is readership, then Trump’s history will guarantee that too. Or, is his history of suing anyone who offends him with what they write scaring them off?