What the hell, another comment on the oddness of the current press moment.
Here are Shields and Brooks, interviewed as they are regularly by Judy Woodruff on PBS. Though staking out left field and right field respectively, the two are gentlemanly to a fault, agree with each other a lot in a charming Alphonse and Gaston sort of way, and are particularly united in their distaste of Trump and Trumpism. Mostly that has involved joint harrumphing and eye rolling, all jovial enough since they have seemed to assume, in the manner of Remainers, that our own version of Leave cannot win. But recent circumstances have resulted in the possibility of a reversal of fortune. How will the mainstream press deal with the need to cover a possible new reality in the polls, and in Trump’s prospects?
S&B provide one answer in the video. They start out cheery enough but by around minute six the clouds darken. They are compelled to provide commentary on vexing issues like Comey’s non-indictment indictment of Clinton, the impact of the Nice attack, the practical selection of Pence as VP, and recent movements in the polls. They are more or less forced to acknowledge that Trump is the beneficiary of events, and is doing . . . . well, well.
Woodruff, hoping to help out with a return to the accepted narrative, chimes in at one point to remind Shields that while the Nice truck driver was Tunisian there has been no evidence presented of a suspect Islamic motivation. But to this Shields remarks ruefully (and accurately) that, look, Trump’s message is one of nationalism and it does not make much difference if the guy was pissed off on account of a bad divorce or whether he was bound for glory. Good for Shields that he is many cuts above the usual TV spinners, and that he, like Pat Buchanan from time to time, is willing to make observations that can be inconvenient from a purely partisan perspective.
Still and all, it can’t be easy. Much simpler to be bought and paid for. And so you can see the effects of the events of the week wearing on the two as they attempt a recap that is not corrupt. The tone of the second half of the interview is . . . what is the word? . . . . elegiac? You get the feeling that all three of them, Woodruff included, sense something is slipping away.