When Newspaper Editorials Belabor the Obvious, is the End Near?


In its lead editorial on Tuesday, Donald Trump Embraces Another Despot, the New York Times was unsparing in its criticism of Trump’s invitation to Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, to visit the White House. The Times’ editorial was dead on. There was not a word with which I disagreed. The editorial was well written. In sum, the editorial said what needed to be said, and said it well.

It also was deeply disturbing that the Times ran it.


Because the call was too easy. Consider this passage:

After his election last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively giving free license to the police and vigilantes. He has boasted about his tenure in Davao, and admitted to personally killing three kidnappers without trial. The mayhem got so bad that last week a Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of nearly 10,000 people over the past three decades.

Should Americans need the Times to explain to them why Trump’s invitation to Duterte was dead wrong?

Yet many do. 

Indeed, many will disagree with the Times.

Newspaper editorials are supposed to be reserved for the tougher calls, where readers need help sorting out the pros and cons surrounding issues that are difficult to resolve.

But not in America. Here, the nation’s leading newspaper is forced to use its editorial space to educate a society of morons on why our President should not be inviting a murdering thug to the White House.

Which validates what Chris Hedges said in his Monday column at Truthdig, Reign of Idiots:

Donald Trump is the face of our collective idiocy. He is what lies behind the mask of our professed civility and rationality—a sputtering, narcissistic, bloodthirsty megalomaniac. He wields armies and fleets against the wretched of the earth, blithely ignores the catastrophic human misery caused by global warming, pillages on behalf of global oligarchs and at night sits slack-jawed in front of a television set before opening his “beautiful” Twitter account. He is our version of the Roman emperor Nero, who allocated vast state expenditures to attain magical powers, the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, who funded repeated expeditions to a mythical island of immortals to bring back the potion that would give him eternal life, and a decayed Russian royalty that sat around reading tarot cards and attending séances as their nation was decimated by war and revolution brewed in the streets.

Yes, Trump is the face of our collective idiocy.

Readers here and elsewhere look forward to Trump’s replacement. But at this point, can America summon the collective IQ to recognize who should lead and who should be rejected?


  1. One TV commentator pointed out that Trump has properties in the Philippines and in Turkey. His strange support of their leaders is based on protection of his profits in those countries more than anything on else. As sad as this is, it at least provides some sort of logic, however twisted, for his otherwise erratic behavior.

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