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New Must-See Video From Media Matters: “Stop Calling Donald Trump ‘Controversial'”

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Media Matters has released a new must-see video tackling the failure of many in the media to call out Trump’s rhetoric for what it really is — blatant racism.

As Carlos Maza and Coleman Lowndes of Media Matters write:

News networks frequently use the word “controversial” to describe Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican comments, and it’s setting a dangerous precedent for the way the media talks about bigotry in American politics.

Trump’s candidacy has brought religious and racial bigotry to the forefront of Republican presidential politics. He’s repeatedly demonized Muslims and Mexicans on the campaign trail, scapegoating them as security threats to justify calling for mass deportations, government surveillance, and travel bans.

That has put news networks in the uncomfortable position of trying to remain “impartial” while covering Trump’s increasingly deplorable rhetoric. Instead of plainly labeling his campaign as “bigoted,” networks have used neutral-sounding terms like “controversial” to avoid making editorial judgments about Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican positions.

But calling Trump’s comments “controversial” is lazy and dangerous. It treats racial and religious intolerance as just a quirk of Republican politics. It normalizes that intolerance, turning it into an unremarkable and routine partisan disagreement. It lets Trump’s defenders spin his comments as just evidence of his “tough” stance on immigration or border security. And it makes it easier for Trump to reinvent himself as a serious “presidential” candidate as he prepares for the general election.

We’ve noted the recent shift in the media coverage surrounding the Trump campaign. As the Republican convention nears and the chances of a Trump nomination seem increasingly likely, pundits from both sides of the aisle have been quick to note the candidate’s softening “tone.”

But, particularly on the heels of recent Latino Decisions polling showing his unfavorables among Latino voters at a staggering 87%, Trump won’t be able to erase or take back his extremely hateful words, no matter how hard he tries — or how much some in the media will try to abet him in that effort.