Get in line, National Journal. Take a number.
For the past few weeks, reporters and TV hosts on both sides of the political spectrum have been making wild attempts to ignore GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Except as soon as they badmouth him, shove him into their entertainment section with Kim Kardashian and her big butt, or declare, as the hosts did on Glenn Beck‘s radio program, that they are no longer going to utter his name, his poll numbers go up.
And up and up and up.
Even NBC “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, dubbed “Sleepy Eyes” by Trump, is covering The Donald with a level of earnestness that he previously refused.
On Monday National Journal published a story about writing a story about taking Trump seriously. The story centers on the writer’s campaign trip to Laredo, Texas to witness the candidate speak at the border. The whole process of his story is exhausting. Which is maybe why when the reporter, Andy Kroll, got “gentle-voiced” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks on the phone to check about his request for an interview he was never going to get, she immediately announced that she’d just woken up from a midday nap.
National Journal‘s heinous graphic of Trump that accompanies his piece must be addressed. He looks like a monster version of Liberace. (See a snippit of it above.)
The most telling detail in the story involves Trump’s infamous counsel Michael Cohen, who had received a list of questions from Kroll that he didn’t find particularly worthy.
“‘These are really kinda silly questions,'” he told me. ‘Where’s Melania gonna put her wardrobe? Who really cares?’ Never mind that I hadn’t asked anything about Trump’s wife or her clothes.”
The response shows a level of disorganization everyone thinks is entirely possible.
But let’s be serious. If a National Journal reporter truly believes that the best course of action in covering the 2016 presidential race is to pretend GOP frontrunner doesn’t exist because you simply don’t want him to exist, then why write a 4,111-word essay about being assigned to write a big story about Trump?
Why contribute to the so-called madness?
“I think it’s fine to insert yourself into the story – I do it often, as anyone who reads my stuff can attest – but if you, or your editor, sincerely believe that there is anything valuable to a reader in telling the story of being in a newsroom and getting an assignment and then struggling to complete said assignment, you’re absolutely fucking crazy,” The Daily Beast‘s Olivia Nuzzi snapped on Facebook with a link to Kroll’s piece.
Kroll seemed enamored with a few Brits from “major” UK publications whom he met in the airport in Laredo, Texas.
After Trump’s presser, the reporter confided in them about how emotionally terrible he felt about being there.
“‘I FEEL DIRTY,’ I told the Brits as we headed back to the nonprivate part of the Laredo airport. Used. Chewed up. I couldn’t help thinking about how my tweets and photos—my mere presence in Laredo—had helped to feed the insatiable hunger for attention and controversy that keeps Trump in the news. Or how, in return, he’d given me—us—absolutely nothing beyond a few hours of cable-news-style entertainment.”
Kroll is adamant that he will never again write Trump’s name in a story, which is pretty presumptuous considering Trump isn’t going away anytime soon.
“The media could quit him. The media should quit him. And that—I feel incredibly fortunate to say these words—is the last I’ll write on the subject.”
National Journal can ride off into the sunset by its lonesome. The media, apparently now on Brokeback Mountain, won’t quit him.