To: Peter, Glenn, Maggie, newsroom
Subject: ‘Trump Troubles’
Just back from the first weekend of our four-year retreat, and after talking to advertising, circ and editorial, it’s pretty clear we have a problem—or, to use our term, a ‘trouble.’
By PETER BAKER, GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMAN
To the extent that there was a plan to take advantage of the first days of his administration, when a president is usually at his maximum leverage, President Trump threw it aside.
The trouble, of course, is Trump. I saw the video of Spicer’s short rant (aka, ‘briefing‘) sitting next to Adolph, Lou Fischer and Ike Deutscher. It was looped. We watched it until Lou started lip-synching the words. I got up, went to the door and turned to see Ochs soiling his pants. “What the hell was that?!” He was furious.
“That,” I said, “is our trouble.” So take notes, Peter, Glenn, Maggie. I’ve seen this before.
When a political class collapses, which is the usual consequence of one of these populist uprisings, every part of the political class collapses with it. That means, especially, the press. Imagine being the first journalist to arrive in Moscow the first week of October 1917, trying to understand the ‘trouble’ by reading the coverage in the Tsar’s favorite newspaper, Moskovskiye Vedomosti. According to Gallup and Pew, most people no longer trust us (if you want to know how low we have sunk, I saw a poll that said people were twice as likely to trust their church as trust their newspaper!). We are on the wrong side of this historical moment, and it’s going to last longer than Trump’s weekend.
Remember when we tried to convince New Yorkers to vote for Welprin to replace Weiner? We got Turner, the Republican, instead. If we couldn’t influence the voters of Manhattan’s 9th district when we needed to, what chance do we have with the voters of Wisconsin or Arizona?