The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at The Wall Street Journal written by the editor, James Taranto.
Hey, Kids! What Time Is It?
“PSA: It’s Time to Stop Redesigning Superhero Costumes for Every Movie Already”—headline, Hollywood Reporter, Sept. 14
And They All Lived Factually Ever After
“One of the mental traps that we all fall into, journalists included, is to perceive politics through narratives,” writes the New York Times’s Nicholas Kristof at the beginning of today’s column. He’s right, of course, especially about journalists. When you hear one say he’s “working on a story,” you know he’s fallen into a mental trap.
Anyway, Kristof has a story to tell, and it’s one for the campfire. Donald Trump is a bad “clown,” a “crackpot” and an “abnormal candidate”:
We [journalists] should be guard dogs, not lap dogs, and when the public sees Trump as more honest than [Hillary] Clinton, something has gone wrong.
For my part, I’ve never met a national politician as ill informed, as deceptive, as evasive and as vacuous as Trump. He’s not normal. And somehow that is what our barks need to convey.
Well, we’re happy to do our part: Arf! Arf! Arf!
But we wonder if Kristof’s problem is just that he isn’t very good at telling a story. Consider this bit from his column:
The latest dust-up has been health care. Neither candidate has been very open about health, but Clinton has produced much more detailed medical records than Trump, and an actuarial firm told The Washington Post Fact Checker that Clinton has a 5.9 percent chance of dying by the end of a second term in office, while Trump would have a 8.4 percent chance.
Which is more compelling, “An actuarial firm told [blah blah blah],” or, “Then the princess fell down, leaving her shoe behind on the street”?
Also, aren’t those silly statistics an example of the sort of thing fact checkers are supposed to check?
For more “Best of the Web” from The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto click here.