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Our Trump reporting upsets some readers, but there aren't two sides to facts: Letter from the Editor - cleveland.com

  
Via:  John Russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  41 comments

By:   cleveland

Our Trump reporting upsets some readers, but there aren't two sides to facts: Letter from the Editor - cleveland.com
The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren't two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don't get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it. As for those who equate Trump and Joe Biden, that's false equivalency. Biden has done nothing remotely close to the egregious, anti-American acts of Trump.

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Some readers complain that we have different standards involving Donald Trump and Joe Biden. (AP Photo, File)AP

By

  • Chris Quinn, Editor, cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer

A more-than-occasional arrival in the email these days is a question expressed two ways, one with dripping condescension and the other with courtesy:

Why don't our opinion platforms treat Donald Trump and other politicians exactly the same way. Some phrase it differently, asking why we demean the former president's supporters in describing his behavior as monstrous, insurrectionist and authoritarian.

I feel for those who write. They believe in Trump and want their local news source to recognize what they see in him.

The angry writers denounce me for ignoring what they call the Biden family crime syndicate and criminality far beyond that of Trump. They quote news sources of no credibility as proof the mainstream media ignores evidence that Biden, not Trump, is the criminal dictator.

The courteous writers don't go down that road. They politely ask how we can discount the passions and beliefs of the many people who believe in Trump.

This is a tough column to write, because I don't want to demean or insult those who write me in good faith. I've started it a half dozen times since November but turned to other topics each time because this needle hard to thread. No matter how I present it, I'll offend some thoughtful, decent people.

The north star here is truth. We tell the truth, even when it offends some of the people who pay us for information.

The truth is that Donald Trump undermined faith in our elections in his false bid to retain the presidency. He sparked an insurrection intended to overthrow our government and keep himself in power. No president in our history has done worse.

This is not subjective. We all saw it. Plenty of leaders today try to convince the masses we did not see what we saw, but our eyes don't deceive. (If leaders began a yearslong campaign today to convince us that the Baltimore bridge did not collapse Tuesday morning, would you ever believe them?) Trust your eyes. Trump on Jan. 6 launched the most serious threat to our system of government since the Civil War. You know that. You saw it.

The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren't two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don't get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

As for those who equate Trump and Joe Biden, that's false equivalency. Biden has done nothing remotely close to the egregious, anti-American acts of Trump. We can debate the success and mindset of our current president, as we have about most presidents in our lifetimes, but Biden was never a threat to our democracy. Trump is. He is unique among all American presidents for his efforts to keep power at any cost.

Personally, I find it hard to understand how Americans who take pride in our system of government support Trump. All those soldiers who died in World War II were fighting against the kind of regime Trump wants to create on our soil. How do they not see it?

The March 25 edition of the New Yorker magazine offers some insight. It includes a detailed review of a new book about Adolf Hitler, focused on the year 1932. It's called "Takeover: Hitler's Final Rise to Power" and is by historian Timothy W. Ryback. It explains how German leaders - including some in the media -- thought they could use Hitler as a means to get power for themselves and were willing to look past his obvious deficiencies to get where they wanted. In tolerating and using Hitler as a means to an end, they helped create the monstrous dictator responsible for millions of deaths.

How are those German leaders different from people in Congress saying the election was stolen or that Jan. 6 was not an insurrection aimed at destroying our government? They know the truth, but they deny it. They see Trump as a means to an end - power for themselves and their "team" - even if it means repeatedly telling lies.

Sadly, many believe the lies. They trust people in authority, without questioning the obvious discrepancies or relying on their own eyes. These are the people who take offense to the truths we tell about Trump. No one in our newsroom gets up in the morning wanting to make a segment of readers feel bad. No one seeks to demean anyone. We understand what a privilege it is to be welcomed into the lives of the millions of people who visit our platforms each month for news, sports and entertainment. But our duty is to the truth.

Our nation does seem to be slipping down the same slide that Germany did in the 1930s. Maybe the collapse of government in the hands of a madman is inevitable, given how the media landscape has been corrupted by partisans, as it was in 1930s Germany.

I hope not.

In our newsroom, we'll do our part. Much as it offends some who read us, we will continue to tell the truth about Trump.

I'm at cquinn@cleveland.com

Thanks for reading.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Hopefully this sort of editorial will become commonplace as the year goes on. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2  Ronin2    2 weeks ago

Another butt hurt editorialist that can't see reality through the Democrat propaganda machine he is a part of.

Truth and facts don't matter in leftist land.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @2    2 weeks ago
Sadly, many believe the lies. They trust people in authority, without questioning the obvious discrepancies or relying on their own eyes. These are the people who take offense to the truths we tell about Trump. 
 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
2.2  Right Down the Center  replied to  Ronin2 @2    2 weeks ago

They seem to play fast and loose with the terms "truth" and "fact".  I guess that makes sense since they have been changing the meaning of words for a while now.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
3  Right Down the Center    2 weeks ago

"There aren't two sides to facts."

In general I agree with the statement.  The issue is not what happened but the interpretation and spin as to what happened.  How many times does MSNBC and Fox report on the same event but if you read the spins by them you would think they were not talking about the same event?

Their truth and facts are not necessarily The truth or facts.  That is up to the individual to decide.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @3    2 weeks ago
The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren't two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don't get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.
 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
3.1.1  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    2 weeks ago
The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren't two sides to facts.

Not true.  That is an opinion that is not shared with millions of people.  They are not a "news" organization if they don't recognize that.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
3.1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Right Down the Center @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

This is what some get when looking through the colored lenses of extreme leftist liberal partisanship.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3.1.2    2 weeks ago

Please tell us what is Donald Trump's side of the story about the charges he is facing related to his attempts to steal the election. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.4  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.3    2 weeks ago

It is feeble, but what I can surmise is this:

  • My client was performing the functions of his office to help ensure the election was fair as he saw fit.
  • There is no timing requirements for when the president needs to act in response to a peaceful rally getting out of hand.
  • Free speech.
  • Presidential immunity.

And of course, please just find my client not guilty ... otherwise he will never pay our legal fees.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
3.1.5  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.3    2 weeks ago

When Trump gets arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced in a proper court of law with a fair and impartial jury then we can talk about it. Until then, no matter what I say, you will just continue to deny and deflect like you have continued to routinely do in the past.

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Silent
3.1.6  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3.1.5    2 weeks ago

Curious Ed, did you happen to watch any of the January 6th hearings ?

Does it not concern you HOW the election was somehow Stolen, yet Bill Barr, the acting AG, couldnt see and or, find any...What was it, 64 out of 65 court cases brought forth , and team Trump lost all but one. i believe

If Voting machines were actually some how able to change Trump Votes to Bidens, Y not go a little further and win the House and spank em in the senate? Why did so many at first  Biden cheated cheerliters believe the election was stolen, then when testifying , they  would claim they didn't really believe in the 'steal', when there was possible jail time if found to be lying during testimony...?  

'FOX'  "news", was forced to pay what, $750,000,000.00 MILLION, and they don't seem to be pushing a                    Biden is not the potus campaign nearly as much. 

Could go on and on, but seems like a waste of time, cause to follow both sides of that narrative, we need to BOTH  all be exposed to the facts, not one side saying Trump told me he won, and i need not anothers' opinion.  .

There is quite a quantity of overwhelming evidence making a very compelling case that seems to scream TrumP; is a LIAR.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.7  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3.1.5    2 weeks ago

[deleted][]

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.8  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.4    2 weeks ago
 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.9  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.8    2 weeks ago

How sad, such an honest, respectable attorney mistreated so badly.

Never has an attorney been treated so badly.   

384

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
4  Right Down the Center    2 weeks ago

"Personally, I find it hard to understand how Americans who take pride in our system of government support Trump. "

Any good reporter may actually do some investigating.

"In our newsroom, we'll do our part. Much as it offends some who read us, we will continue to tell the truth about Trump."

If you admit to being a propagandist then you last thing you should call yourself is a newsroom.

 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
5  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

Did Cleveland.com attack and deplatform democrats for spending 20 years  undermining faith in our elections?  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @5    2 weeks ago
People who say the earth is flat don't get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.1.1  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    2 weeks ago
People who say the earth is flat don't get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

Nothing like a "news " organization throwing in a little hyperbole to try and make a point.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2  Right Down the Center  replied to  Sean Treacy @5    2 weeks ago

You have to give them credit.  Unlike other platforms (like MSNBC) they admit they are just a tool of Biden and the dems.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2    2 weeks ago
The truth is that Donald Trump undermined faith in our elections in his false bid to retain the presidency. He sparked an insurrection intended to overthrow our government and keep himself in power. No president in our history has done worse.
 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.2  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    2 weeks ago

Yea, I read it the first time, although the red is a nice touch.  Just because someone starts a sentence with "The truth is" does not automatically mean it is THE truth. It means it is his interpretation of events.  Not good for a "journalist", or is he just an opinion contributor?

Let me know when he is sentenced for sparking an insurrection.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.2.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.2    2 weeks ago
People who say the earth is flat don't get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

Why would he say that ?  Defenses of Trump are the political equivalent of "the earth is flat".  There are no two sides to this particular story. 

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.4  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.3    2 weeks ago
Defenses of Trump are the political equivalent of "the earth is flat". 

No, it really isn't.

There are no two sides to this particular story. 

Of course their are.  It is just his opinion (one which you seem to share)that there is only one side to this.

 
 
 
fineline
Freshman Silent
5.2.5  fineline  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.4    2 weeks ago

I'm sure you have alternate facts, not unlike Kelly-Anne Conway . That was a bullshit statement, fact is fact ! There is only ONE side to this, Trump is a traitor and your support [deleted][]

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.6  Right Down the Center  replied to  fineline @5.2.5    2 weeks ago

That is the kind of twisted logic that makes it difficult to take some folks seriously.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.2.7  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.6    2 weeks ago

no sane person cares whether or not MAGA takes them "seriously". 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.2.8  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.7    2 weeks ago

Exactly.

 
 
 
fineline
Freshman Silent
5.2.9  fineline  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.6    2 weeks ago

You should take what I say seriously, I mean it. Trump is a full-blown Traitor, audio and video do not lie. There are no alternate facts concerning the Jan. 6 insurrection, its stands on its own. 

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.10  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.7    2 weeks ago

There are some people that seem to live to be taken seriously.  Not so sure they are sane.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.11  Right Down the Center  replied to  fineline @5.2.9    2 weeks ago
You should take what I say seriously, I mean it.

Thanks for your advice.  I will give it all the careful consideration it deserves.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
5.2.12  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.6    2 weeks ago

See post #3.1.2.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.2.13  TᵢG  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.2    2 weeks ago
Let me know when he is sentenced for sparking an insurrection.

Since you need legal action before you can even opine on whether Trump sparked the insurrection, is it your opinion that Trump has done no wrong?   Or is it that you still "do not know" or "have not decided" if Trump has done anything wrong?

For example, was it wrong for Trump to declare (with the credibility and authority of the office he was still holding) that the election was rigged, that Biden is an illegitimate PotUS, that the voters were disenfranchised, and in result damage the trust the American people have in the US electoral system (damage persists even now over three years later)?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
5.2.14  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  fineline @5.2.9    2 weeks ago

You seem to take your opinion waaaaay too seriously. 

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Silent
5.2.15  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.2    2 weeks ago
Just because someone starts a sentence with "The truth is" does not automatically mean it is THE truth. It means it is his interpretation of events

 Just because someone starts a sentence with "The truth is" does not automatically mean it is THE truth. It means it is his interpretation of events'

especially if that individual is Donald Trump

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.16  Right Down the Center  replied to  Igknorantzruls @5.2.15    2 weeks ago
especially if that individual is Donald Trump

Donald  shouldn't be held to different standards.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
5.2.17  JBB  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.16    2 weeks ago

Then what, if any, standards should Trump and be held to?

The same as Bernie Madoff and Sam Bankman Fried were?

Or, the standards Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were held to?

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.18  Right Down the Center  replied to  JBB @5.2.17    2 weeks ago
Then what, if any, standards should Trump and be held to?

The same as any other American

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
5.2.19  JBB  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2.18    2 weeks ago

Every American, including even Trump, has the Constitutional right to be found Guilty by a jury of his peers...

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.20  Right Down the Center  replied to  TᵢG @5.2.13    2 weeks ago
Or is it that you still "do not know" or "have not decided" if Trump has done anything wrong?

Interesting use of quotes.  Thanks for your comment.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.21  Right Down the Center  replied to  JBB @5.2.19    2 weeks ago

Yes, They Do!

 
 

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