I can’t add much to what Anne said. There are a lot of isolated facts floating around about Trump’s Russia connections and what the Russians may have done in the election, and a lot of speculation on how those facts fit together. My own sense is that there are SO MANY Russian connections that it’s likely that the Russians had more than one route into Trump and his people.
There are still many possible narratives. We need more information to be able to verify one or more.
It’s not clear that Robert Mueller’s investigation has a narrative, either. They appear to be going for the low-hanging fruit, meaning the obvious connections. By investigating those, they find other leads, and so on. That’s a divergent process, producing more leads than can easily be followed. So judgments must be made on what to follow up.
I made the judgment some time ago that I’m not going to try to collect all the details connecting Trump to Russia. It would be a full-time job. Even following up one thread is a full-time job. The folks at BuzzFeed are doing a good job on some of those threads, as are some Washington Post reporters.
I know there is an overwhelming feeling here that the New York Times, and Maggie Haberman in particular, is doing a terrible job covering Donald Trump. I can’t disagree with that, but I think there are mitigating factors for which I have some sympathy.
He isn’t good at anything a president has to do.From the simplest, like pretending to help out in flood relief, to the hardest: making the call when all alternatives are bad. (We’re told he can be charming one-on-one. So maybe that’s his one skill.)
He doesn’t know anything about the issues with which he must cope. Nor does this seem to bother him.
He doesn’t care to learn.It’s not like he’s getting better at the job, or scrambling to fill gaps in his knowledge.
He has no views about public policy.Just a few brute prejudices, like if Obama did it, it was dumb. I do not say he lacks beliefs — and white supremacy may be one — but he has no positions. His political sky is blank. No stars to steer by.
Nothing he says can be trusted.
His “model” of leadership is the humiliation of others— and threat of same. No analyst unfamiliar with narcissistic personality types can hope to make sense of his actions in office.
Rosen goes on to argue that this is so far from anyone’s expectation of the President of the United States that reporters must change their reporting model.
I must admit to a small bit of sympathy. Other world leaders, including Kim Jong Un, follow a much more normal model. So in analyzing world events, one must apply the usual standards to others while looking at Trump through a different lens. The problem is that if you take Rosen’s six points seriously (and I do), nothing can be analyzed, nothing can predicted. All commentary on Trump then descends to one or more of those six points, repeated over and over again.
This is why we all feel very tired at times. I was beat Friday night, could barely think about anything. It is the same craziness, meanness, impulsivity, lies, and corruption, repeated. It is profoundly discouraging to have to admit this about the President of the United States. That, plus whatever guilt they may feel about having helped to elect him, is bound to scramble reporters’ minds.
I’m not sure what’s a good model for covering Trump. Probably long breaks to recover one’s sanity would help, and more interaction with real people, as on Twitter, which Times reporters avoid.