Huffington Post Doesn’t Get It: Politics IS Entertainment

The Huffington Post has moved reports on Trump to the Entertainment page. But they are all Entertainment!

By now you have probably seen the announcement of the Huffington Post about Donald Trump:

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.

It is pretty obvious that this mockery is an attempt to demonstrate that the editors of the Huffington Post can be just as childish as Donald Trump but get away with it.

So when Anthony Weiner is caught showing his private parts to others via social media, the Huffington Post is happy to continue to report on him in their political section. Even when all he does is open a restaurant in New York City, it is reported as politics.

We don’t yet have anything like a public indecency scandal on Trump yet. How is his saying things the Huffington Post editors find ridiculous even as remotely de-legitimizing as what Anthony Weiner did?

The fact that the Huffington Post did this is not surprising. We all know they are so prone to juvenile grandstanding that their main problem with Trump was that they were jealous that his juvenile grandstanding was getting so much attention. In fact, their announcement looks like a transparent attempt to try to get some of his magic.

The larger point, though, is that the Kardashians are just as likely to be made into political stories as politicians are likely to be entertaining “sideshows.” How can Trump be any more ridiculous as a political or social commenter than “Caitlyn Jenner”?

As Dylan Byers wrote at Politico,

A quick fact-check: 1. Huffington Post is taking the bait, because they’re continuing to cover Trump and will continue to benefit from the clicks. 2. Trump’s campaign isn’t a sideshow. He’s leading the field, and is therefore a daily preoccupation for other candidates. (Hours after posting its note, Huffington Post sent an email clarifying that “the impact [Trump is] having on the Republican Party and the immigration debate is itself a real thing,” which it will cover “as substance, but anything that tumbles out of his mouth will land on the Entertainment page.”)

One might conclude that Huffington Post’s announcement amounts to the same Trump-style grandstanding they claim to condemn. On a larger level, they seem to miss the point that all politics is theater. Countless statements have tumbled forth from the mouth of candidates – top-tier and third-tier – that were made precisely to rile up the base, bait an opponent, get free play in the media, etc. The Huffington Post politics team has covered these stories, and will almost surely continue to do so – even when they come from candidates who have a less of a shot at their party’s nomination than Trump.

Exactly.

However, I’m not writing about this story because of the Huffington Post. I’m posting about this because, while listening to NPR (enemy recon), I heard them ask David Frum about the their announcement. Rather than point out their hypocrisy or the arbitrariness of the decision, Frum chortled about it. The Establishment Republicans hate Trump for all the wrong reasons. That explains why he getting such a big response from the Conservative base.