AP Demonstrates the Perils of Being “Balanced” in the Era of Trump

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Earlier this week the AP wrote a story delivering the astonishing news that Hillary Clinton once met with a Nobel-Prize-winning microcredit guru that she had been friends with for 30 years. This was part of a piece claiming that 85 of 154 people she met with as Secretary of State had also contributed to the Clinton Foundation. That’s more than half of her meetings—except that this number doesn’t count anyone in a government position, which accounts for the vast, vast majority of her meetings. They left that part out in the promotion of the piece, leading people to believe that literally half of all her meetings over four years as Secretary of State had been with Foundation donors. Then, just to add insult to injury, they refused to release the list of people she had met with, which almost certainly would have driven a stake through the entire article.

Today they followed up with this:

It’s a conspiracy: The 2016 campaign features one candidate who warned against the “vast right-wing conspiracy” and another who was a leader of the so-called “birther” movement.

Donald Trump and his surrogates hint at a mysterious “illness” afflicting rival Hillary Clinton. Pushing back, Clinton warns of murky ties between Trump and the Russian government, insinuating that her Republican opponent may be a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin…[and] she is preparing a Reno, Nevada, address on Thursday that will accuse Trump of supporting an “alt-right” campaign that presents “a divisive and dystopian view of America.”

….She described Trump Wednesday night on CNN as a candidate who is campaigning on anger and hatred. “Donald Trump has shown us who he is and we ought to believe him,” she said. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He has brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country.”

So let’s get this straight. Trump’s conspiracy theories are (a) Obama was born in Kenya and (b) Hillary Clinton has serious health problems. Both are demonstrably untrue.

Clinton’s conspiracy theories are (a) Trump has a surprising number of Russia-friendly policies and (b) Trump appeals to angry white nationalists and uses extreme language. Both are demonstrably true.

Ladies and gentlemen, your objective and balanced press corps at work.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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