What if the media had treated Barack Obama as Fox journalists treated Donald Trump?

We might have had a different president, and America would be far better off.

However one feels about the Republican Party, the multitude of candidates for president, and Donald Trump, last night’s debate was an example of how journalism should be practiced.

The Washington Post’s James Hohmann has a round-up of key points made last night – and they were blows against the Donald.  But they were blows based on his own words and history:

He started the debate on the defensive over his refusal to rule out an independent bid. Megyn Kelly, one of three moderators, then memorably pushed him on his history of misogynistic comments: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.’” Later, she wondered when he decided to become a Republican and asked about his flip-flops on abortion. The other moderators, Chris Wallace and Breit Baier, forced Trump to defend his past support for a single-payer health-care system, his contributions to Hillary Clinton and the bankruptcies of his companies. They also pressed him for evidence that the Mexican government is sending criminals over the border.

There is mixed evidence about how much of a toll these moments, which would be fatal for any normal candidate, will take on Trump’s image. But it seems very possible that last night was a tipping point in the Republican nominating contest. Frank Luntz’s post-debate focus group, which aired live on Fox, found many voters who supported Trump going into the two-hour event turning on him. Buzz on the cable network and across most conservative web sites broke decidedly negative, including from commentators who have been sympathetic.

Karl Rove, often reviled and not without reason, also had a column pointing out Trump’s history and how he has tried to whitewash it away (Which Donald Trump will debate?).  A few choice quotes form the column will give one some perspective:

Will the Trump who walks on stage Thursday night be the one who in 1999 told CNN’s Larry King that “I’m quite liberal and getting much more liberal on health care”? The one who wrote in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” that the U.S. should consider a single-payer health system like Canada’s government-run plan? That system “helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans,” this Trump wrote. “We need, as a nation, to re-examine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.” Or will debate viewers instead get the Donald Trump who earlier this year called ObamaCare a “filthy lie” and “total catastrophe”?

The Trump who shows up Thursday night could be the one who in 1999 told NBC’s “Meet the Press” during a conversation on abortion that “I’m very pro-choice.” Or it could be the Trump who told Bloomberg Politics in January that “I’m pro-life and I have been pro-life,” and who now says he’s willing to shut down the federal government to defund Planned Parenthood.

The Trump who in 2000 wrote, “I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun” might be there. Or it might be the Trump who told AmmoLand last month that “the Second Amendment is a bedrock natural right of the individual to defend self, family, and property.”

On Thursday night Trump the taxman could show up. “I would impose a one-time, 14.25 percent tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million,” he wrote in that 2000 book. But so might the antitax Trump. “I fight like hell to pay as little as possible for two reasons. Number one, I’m a businessman,” he said on Sunday. “The other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes. I hate the way they waste our money. Trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse.”

One Trump opposed the flat tax offered by Steve Forbes in 2000, writing in his book that “only the wealthy would reap a windfall.” The other Trump said on Fox News earlier this year that he favors “a fair tax, a flat tax or certainly a simplified code.”

The Trump who tweeted last Sunday that GOP presidential candidates who spoke at the Koch donor conference were “puppets” might attend the debate. But so might the Trump who was a registered Democrat for most of the 2000s, who donated thousands of dollars to Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, and who explained those gifts recently by saying, “I’ve contributed to everybody. They did whatever I said.” It would be worth knowing what this Trump told Sens. Reid, Clinton, Kennedy and Kerry to do.

These journalists were from Fox News, not from MSNBC or CNN.  They were not stenographers – as “journalists” from just about every other American media outlet have been for the past eight years when it comes to the coverage of Barack Obama.  The grotesque and slobbering favoritism showered on Obama was satirized on Saturday Night Live once, and a fine book was written by another good journalist, Bernard Goldberg – A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media – but, for the most part, criticism of Obama, let alone just reporting the facts, has been beyond the pale.

This morning, it appears that some of the shine has come off of Trump, who always struck me as a one of the biggest narcissists on Earth.  Of course, he can vie for this title with Barack Obama, but Obama all along wanted to transform America – and so he has, for the worse.  Trump just seems to want to be in the spotlight as often as he can be.  Why else does he star in TV shows; why else does he perform as a huckster at these nationwide motivational events; why else is he running for president when the man seems to have no fixed principles whatsoever except his own self-promotion?

But beyond these considerations, why wasn’t Barack Obama subjected to the exact same treatment as Trump?

We might have had a different president, and America would be far better off.

However one feels about the Republican Party, the multitude of candidates for president, and Donald Trump, last night’s debate was an example of how journalism should be practiced.

The Washington Post’s James Hohmann has a round-up of key points made last night – and they were blows against the Donald.  But they were blows based on his own words and history:

He started the debate on the defensive over his refusal to rule out an independent bid. Megyn Kelly, one of three moderators, then memorably pushed him on his history of misogynistic comments: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.’” Later, she wondered when he decided to become a Republican and asked about his flip-flops on abortion. The other moderators, Chris Wallace and Breit Baier, forced Trump to defend his past support for a single-payer health-care system, his contributions to Hillary Clinton and the bankruptcies of his companies. They also pressed him for evidence that the Mexican government is sending criminals over the border.

There is mixed evidence about how much of a toll these moments, which would be fatal for any normal candidate, will take on Trump’s image. But it seems very possible that last night was a tipping point in the Republican nominating contest. Frank Luntz’s post-debate focus group, which aired live on Fox, found many voters who supported Trump going into the two-hour event turning on him. Buzz on the cable network and across most conservative web sites broke decidedly negative, including from commentators who have been sympathetic.

Karl Rove, often reviled and not without reason, also had a column pointing out Trump’s history and how he has tried to whitewash it away (Which Donald Trump will debate?).  A few choice quotes form the column will give one some perspective:

Will the Trump who walks on stage Thursday night be the one who in 1999 told CNN’s Larry King that “I’m quite liberal and getting much more liberal on health care”? The one who wrote in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” that the U.S. should consider a single-payer health system like Canada’s government-run plan? That system “helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans,” this Trump wrote. “We need, as a nation, to re-examine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.” Or will debate viewers instead get the Donald Trump who earlier this year called ObamaCare a “filthy lie” and “total catastrophe”?

The Trump who shows up Thursday night could be the one who in 1999 told NBC’s “Meet the Press” during a conversation on abortion that “I’m very pro-choice.” Or it could be the Trump who told Bloomberg Politics in January that “I’m pro-life and I have been pro-life,” and who now says he’s willing to shut down the federal government to defund Planned Parenthood.

The Trump who in 2000 wrote, “I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun” might be there. Or it might be the Trump who told AmmoLand last month that “the Second Amendment is a bedrock natural right of the individual to defend self, family, and property.”

On Thursday night Trump the taxman could show up. “I would impose a one-time, 14.25 percent tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million,” he wrote in that 2000 book. But so might the antitax Trump. “I fight like hell to pay as little as possible for two reasons. Number one, I’m a businessman,” he said on Sunday. “The other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes. I hate the way they waste our money. Trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse.”

One Trump opposed the flat tax offered by Steve Forbes in 2000, writing in his book that “only the wealthy would reap a windfall.” The other Trump said on Fox News earlier this year that he favors “a fair tax, a flat tax or certainly a simplified code.”

The Trump who tweeted last Sunday that GOP presidential candidates who spoke at the Koch donor conference were “puppets” might attend the debate. But so might the Trump who was a registered Democrat for most of the 2000s, who donated thousands of dollars to Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, and who explained those gifts recently by saying, “I’ve contributed to everybody. They did whatever I said.” It would be worth knowing what this Trump told Sens. Reid, Clinton, Kennedy and Kerry to do.

These journalists were from Fox News, not from MSNBC or CNN.  They were not stenographers – as “journalists” from just about every other American media outlet have been for the past eight years when it comes to the coverage of Barack Obama.  The grotesque and slobbering favoritism showered on Obama was satirized on Saturday Night Live once, and a fine book was written by another good journalist, Bernard Goldberg – A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media – but, for the most part, criticism of Obama, let alone just reporting the facts, has been beyond the pale.

This morning, it appears that some of the shine has come off of Trump, who always struck me as a one of the biggest narcissists on Earth.  Of course, he can vie for this title with Barack Obama, but Obama all along wanted to transform America – and so he has, for the worse.  Trump just seems to want to be in the spotlight as often as he can be.  Why else does he star in TV shows; why else does he perform as a huckster at these nationwide motivational events; why else is he running for president when the man seems to have no fixed principles whatsoever except his own self-promotion?

But beyond these considerations, why wasn’t Barack Obama subjected to the exact same treatment as Trump?