WaPo editor makes benefit for Capital Gazette shooting victims all about Trump
Did he have to do that?
Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron made a benefit concert for the victims of the terrible Capital Gazette shooting attack another opportunity to blast Trump.
Which was rather inappropriate, given that it was an event that should have celebrated the lives of the people who died, some heroically, with politics just kept out of it.
According to the Associated Press:
The five Capital Gazette employees killed in an attack in their newsroom last month were “friends of the people,” and “not one of them deserved to be seen as an enemy,” the executive editor of The Washington Post said Saturday at a benefit concert for the victims’ families and colleagues.
While Martin Baron didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name while speaking to an audience from the concert stage, he clearly had the president in mind. Trump has repeatedly denounced the press as the “enemy” of the American people.
See, what's going on now is a sniping back and forth between A.G. Sulzberger of the New York Times and President Trump, who's often tweeted that the press is the 'enemy of the people.' While I don't like that phrase, given that it was the sort of thing Lenin or Mao would say, and given its presumption that leftists who love the media's output aren't part of 'the people,' too, it's the sort of thing the Times and Trump can fight about among themselves. The 'mainstream media,' however, continues to take Trump literally but not seriously, as Salena Zito put it, so of course they're having a cow about it. Now this editor, kind of ineptly, decides to declare these dead newsroom employees "friends of the people" in a veiled rebuke to Trump.
Which is a problem in itself because if the Trump characterization has awful historic reverberations, the Baron one has historic reverberations just as bad.
"L'ami du peuple" is the icky, icky, creepy, hideous phrase used by one of the French Revolution's bloodiest characters, Jean-Paul Marat, that guy who got stabbed in his bathtub in the famous Jacques-Louis David painting (admittedly a masterpiece) for ... putting so many other people to death. Marat was a journalist as you can imagine, ran a paper called 'L'ami du peuple' and before he got into the beheading business, specialized in what would later be called yellow journalism - libel, calumny, horrible stuff, all while calling himself "the friend of the people." He was a proto-socialist, mad at the world, and drooled about by socialists ever since. He's the one who gave Lenin and Stalin their ideas.
You don't want to use a phrase like that again, especially about some member of the press, after Marat got done with it.
But it's likely he didn't know this, because not that many Americans know much about the French Revolution, which is the origin of all leftism. You'd think he might, but on the other hand, he might have assumed his audience would not.
The bottom line is, it's tasteless to bring up Trump, who had absolutely nothing to do with this terrible crime, the work of a disgruntled reader, and who expressed decent words of condemnation of the act as well as condolences. He said reporters didn't deserve this, a big thing, given his general animosity to the press.
Was that not good enough?
Why bring Trump into it now, given that he hasn't given any fodder for it? It goes to show how steeped these WaPo guys are in politics that they can't even offer words of support and celebration for completely non-political incident without bringing up Trump, at what should have been an event focused solely on the lives of the lost.