Why Did The Atlantic Think It Could Get Away With Its Trump Smear? Every Other Media Outlet Did
Jeffrey Goldberg spent the Obama administration serving as a reliable administration sycophant, conducting deep thought interviews with his political messiah, passing along political attacks on Israel, and acting as a good conduit for the messaging machine that underlay the worst administration in American history.
Fast forward to 2020 and The Atlantic is essentially owned by Steve Jobs' widow and the magazine is probably the only remaining serious liberal publication around. But that just meant that Goldberg needed to remind everyone that The Atlantic is on the side of smashing Republicans and dragging Biden into office by the heels.
Cue a stupid story invented by people whose sense of how President Trump speaks comes from Twitter. The truly stupid thing about the war cemetery piece is the lack of basic fact checking, the FOIA from BuzzFeed which established that the visit didn't happen because of the weather, and John Bolton's memoir, the hot copies of which were being passed from hand to hand in the same political and media establishment that thought The Atlantic hit piece was a good idea.
But why bother?
In the post-truth, post-fact, and post-journalism era, the media is just a bunch of anti-Trump campaign ads, rolling out opposition research from anonymous sources and then complaining that Facebook will let Republicans "lie" about Biden in Facebook ads, and demanding that the debates have a fact-checker waiting on hand.
This sort of hypocrisy is absurdly silly and hideously dishonest at the same time.
Even if The Atlantic is forced to pull the claim, which I'm skeptical will happen, forty others will roll forward. There's an entire industry in smears targeting President Trump sourced through publishing and the media that are based on anonymous sources. And why shouldn't The Atlantic join the tawdry party that made the New York Times and the Washington Post into booming profitable publications with tons of digital subscriptions and ad revenue.
In the anti-Liberty Valance era, you always print the legend.