Letters to the Editor: Trump isn’t breaking rules. He’s exploiting well-known journalistic weaknesses

Trump in Pennsylvania
President Trump in Allentown, Pa., on May 14.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Nicholas Goldberg offers some vital insights into President Trump’s “attack machine.” However, Mr. Goldberg’s assertion that the president “doesn’t play by the rules” may be off-base.

In fact, Trump exploits longtime journalistic practices, or rules, that call for the reliance on official sources and the inclusion of “both sides” of any issue, no matter how outrageous one side may seem.

Moreover, the news media have historically focused on conflict over consensus in their coverage, a preference Trump has surely recognized and, indeed, welcomes.

The president’s tactics, however “shocking” they may seem to some, are given life because he has used journalistic conventions to his advantage, not because he has broken any rules.


James Devitt, Larchmont, N.Y.


To the editor: The proverbial “we” to which Goldberg refers was not fooled in 2016 and won’t be fooled in 2020.

Truth didn’t matter to Trump’s cult-like base in 2016. And many voters already had a predisposed distrust of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, regardless of the hype over her email server.

It wasn’t Trump’s lies that won him the 2016 election; it was his promises. He promised to bring jobs back to America. People outside the blue coastal bubbles needed and wanted to believe him.

Despite those lies and his distasteful character, Trump mostly delivered to those voters, and because of that, he might have been on the way to winning again in 2020. But that was before the pandemic.

The coronavirus has shattered anything good that Trump has accomplished, leaving a burned-out hulk of a lying, sour man with an agenda that has collapsed. Now voters know we need a real leader with substance, integrity and empathy to rebuild our shattered country.

That’s why Trump won’t fool us.


William Goldman, Palos Verdes Estates


To the editor: Goldberg asserts that “covering Trump is like nailing Jell-O to the wall.” Then why cover him, except when he makes actual news?

Trump has told more than 18,000 lies since becoming president, according to the Washington Post. At this point, his lies are hardly news.


Joan Walston, Santa Monica