'The Atlantic' Endorses Hillary Clinton & Dismissing It As "Bias" Would Undercut The Startling Nature Of This Election
Today, in a move generally avoided by a magazine whose founding statement calls it "the organ of no party or clique," editors of The Atlantic endorsed Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. Before you decry the death of unbiased journalism and democracy, know that The Atlantic's endorsement was more of an opposition to Clinton's opponent, Republican candidate Donald Trump, than a Clinton love-fest.
This is only the third time since The Atlantic's founding that the publication has endorsed a candidate; the last time was more than 50 years ago. The magazine called its endorsement of Clinton "similar" to its endorsement of Lyndon B. Johnson, which was "focused less on [Johnson's] positive attributes than on the flaws of his opponent, Barry Goldwater," The Atlantic's editors wrote.
The editors make strongly worded statements against Trump, calling him possibly "the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency." The Atlantic also refers to Trump as "a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar." Ouch. At first glance these seem like biased statements from a publication that should be giving readers the facts rather than the opinions of its editors. But the editors aren't just calling Trump a liar based on their own opinions; fact-checkers found that, on average, Trump lies almost four times as much as Clinton. Many of his false statements, such as that he never said that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese, can be easily disproved by merely examining Trump's own Twitter profile.
As for the claims that Trump is "a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist," etc? Well, we live in an age when pretty much everything is documented in some form. Here's a Trump sexism tracker from The Guardian, which compiles some of his more notable demeaning comments toward women from 1990 forward. And to top it off, here's a list of Trump's more racist moments from The Huffington Post. If you want to fact-check any of The Atlantic's other claims about Trump, the internet is at your disposal. Just be sure to use reliable sources.
This election season has been strange for many reasons, but possibly the strangest thing is that a candidate who is consistently called unqualified to serve as president by a majority of people (62 percent in a Washington Post poll, 67 percent in a CNN poll) is still an option on the ballot. This is a climate in which a candidate and his running mate can ignore the people fact-checking them by simply yelling "Wrong!"
Trump is dangerous for America. As The Atlantic points out, Trump "is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal." He is a man who picks late-night fights on Twitter, says women should be punished for having abortions, and has been sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination. Once again, this man will have control over nuclear weapons. In a situation like this, a democratic press absolutely can and should point out that a candidate is unfit for office.
The Atlantic is far from alone in its endorsement of Clinton. Papers such as USA Today have broken non-endorsement policies to urge the public not to vote for Trump. Historically GOP-leaning papers have endorsed the Democratic candidate as well. This list of endorsements includes papers that have never endorsed a Democrat for president, such as The San Diego Union-Tribune. And these papers aren't endorsing Clinton for their own benefits; The Arizona Republic has endured cancelled subscriptions and reportedly even a death threat for its Clinton endorsement, a senior editor told USA Today.
By speaking out against Trump, The Atlantic and other publications showed that their first loyalty is to the people. They publicly expressed how dangerous they believe Trump is for America and democracy at the risk of losing money and readers. If that isn't dedication to the truth, I don't know what is.