Bret Stephens of the NYTimes says by accepting the resignations of three staff members who erred, CNN is supporting Trump’s rhetoric that (inevitable) errors in journalism are evidence of a conspiracy.
If nothing else, Trump has the bully’s cunning to pick on a target more unpopular than he is. And like a bully, he knows that his mark suffers the additional weakness of being susceptible to moral reproach. Institutions with a conscience have a tendency to be weak. They set standards to which they are bound to fall short, and publicly hold themselves to account. | Preserving — even cultivating — a capacity for shame, they are easily shamed. The shameless, having none, are only too glad to participate in the shaming. | That’s why it was a mistake of CNN to let the three journalists — veteran reporter Thomas Frank and editors Lex Haris and Eric Lichtblau — responsible for the Scaramucci story go. The political success of Trump’s assault on the press depends on his conflation of mistakes with dishonesty, of fallibility with fakery. —The New York Times