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Sunday, November 13, 2016

That Murrow Moment

 -- By Tom Phillips

Last summer, journalists great and small were questioning whether 2016 was a "Murrow Moment"  -- whether they should cast off their  professional neutrality and warn the nation about the dangers of Donald Trump.  The New York Times, after a brief struggle, went all in -- calling out his falsehoods in every news story, while thundering daily denunciations from the editorial and Op-ed pages.

The Huffington Post huffed and posted -- and tagged every story with a disclaimer, complete with otiose adjectives:  "Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist etc etc.."

On election night, Rachel Maddow melted down, blaming his win on the hapless Libertarian candidate who siphoned votes from who knows who?  MSNBC punctuated its coverage with sighs of grief and an audible "Jeez.."

Even the supposed right-wing nuts who led Fox News's coverage were in denial: long after midnight, Shepard Smith was looking grimly away from the handwriting on the wall, murmuring  "it's not over, it's not over."

But it is.   The "Murrow Moment" has come and gone.  Those who tried to turn the tide found the power of the press was zero, or less.