Hemingway Hits Media for Double Standard Only Questioning Trump’s Fitness to Be POTUS

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As part of a panel discussion of the media’s election coverage on Sunday’s MediaBuzz, Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway chided the media for “going way overboard in just weighing in” on the presidential campaign focusing almost exclusively on Donald Trump’s many stumbles and questioning his mental fitness to be president without looking at Hillary Clinton’s continuous problem with the truth.

Starting off the program, host Howard Kurtz admitted that “Trump has just been hit by a titanic tidal wave of negative coverage” but wondered to Hemingway if she thought it was “justified in part or is it over the top.”

Hemingway prefaced her comments by agreeing that Trump has been knocked over by the coverage but it’s “mostly self-inflicted” before explaining how and where liberal media have gone too far in having “whipped themselves up into a frenzy”:

At the same time, the media have whipped themselves up into a frenzy and they're going way overboard in just weighing in on this campaign and they're losing any semblance of the objectivity as they cover this. It is a major talking point for the Hillary Clinton campaign to present Donald Trump as unhinged and what not. They shouldn’t just be going along that. They should be retaining a little bit of calm.

Former MSNBC host Krystal Ball briefly agreed on the issue that the media hyping the crying baby story at a Trump rally was “silly,” but pointed out that there were some Trump gaffes that, in her mind, didn’t receive enough coverage

I mean, you start with the Gold Star family, right? Then you go on to him seemingly to not realize that Putin had already gone into Crimea, right? So that kind of dangerous ignorance. Then you go into him not being able to name a single female other than his daughter would consider putting in a cabinet and releasing a list of economic advisers that's all white men. I mean, much of this didn’t even get coverage because he had done so many other things out there offensive things[.]

Turning to what was widely predicted to be a traditional post-convention bounce for Hillary Clinton, Hemingway opined that she’s not convinced that “this electorate has shown itself to be totally committed to one candidate or another” so it would be a responsible move by the mainstream media to not treat the presidential election as if it’s completely over with yet.

The 2015 Noel Sheppard Media Blogger of the Year Award recipient later seemed to move away from Trump to Clinton to the displeasure of Kurtz, but her point was still astute in succinctly highlighting one of the more recent double standards in the 2016 election with journalists questioning Trump’s mental capacity to be president but not applying it to Clinton:

[S]peaking to the mental illness issue too, what I don’t like is that it’s applied so unevenly and you have on the other side of the aisle, a candidate who has repeatedly told people — the big takeaway from her FBI — from her scandal with her e-mails is that she didn’t lie Then, she later said that she may have short circuited. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s MediaBuzz on August 7 can be found below.

FNC’s MediaBuzz
August 7, 2016
11:04 p.m. Eastern

HOWARD KURTZ: Mollie, Trump has just been hit by a titanic tidal wave of negative coverage. Is this justified in part or is it over the top? 

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Well, it's certainly true that Donald Trump has had a week of campaigning and that's mostly self-inflicted. At the same time, the media have whipped themselves up into a frenzy and they're going way overboard in just weighing in on this campaign and they're losing any semblance of the objectivity as they cover this. It is a major talking point for the Hillary Clinton campaign to present Donald Trump as unhinged and what not. They shouldn’t just be going along that. They should be retaining a little bit of calm. 

KURTZ: Well, are you saying that the mainstream media are echoing Hillary Clinton’s talking point or that they happen to share the same opinion of the Trump candidacy?

HEMINGWAY: And again, Donald Trump should not be giving them so much ammunition. 

KURTZ: Okay, so, he’s made some mistakes and he’s slipping in the polls and the press likes to bounce on that, but is some of this flat out media bias? 

KRYSTAL BALL: Okay, I mean, some of these stories were silly like the baby story is silly. 

KURTZ: Why? That he threw a baby out of his rally which reporters there say — who were there say wasn’t true.

BALL: But when you look at this week, I made a list and I had trouble fitting on a single sheet of paper and the list of really out there, offensive things that he did that would have tanked the campaign of Mitt Romney. I mean, you start with the Gold Star family, right? Then you go on to him seemingly to not realize that Putin had already gone into Crimea, right? So that kind of dangerous ignorance. Then you go into him not being able to name a single female other than his daughter would consider putting in a cabinet and releasing a list of economic advisers that's all white men. I mean, much of this didn’t even get coverage because he had done so many other things out there offensive things and that's not even mentioning this Washington Post interview that he gave in which he would not endorse Paul Ryan or John McCain and Kelly Ayotte and he’s so consumed with himself that he had the pause five times to stare at his mug on the television screen. I mean, it’s nuts. 

(....)

HEMINGWAY: Well, the problem, again, is just the histrionics of it all. We have just came out of the Democratic convention, there's an understandable bounce there. He’s had some major slip-ups, there's an understandable Hillary bounce there. At the same time, I’m not sure this electorate has shown itself to be totally committed to one candidate or another. Anything could change this race and the way that the media are presenting as if it’s completely over and there's no chance of recovery for Donald Trump. That’s what I’m saying about going too far. They need to just keep — keep their emotions in check. They shouldn’t be surprised this is happening even —

(....)

HEMINGWAY: There’s nothing different about what Donald Trump is doing here and it plays into a lot of what people like about him, running against the Republican establishment is part of his larger goal of running against the establishment in general, but speaking to the mental illness issue too, what I don’t like is that it’s applied so unevenly and you have on the other side of the aisle, a candidate who has repeatedly told people — the big takeaway from her FBI — from her scandal with her e-mails is that she didnt’s lie Then, she later said that she may have short circuited.