War on political correctness focus of Freedom Conference speech
August 25, 2017
James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal kicked off the Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs Friday, telling his audience that years of the left-leaning national news media trying to reassert its authority through slanted reporting, coupled with the political rhetoric of then presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, were a major factor in Trump's ability to claim the presidency.
Taranto, who is the editorial features editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, said that in the summer of 2015, he was not a fan of Trump's, but it was Taranto’s drive to have something different to say about Trump that caused him to take a deep look at Trump’s supporters.
"I thought (Trump) was as appalling and ludicrous as everybody else did," Taranto said. “He was vulgar, ignorant about policy and had some questionable morals and business practices."
But the challenge of having to write something five days a week about the Republican frontrunner led Taranto to pursue columns that were "anti-anti-Trump," seeking to pick apart some of the "ludicrous" arguments made against him.
Taranto's thoughts on the political effectiveness of Trump's rhetoric began to crystalize after a conversation with a sophisticated Republican woman in Manhattan with whom Taranto was acquainted. She told Taranto that she was having a difficult time differentiating among the crowded field of Republican hopefuls and was about to settle for the guy "who was willing to fight" Trump.
Taranto said he believes the mainstream media's reaction to Trump's campaign promise, made five days after the Dec. 2., 2015, terrorist attack in San Bernardino, to impose a ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. was emblematic of over-the-top political correctness that had become a key strategy or component of "left-wing domination."
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Taranto said he began thinking through Trump's remarks about a Muslim travel ban and reached the conclusion there was some logic to them.
"It's not unreasonable to be thinking about whether we should use (limits) on immigration to (deter) terrorists," he said. "When I got home (I thought) everyone is going crazy over what a horrible idea this is. Jeb Bush called it ‘unhinged.’ I thought 'huh? Am I wrong about this?' I thought for awhile and decided, 'Naw, I'm probably right.'”
Taranto concluded that Trump was the only Republican candidate “who was willing to challenge, forthrightly, this political correctness of left-wing domination.”
According to Taranto, Trump managed to put his Republican primary opponents in the same politically correct box as the Democrats, including Hilary Clinton, whom he said described Muslims as peaceful, tolerant people, who have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.
Clinton could have qualified her remarks by saying "most Muslims" or "many Muslims,” Taranto observed, but she didn't.
Ultimately, just 60 days before the election, Clinton spoke at a Democratic fundraiser in New York and disparaged Trump supporters by describing half of them as a "basket of deplorables."
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton said. “Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up."
Finally, Taranto suggested Trump's rhetoric may be the cure for years of people consuming unbalanced reporting by the left-leaning media as it tries to reassert its authority.
"Trump is the emetic, the thing that causes you to flush the poison out of your system," he said. "It's messy and throws off your homeostatis for awhile, but maybe it's better than poison."