Is The Media Keeping Trump Competitive In The Race: Hillary Shouldn't Blow It By 'Finessing' The Truth

08/12/2016 01:25 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2017
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally at Silver Spurs Arena inside the
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally at Silver Spurs Arena inside the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida on August 11, 2016. / AFP / Gregg Newton (Photo credit should read GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)

So, let's get things straight. In an increasingly rare occurrence, Donald Trump stuck to his script a few days ago unveiling his economic plan. There were no overt insults about Hillary Clinton and, because of that, we should forget his past statements and lies?

CNN commentator Matt Lewis said as much, indicating that if Donald Trump continued like this he would have a good chance of winning.

Even as many noted economists lambasted Trump's plan as likely to continue to increase our debt by around $10 trillion and fact check organizations have shown many of his stated statistics to be untrue, and charges about what Hillary actually said to be false or skewed as to their context.

However, in the unlikely scenario that Donald Trump never said another repellent word about Hillary and simply stuck to conservative policy would that mean Hillary is so undesirable as a presidential candidate that she would suddenly be shunted aside? No one would pay attention to her similarly even tone, backed with years of experience and spouting policies appealing to an increasing number of Americans?

Apart from the impossibility of Trump's conversion to a reasonable presidential candidacy (more about that in a moment) that would presume former sound bites of his "greatest hits," whether about his Republican primary opponents or Barack Obama or Hillary, or his politically incorrect pronouncements about ethnic groups, disparagement of women and those with disabilities, not to mention a fallen serviceman's family, would be forgotten or at least pooh-poohed against a hated Hillary, whether or not she creamed him in the debates in a respectful manner.

This is wishful thinking to the extreme by Fox News types like Sean Hannity, who try to clean up what Trump says, even as he misleads us about Hillary. But even those in the Media with a balanced perspective strive to maintain the race is winnable by Trump in order to keep their ratings high, in spite of what Trump says or does. In spite of the polls. In spite of the continual abandonment or dissociation of his candidacy by many in his party, a fact that cannot be said about Hillary. Indeed, what major Democratic Party figure has denounced her or taken a powder from her campaign?

To the more recent point, after the supposed "new Trump" and his economic speech, he quickly reverted to his uncomfortable and familiar form as many people (using his favorite reference point) were outraged at his North Carolina remarks warning people about Hillary's likely Supreme Court nominees, suggesting 2nd Amendment devotees might do something about Hillary or her appointments.

He said, regarding her appointment of judges if elected, " Nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." Almost everyone criticized him. Paul Ryan said it was "a joke gone bad," even as this supposedly honorable political leader reaffirmed his support of Trump/Pence over Clinton/Kaine. At what point will GOP chieftains reluctantly throw in the towel after not challenging Trump in Cleveland, not attempting to save the party and the country from a candidate who conned so many Republican voters and only yesterday accused Obama and Clinton of having founded ISIS?

And apart from the most generous notion that what Trump meant was 2nd Amendment supporters were a powerful bloc he was rallying to get out the vote against Hillary (while spreading the lie she wanted to get rid of or strongly weaken the 2nd Amendment, which she's never advocated), the strongest indication his intent was benign is belied by the addition of his added shrug "I don't know" at the end of the comment.

If he was sincerely energizing a large voting group to work hard to defeat Hillary, why did it have to be only the 2nd Amendment contingent? Weren't there many people in other factions who wouldn't like her Court nominations affecting abortion, affordable care, the environment, gay marriage, etc? Why not exhort all Americans on his side to prevent the possibility of President Hillary doing so instead of singling out the 2nd Amendment firearm loving bunch, which presumably could be motivated to clean up such a mess? And furthermore, if it was just a legitimate mistake to single out that group for the purpose of registering people to vote, etc., why add "I don't know" to the end of a comment that said, and I'll repeat, "Nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know," if it was obvious he was talking about votes and not murder?

Why, indeed? Maybe because he wanted a shield of ambiguity to "prove" it was not something he advocated.

After all, this is a man who the media has FINALLY started talking about regarding his propensity to use "Many people have said" or "Other people have said" when making charges about someone, which in most cases are untrue. This was the case when he talked about Ted Cruz possibly being ineligible to run for president because he was born in Canada, even though his mother was an American, thus making him a natural born citizen.

David Gergen, a politically moderate CNN commentator who worked in both Reagan and Clinton White Houses, dismissed former Trump Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski, who attempted to defend Trump's usage in countless situations, informing him his excuses were absurd. Gergen asserted that by saying "Many people said," Trump was cleverly getting deniability after damaging charges were debunked. But using his vast audience the injuries are disseminated as he often retells his lies, perhaps as a fan of Joseph Goebbels, who supposedly said "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

So, Trump has only himself to blame for his decline, yet Hillary is not totally unblemished in that, while her sins pale next to Trump, she has sometimes shot herself in the foot with casual comments or denials about charges brought against her, which sometimes are true or at the least indicate she has not done the right thing.

After she regained her lead, her unfortunate careful wording with Chris Wallace of Fox News implying FBI director James Comey essentially confirmed everything she said about her email servers, which was so easily disproved, put a stain on her recovery and boggles the mind. It was similar to when she initially talked about her server a year and a half go, making a joke about wiping the drives and wondering whether they were talking about using a rag.

She should just stick to her long-awaited admission that it was a mistake to have a server at home, she wouldn't do it again, perhaps add that Secretary Colin Powell had used a private email account and reaffirm that there has been no evidence of hacking and thus no damage to national security.

She should have acknowledged Comey strongly admonished a careless process, reminding truthfully he said it didn't appear she lied to the investigators. To blanketly suggest that she'd been cleared by Comey in all senses undercut her credibility and gave her opponents and possibly those on the fence a chance to say, in effect, she's a liar.

Just tell the entire truth, Hillary, admit when things were not always done in the best fashion and you will find that, in particular alongside Trump, you will come out smelling like a rose.

Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com