It has been a relief, frankly, to be spared during the past 10 days or so the obsessive coverage of Donald J. Trump that dominated American media for the last four years. We’ve done quite well, thank you, without breathless reporting of nonsensical tweets, wall-to-wall broadcasting of his rallies and penetrating analyses of White House infighting. We don’t even know what Jared and Ivanka have been up to.
This respite will be brief, of course. Once the Senate begins arguments in the trial spawned by Trump’s second impeachment, the headlines will again focus on the 45th President and his actions around January 6. And, no doubt, Maggie Haberman or some other well-sourced observer of the Trump phenomenon will soon give us an inside look at the mood and manners at Mar-a-Lago since January 20. (The most memorable so far: the small plane that flew up and down the beach that day trailing a sign that read: “World’s Worst President!”)
That’s all well and good and as it should be. But I am waiting for the kind of revealing, in-depth reporting of what actually went on during the four-year nightmare known as The Trump Presidency. The best early example is the two-column lead of the January 31 st edition of The New York Times: “As Far-Right Peril Brewed, U.S. Eyed Threat Left.” The subhead explained: “Trump’s insistence on Danger of Antifa Led Federal Officials to Shift Resources.”
Read it and you’ll discover how Trump’s all-out assault on the so-called Radical Left caused boot-licking federal law enforcement officers to look left when the genuine threats were rising on the right. You’ll read how Federal prosecutors and agents felt pressure from the top to uncover a left-wing extremist conspiracy that never materialized. And – no surprise – you’ll learn that Attorney General William P. Barr enthusiastically endorsed the president’s politically inspired attack on the left.
In the coming days and weeks, I expect we’ll read more such shocking inside stories of the behind-the-scene activities of the Trump Administration. The accounts will come out and be confirmed as liberated senior officials and aides feel free to tell us all what really happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The stories may not come as a total surprise, but they are history and they are important.