A second Trump term ‘poses a threat to the existence of America as we know it,’ says The Atlantic’s top editor

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A second Trump term ‘poses a threat to the existence of America as we know it,’ says The Atlantic’s top editor

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Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, refuses to go gently into that good night time.

“We are able to’t take part within the normalization of Donald Trump,” an impassioned Goldberg informed me by cellphone on Monday. “I refuse to take part within the normalization of Donald Trump.”

Goldberg is among the few main newsroom leaders who has been exceptionally clear-eyed in regards to the perilous storm on the horizon for American democracy. Utilizing plain language, Goldberg and his workforce of writers on the famend journal haven’t shied away from portraying Trump as a vandal of civilized society and an outright menace to the U.S. Structure.

On Monday, The Atlantic published a special edition of its month-to-month journal specializing in what a second Trump time period would seem like. The aptly-titled “If Trump Wins” situation options two dozen articles laying out how the twice-impeached, four-time indicted candidate would shred norms, weaponize authorities, warp the rule of regulation, and degrade democracy.

“I need folks to have the ability to hand this situation to folks… who’re nonetheless not sure in regards to the nature of Trump’s authoritarianism,” Goldberg defined to me.

Whereas the leaders of main American newsrooms would possibly privately imagine Trump will goal to rule as an authoritarian, it’s uncommon to listen to any of them say so aloud — particularly in such frank phrases. However Goldberg is greater than comfy doing so. He factors out that his place shouldn’t be a partisan one. It’s “not about Republicans and Democrats,” he pressured, however “about authoritarians versus pro-democracy People.” And, in his view, not being open with readers about harmful forces on the march would quantity to a dereliction of responsibility.

“I would favor journalists to talk plainly about what they’re seeing,” Goldberg stated. “And I imagine {that a} second Trump time period poses a risk to the existence of America as we all know it.”

It isn’t tough for newsrooms to state that they’re pro-democracy. Most leaders within the Fourth Property don’t have any drawback saying as a lot. The conundrum they face is that, on this darkish time by which we discover ourselves, staking out a vocal pro-democracy stance successfully means being anti-Trump. And most information organizations will not be comfy in that territory, given it may very well be perceived as partisan and switch away audiences.

“This is among the discomforting features of this entire dilemma that folks within the information media face,” Goldberg famous. “Our eyes and ears inform us that Donald Trump fomented an rebel towards the Structure. Proper? We noticed it. We heard it. It occurred. That implies that he positioned himself outdoors the norms of American democratic habits. That’s the reason I’m comfy devoting a complete situation of answering the query of what a second Trump time period would seem like and reaching the conclusion that it might be horrible. Completely horrible.”

Once I requested Goldberg about whether or not being outspoken in regards to the prospect of a second Trump presidency may alienate in any other case persuadable audiences, he argued that self-censorship shouldn’t be the answer. As he put it, “At a sure level, you may’t persuade folks of actuality.”

“All we will do is attempt to current pretty and fully our fact-checked views of Trump and Trumpism and hope that folks learn it and perceive that we try to be truthful with our readers and truthful with ourselves and clear,” Goldberg stated.
“And if some voters in America can’t deal with that, then they’ll’t deal with that. There’s not a lot I can do about it.”

“And that is the dilemma dealing with all journalism establishments,” Goldberg continued. “We’d like to have the ability to communicate to 100% of People. However at a sure level you don’t wish to twist or muffle or downplay sure realities just because reporting these realities offends a section of your viewers.”

Goldberg personally is aware of that being candid and reporting aggressively on Trump can include extreme penalties. After Goldberg reported in September 2020 that Trump had disparaged American servicemembers who had died in conflict as “suckers” and “losers” (one thing former White Home chief of employees John Kelly later confirmed on the record to Jake Tapper), he needed to transfer out of his home over safety considerations for a interval.

However, he warned, a second Trump presidency may very well be even worse for the press. And, for that motive, members of the information media might want to ponder their editorial selections now, given Trump’s already-declared hopes to muzzle critics if he have been to regain energy.

“All of us perceive that Trump thinks of us as enemies of the state, and we perceive that there are penalties for us that include this perception,” Goldberg stated. “There’s an opportunity that he would attempt to one way or the other criminalize reporting in a second time period, and so we have now to sound the alarm about that, together with the extra generalized threats to American democracy. And we have now to sound the alarm now.”

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