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As Donald Trump Pushes Conspiracy Theories, Right-Wing Media Gets Its Wish

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And for shit people missed today...


As Donald Trump Pushes Conspiracy Theories, Right-Wing Media Gets Its Wish



WASHINGTON — Ever since talk radio, cable news and the Internet emerged in the 1990s as potent political forces on the right, Republicans have used those media to attack their opponents through a now-familiar two-step.

Political operatives would secretly place damaging information with friendly outlets like The Drudge Report and Fox News and with radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh — and then they would work to get the same information absorbed into the mainstream media.

Candidates themselves would avoid being seen slinging mud, if possible, so as to avoid coming across as undignified or desperate.

Yet by personally broaching topics like Bill Clinton’s marital indiscretions and the conspiracy theories surrounding the suicide of Vincent W. Foster Jr., a Clinton White House aide, Donald J. Trump is again defying the norms of presidential politics and fashioning his own outrageous style — one that has little use for a middleman, let alone usual ideas about dignity.

“They’ve reverse-engineered the way it has always worked because they now have a candidate willing to say it himself,” said Danny Diaz, who was a top aide in Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, speaking with a measure of wonder about the spectacle of the party’s presumptive nominee discussing Mr. Clinton’s sexual escapades.

With Mr. Trump as the Republican standard-bearer, the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides has been obliterated. Fusing what had been two separate but symbiotic forces, Mr. Trump has begun a real-life political science experiment: What happens when a major party’s nominee is more provocateur than politician?

That the Republican Party has embraced someone willing to traffic in the most inflammatory of accusations comes as wish fulfillment for an element of the right that is convinced that the party lost the past two elections because its candidates were unwilling to attack President Obama forcefully enough.

In this telling, in 2008, Senator John McCain should have focused on Mr. Obama’s relationships with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the onetime radical Bill Ayers, and on discredited claims about Mr. Obama’s birthplace and ties to Islam. And Mitt Romney lost four years later because he, too, ignored those issues, as well as other fixations of the conservative news media like the terrorist attack on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Now Republicans have a candidate who, as put Mr. Limbaugh put it on his show on Tuesday, “has gone there.”

“Trump has gone to all of this Clinton conspiracy stuff,” Mr. Limbaugh said. Mr. Trump, he added, was “doing the job the American media and the Republican Party won’t do.”

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