The media’s first answer is the most obvious: They say they must speak the truth. But calling Trump a racist isn’t fact-based reportage — it is, by its very nature, opinion. It may be correct opinion; that’s arguable. But if the goal is to impute a motive to a politician that he doesn’t openly state, we’re in the realm of speculation. Worse, we’re in the realm of inconsistent speculation: The same media that label Trump racist book racist and anti-Semite Al Sharpton, champion Louis Farrakhan-booster Keith Ellison, and laugh off the radical rhetoric of Black Lives Matter advocates. The media find the courage to call people racist only when they disagree with them politically.
There’s another reason the media are labeling Trump himself racist: This alleviates the requirement to honestly assess his actions and statements. Rather than analyzing whether a given statement is racist, or whether it could be interpreted otherwise, the media simply use Trump’s alleged racism as a skeleton key answering every question. Trump says he wants immigration restrictions? It must be racism. He slams radical Islamic terrorism? Racism. He condemns violence in inner cities? Racism. Each of those statements could more plausibly be read as non-racist, but the charge of racism papers over all shoddy analysis.
Which leads to the third reason the media seem so eager to label Trump a racist: If they label Trump racist, they can pillory anyone who disagrees as a representative of broader American racism.