Wednesday the NY Times published five short stories by top thriller authors. The prompt was: What happens next in the Mueller/Russia investigation? Three of the five stories involved Trump’s impeachment, one featured a Trump sex tape, and one ended with an assassination attempt on the president. Here’s a sample of “How it ends” by author Zoë Sharp:
The Russian waited until they were a few steps past before he drew the gun. He sighted on the center of the president’s back, and squeezed the trigger.
The Makarov misfired.
The Secret Service agent at the president’s shoulder heard the click, spun into a crouch. He registered the scene instantly, drawing his own weapon with razor-edge reflexes.
The Russian tasted failure. He closed his eyes and waited to pay the cost.
It did not come.
He opened his eyes. The Secret Service agent stood before him, presenting his Glock, butt first.
“Here,” the agent said politely. “Use mine. …”
The Daily Caller asked Rep. Steve Scalise, who was nearly killed last summer by a deranged gunman, what he thought about the story. Scalise called it, “irresponsible and offensive.”
“The media needs to take accountability for the role they are playing in promoting dangerous rhetoric and division in this country, particularly against President Trump and his supporters,” Scalise said in a statement to TheDCNF. “The decision by The New York Times to run this piece is irresponsible and offensive, and they should remove it and apologize.”
The DC also asked the NY Times for a comment and got this:
When TheDCNF inquired about Scalise’s statement to The NYT, its spokesperson issued the following response: “This is a bad faith inquiry, part of an attempt to manufacture a story. It’s very clear what this is: a work of fiction, commissioned by editors of the Book Review as part of a package of five stories penned by a range of spy and crime novelists — in the Halloween edition.”
As I said yesterday, I think the author has the right to write assassination stories if she wants and the Times has the right to publish them. But people also have the right to disagree and to point out that this seems questionable, especially someone like Scalise who has actually been the victim of a would-be assassin.
But the media is playing a game here and this NY Times response really highlights it. On the one hand, the media seems shocked that President Trump refuses to take responsibility for his rhetoric and, at least implicitly, for the actions of a bomber who was clearly a fan of his. On the other hand, they want to publish assassination p*rn for their left-wing audience and argue it’s just Halloween entertainment which no one could mistake for an endorsement of real violence.
Either there are crazy people out there whose deranged responses we need to worry about or people should speak freely without couching everything for the sake of the fringe. I tend to think the latter is a better approach but a lot of the media seems to disagree this week. At least they disagree when it comes to Trump.
That’s the irony here. Scalise is saying to the NY Times what a lot of people on the left are saying to Trump this week and the Times’ response is to brush it off as “bad faith.” That’s not all that different from Trump’s response.
In short, these criticisms of me are unfair. You might even say they’re in bad faith. Again, there are lots of stories this morning suggesting Trump is wrong-headed for saying this but only a handful of people seem to think it’s reasonable for the same rules to be applied equally to the other side of the aisle.