A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
“Nothing matters” may be the No. 1 saying of the Trump age. The news cycle is insane, so much is shocking, so little is impactful… At least that’s how it sometimes feels. But it is not true. MSNBC’s Ari Melber pointed this out in an excellent segment last month.
The evidence “shows many things actually do matter, especially facts and carefully exposed facts about the federal government,” Melber said. He shared a long list of instances when reporting led to change in 2018.
There is a brand new example of this, and it comes from Iowa. Last week The New York Times published this story by Trip Gabriel: “Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics.”
In an interview with Gabriel, the GOP congressman sympathized with white supremacists, lamenting that the term “white supremacist” is considered offensive. The story gradually gained attention over several days. Now the party is trying to break with him like never before. On Monday night King was removed from committee assignments. And, as CNN’s story notes here, Rep. Chris Stewart “began calling for King’s resignation” in an interview on Chris Cuomo…
Reaction from inside the NYT
An NYTer points out: “The quote that has led to this uproar was not even the lead King quote in the article. The focus of the piece wasn’t King’s embrace of white identity politics, which we assumed was well known, but about how that ideology fed so directly into Trumpism…”
So why now?
I asked CNN’s SE Cupp, who called King a “cancer on the country” last Friday. She has been clear: King has to go. I asked her, why was this time different? King’s prejudices have been clear for years, why did it break through now?
She texted me: “The generous answer — I think it was easier for some to compartmentalize King as