Here are four headlines in four newspapers today:
LA Times: Trump-Kim Jong Un summit fails to produce disarmament plan
New York Times: Trump Sees Shared Path After Meeting Kim
Washington Post: Trump says U.S., North Korea are ‘ready to write a new chapter’
Wall Street Journal: Trump and Kim Begin New Phase of Diplomacy
This reminds me: more people should be reading the LA Times. After years of management depredations it’s not what it used to be, and I feel a little sad when I pick it up from my driveway every morning. It looks a bit like a cancer patient who’s lost a hundred pounds and is barely hanging on.
But—their day-to-day news judgment is the best in the business, something I first noticed during the 2016 presidential campaign. Time after time, they gave stories appropriate play, while the Post and the Journal and the NYT would ignore important stuff and sensationalize trivia. Today we see the same dynamic at work. The LAT straightforwardly describes the most important outcome of the Singapore summit while the other three insist on stenography, repeating nonsensical Trump blather even though he plainly accomplished nothing.
That might change. Maybe yesterday’s summit really will begin a new phase of diplomacy. But it hasn’t yet. So far it’s produced nothing that we haven’t seen half a dozen times before from North Korea. Why act as cheerleaders for Donald Trump’s hype machine instead of soberly telling readers what actually happened and how important it’s actually likely to be? Are they really that afraid of an angry tweet?