Editorial: Trumping the Ban

Donald Trump continues to bite the media hand that has fed him throughout the campaign. He spoke last week about how some debate anchors had been unfair to him and how at least one media outlet had refused to play up their own poll when it showed him with a big lead. But there has hardly been a dearth of reportage on Trump polls or Trump speeches and rallies and tweets and countless appearances on cable news shows.

In almost the same breath, he bragged about holding his lead while having spent virtually nothing on advertising compared to some rivals. It is all that media attention he has gotten, including his attacks on the media, that have allowed him to ride on earned media to that big—and to many, surprising—lead.

But it was the entirely impartial, cable-backed public service outlet C-SPAN that provided some of the most negative assessments of Trump to date. The network aired without comment a remarkable British Parliamentary hearing last week, a debate over whether to ban Trump from Great Britain over his comments about Mexican immigrants being drug addicts and rapists, proposing a ban—yes, temporary, but a ban nonetheless—on Muslims, and more.

They threw every term in the book at the candidate, from xenophobe and racist and buffoon to demagogue and panderer. Pro-ban or anti-, they were almost united in their opprobrium.

We hope the anti-ban forces prevail. As more than one Parliament member pointed out, to ban someone from the country over his comments about banning people from a country seems at cross purposes.

The way to correct someone’s misperceptions or under-factual comments is to show them for what they are and to refute them with better arguments. Conservative MP Victoria Atkins said Trump’s campaign pledges were “bonkers,” but added the country should have enough confidence in its values to allow him to say whatever he wants.