Losers and Suckers Revisited

The Atlantic Editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg reports that, among other derogatory comments, Donald Trump referred to  American’s Armed Services personnel as “losers” and “suckers.”  Employing his trademarked kill-the-messenger attack, our President labels Goldberg’s allegation “a disgraceful situation by a magazine that is a terrible magazine, I don’t read it but I heard about it.  They made it up and probably it’s a couple of people who had been failures in the administration and I couldn’t get rid of them fast enough, but, or it’s just made up  .  .  .”  Who to believe? 

Founded in 1857, James Russell Lowell its first editor, what evolved into today’s The Atlantic numbers half-a-million readers.  Named American Society of Magazine Editors’ 2016 Magazine of the Year, The Atlantic remains an unchallenged standard of journalistic excellence.  Inevitably, radio, televised and print journalists will misconstrue or get the facts wrong.  But to insinuate Jeffrey Goldberg would deliberately concoct a report is outrageous as labeling The Atlantic a “terrible magazine.”

Writing instructor James Frey counsels authors to employ the “Would he or she really?” test. Would a character really speak or behave as I want her or him to?  Would fifty-five year old, Nebraska wheat grower Abner Brown really abandon a wife of thirty years, children and grandchildren to run off with an Exotic Dancer?  Would International Consolidated Coffee heiress Priscilla Vanderwood really become a Methodist Missionary in Darkest Africa?

Would a journalist with over three decades unchallenged veracity, whose accolades include the National Magazine Award and Overseas Press Club’s Joe and Laurie Dine Award, would Jeffery Goldberg really concoct and publish a lie?  Would a man with countless, easily disproved assertions and distortion of fact, who claimed sore feet to dodge military service, who refuses to call John McCain, and by extension all POWs, a “Hero,” who admits lying about the lethality of an impending COVID 19 disaster, would Donald J. Trump really label America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard “losers” and “suckers?”  Is the Pope really Catholic?