Donald Trump has exposed the national media's shallow obsession with the "gaffe," according to an editor for the New York Times magazine.
In a column published on Tuesday, politics editor Charles Homans said the Republican nominee's supposedly controversial declarations throughout the campaign and the ensuing blanket news coverage of them has revealed reporters' preoccupation with an issue most voters don't share an interest in.
"A rational candidate would not deliberately do something that unnecessarily jeopardizes his chances of victory, so it follows that the outburst must have been a mistake — a gaffe," he wrote. "This of course bears little resemblance to how actual voters, pro- or anti-Trump, assess his words. In that sense, Trump really does have more in common with voters than he does with political elites. His inability to apologize or back down has opened the door to a post-gaffe politics, stripping away the convenient fiction of missteps and errors that journalists turn to when they are uncomfortable confronting a statement on its merits."
A "gaffe" is often broadly defined by reporters to be any mistake, as perceived by the media, a candidate makes while campaigning.
For GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, his biggest "gaffe" was believed to be his remark that he would inevitably lose 47 percent of the vote.
Romney effectively acknowledged it was a mistake by thereon campaigning to be president of "100 percent" of Americans.
Trump, however, has not once directly apologized for or walked back any of his comments.
Homans said that it has forced journalists to more directly confront the merits of Trump's statements as opposed to a criticizing them behind a veneer of "reporting."
"Trump has laid bare journalism's contradictions — reporters' desire to be critical of politicians without criticizing anything they stand for — to the point where we have no choice but to examine them," he said. "This may be the least expected outcome of 2016: The most flagrantly dishonest candidate in recent memory is forcing us to have the most honest political discussion we've had in years."