Eight plus eight is sixteen. Easy to remember. And it was on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2016, a date that will live in media infamy, that The New York Times’s Jim Rutenberg announced, ostensibly on behalf of The Times but really on behalf of all major media outlets in America, that they were no longer to keep up the pretense—pretty threadbare by then in any case—that they were in the news business. Henceforth they were to be unabashed advocates for a rhetorical holy war against Donald Trump—and, eventually, what was to prove the Trumpist bloc of the American electorate. At the time, this revolutionary turn to advocacy—which was actually a return to a high-tech version of the media environment of the early days of the Republic—seemed an extraordinary...


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