July 23, 2018
From the Editor

Say nice things about Trump

My initial concern with Zachary Comeau's cover story "Minimizing casualties" for our Aug. 6 print edition" was it would appear too negative about our president. During our last editorial team meeting before the magazine went to press, Comeau said all the local manufacturers, business organizations and trade experts he interviewed were vehemently against the new federal tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. That makes sense because Central Mass. has zero steel makers and plenty of steel buyers.

I asked Comeau if he could find anyone, like a business professor or an economist, who could say Donald Trump's trade policies might cause some short-term pain but create long-term benefits. Comeau said he tried, but the people he interviewed didn't believe that, saying the policies were detrimental both short- and long-term. Personally, I find the way Trump conducts himself to be shameful, and his policies are mean-spirited and self-serving; but as professional journalists, we need to understand both sides and tell our stories fairly.

In February, Comeau wrote a story about Trump's tax law changes, which was largely complimentary of the president's policies. For his tariffs story, Comeau suggested maybe we include that information or opinions from other stories putting Trump in a better light – like Ayer manufacturer AMSC praising his stance toward China's intellectual property theft. But doing so would have severely altered the point of this issue's story, about the federal tariffs impact on local manufacturers. We can't – and won't, ever – write an aimless, substandard story for the sole purpose of saying nice things about Trump.

We write about the local implications of government policies all the time, whether or not a controversial person is at the center: overtime exemptions, marijuana regulations, the 40B affordable housing law, Obamacare, historic district development restrictions. Just because Trump is the most divisive president of my lifetime doesn't mean we are going to compromise our journalistic integrity in some lame attempt to appease both sides.

Oh, and in the headline of this column I said, "Say nice things about Trump." I really meant, "Don't." He's the President of the United States. Regardless of who sits in that chair, the short- and long-term ramifications of his or her policies and conduct need to be scrutinized to the fullest.

- Brad Kane, editor

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