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The editor of The Plain Dealer, a major newspaper, publicly criticized Trump, emphasizing the importance of truth in journalism

FILE – Former President Donald Trump speaks after exiting the courtroom for a break at New York Supreme Court, Dec. 7, 2023, in New York. New York State Lawyers urged an appeals court Wednesday, March 20, 2024, not to buy Trump’s claims that he cannot find a way to post a bond fully covering a $454 million civil fraud judgment while he appeals. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

“Biden was never a threat to our democracy. Trump is. He is unique among all American presidents,” wrote the editor of The Plain Dealer

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(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

Chris Quinn, the editor of Cleveland’s hometown paper The Plain Dealer, wrote an open letter to his readers over the weekend and addressed some of their concerns over critical coverage of former President Donald Trump.

Quinn began by noting that he regularly receives letters from readers asking why the paper doesn’t treat Trump the same as any other politician.

“Why don’t our opinion platforms treat Donald Trump and other politicians exactly the same way. Some phrase it differently, asking why we demean the former president’s supporters in describing his behavior as monstrous, insurrectionist and authoritarian,” wrote Quinn, summing up the criticism he receives.

Quinn notes that he feels for the Trump supporters, who “want their local news source to recognize what they see in him.”

However, he goes on to explain that “the north star here is truth. We tell the truth, even when it offends some of the people who pay us for information.”

“The truth is that Donald Trump undermined faith in our elections in his false bid to retain the presidency. He sparked an insurrection intended to overthrow our government and keep himself in power. No president in our history has done worse,” Quinn argued, defending the need for the press to remain highly critical of Trump. He continued:

This is not subjective. We all saw it. Plenty of leaders today try to convince the masses we did not see what we saw, but our eyes don’t deceive. (If leaders began a yearslong campaign today to convince us that the Baltimore bridge did not collapse Tuesday morning, would you ever believe them?) Trust your eyes. Trump on Jan. 6 launched the most serious threat to our system of government since the Civil War. You know that. You saw it.

The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren’t two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don’t get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

As for those who equate Trump and Joe Biden, that’s false equivalency. Biden has done nothing remotely close to the egregious, anti-American acts of Trump. We can debate the success and mindset of our current president, as we have about most presidents in our lifetimes, but Biden was never a threat to our democracy. Trump is. He is unique among all American presidents for his efforts to keep power at any cost.

He concluded by offering a warning rooted in World War II history. Citing a recent New Yorker review of a book chronicling Hitler’s rise to power, Quinn argues that the media must never become complicit in a dictator’s rise to power. “It explains how German leaders – including some in the media — thought they could use Hitler as a means to get power for themselves and were willing to look past his obvious deficiencies to get where they wanted. In tolerating and using Hitler as a means to an end, they helped create the monstrous dictator responsible for millions of deaths,” Quinn wrote, adding:

How are those German leaders different from people in Congress saying the election was stolen or that Jan. 6 was not an insurrection aimed at destroying our government? They know the truth, but they deny it. They see Trump as a means to an end – power for themselves and their “team” – even if it means repeatedly telling lies.

Quinn ends the letter by arguing his newsroom will not back down from telling the truth no matter how many readers it may offend.

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