POLITICS
18/01/2018 7:27 AM IST

New York Times Opinion Page To Publish Letters From Trump Supporters

The New York Times announced online Wednesday that the Thursday print edition would feature a number of letters from supporters of President Donald Trump “in the spirit of open debate.”

The newspaper admitted to publishing a number of critical pieces of Trump in the last year and, in an effort to understand those who disagree with its editorial board, will “let Mr. Trump’s supporters make their best case for him.” 

Letters that went online Wednesday highlighted a number of the same issues, including Trump’s tax reform, the U.S. Embassy move in Israel to Jerusalem and the fight against the so-called Islamic State. 

“I’m thrilled with the progress that President Trump has made in defeating ISIS, cutting taxes for middle-class families and making court appointments,” Emily Robertson from Austin, Texas, wrote in her letter. “Thanks to the tax cuts, my husband and I stand to keep a much larger portion of our paychecks.”  

Not many of Trump’s supporters seem to approve of his aggressive, bully-like demeanor, though.

Quite a few of the letters admit that the president’s speeches and tweets are a problem, with one writer calling him a “crude, rude, clueless dude.” Yet there seems to be a consensus among Trump supporters that the last year was defined by more than just social media.

“If it takes putting up with Mr. Trump’s brash ways to see things get done, that is a deal I’m willing to accept,” Jason Peck of Holtsville, New York, wrote in his letter. “To be honest, I’m not sure he would have accomplished what he has so far without being an unrelenting public bully.”

The Times has made an effort in the last year to shed its reputation, deserved or not, for liberal elitism. Giving more voice to Trump fans is only the latest effort to restructure its opinion page. Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist, was brought aboard even though he has controversial opinions on issues such as climate change and the Middle East. 

Other organizations have made similar strides to try to expand their coverage to “Trump country” after misreading the 2016 presidential election. Critics have said many of these articles are lacking in depth and amount to more “drive-by journalism,” as the Columbia Journalism Review wrote last year.