Ivanka Trump

Donald Trump visits Poland: Looking for religion (and old-school journalism) in the coverage

Donald Trump visits Poland: Looking for religion (and old-school journalism) in the coverage

So, what was that Donald Trump speech in Poland all about?

If you follow social media -- the cutting edge of today's new New Journalism -- you know that it was about the president trying to sneak encoded "dogwhistle" content past media gatekeepers to his supporters on the fringes of the postmodern world.

Consider this tweet by Jamelle Bouie, the top political correspondent at Slate and an analyst for CBS News, that said: "Imagine being a political writer in this moment and being utterly unable to identify clear white nationalist dogwhistles."

Later, he notes: "Like, this s*** is barely subtle."

Here's the opening of the nasty speech passage, from the White House transcript:

Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. (Applause.) If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

Trump talks about all kinds of issues that flow out of that statement, including the rule of law and women's rights. But it's clear -- in social-media land -- that his speech was seen as an outrageous attack on immigrants and the Islamic world.

This is perfectly stated by Peter Beinart at The Atlantic:

The most shocking sentence in Trump’s speech -- perhaps the most shocking sentence in any presidential speech delivered on foreign soil in my lifetime -- was his claim that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” On its face, that’s absurd. ... Trump’s sentence only makes sense as a statement of racial and religious paranoia. The “south” and “east” only threaten the West’s “survival” if you see non-white, non-Christian immigrants as invaders.

But what, you ask, does the basic news coverage say?

To which, in this case, I sadly respond: What does news coverage have to do with this? We are talking about TRUMP in POLAND. You know what that means. We are talking about the hero of the alt-right trying to fan the flames of nationalism in the worst nation in Europe (from the point of view of European elites).

So who cares about old-school news coverage, anymore?

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Yo, New York Times team: How do marriage, motherhood, Judaism affect Ivanka's agenda?

Yo, New York Times team: How do marriage, motherhood, Judaism affect Ivanka's agenda?

So you sit down to read a long New York Times profile of Ivanka Trump that ran with this headline -- "Ivanka Trump Has the President’s Ear. Here’s Her Agenda."

The story has lots of room for details and nuance, while probing the ideas and convictions that shape her "Women who work" worldview and the branding image behind her life as a married mom with three children and a lightning rod last name.

Now, I certainly had an agenda when I read this piece. I was curious to know about the contents of this woman's head and how that affected her views -- as a modern Orthodox Jew -- of marriage and family.

So with that in mind, guess the one subject -- out of the following short list -- that is explored (or even mentioned) in this long profile.

(1) Jewish faith and tradition and its role in her home.

(2) The impact of her marriage to Jared Kushner and her life as a wife and mother.

(3) Her beliefs on religious liberty conflicts in America, including those sure to affect Orthodox Jewish believers.

(4) Her relationship with her father and, in particular, his track record when it comes to sensitivity to the feelings and ambitions of women (other than her).

If you guessed answer (4), then you are a winner and have a great future writing profiles of important Americans for the Times.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Mirror image time again: Trump's people still fighting Little Sisters, religious schools?

Mirror image time again: Trump's people still fighting Little Sisters, religious schools?

So here is a story that is causing lots of traditional religious believers to shake their heads today. They are reacting to headlines, like this one at The Washington Post states: "Trump has yet to signal his approach to Obamacare birth-control mandate."

Once again let me stress that we are talking about head shaking in two different camps of religious conservatives. The best evidence is that they are pretty equal in size, as GetReligion has been noting since last summer (here is yet another hat tip pointing readers to this fine Christianity Today feature).

In one camp are the religious conservatives who enthusiastically embraced Citizen Donald Trump, pretty much from Day 1.

In the other camp are religious conservatives who never endorsed Trump, at any stage of the game, yet felt they had to vote for him in order to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here is what I heard legions of folks in that camp say: "I do not know what Donald Trump will do, but I know what Hillary Clinton will do. I will have to risk voting for him."

So, what were they so concerned about, in terms of what the candidates "will do"?

We are, 99.9 percent of the time, talking about two crucial issues: The U.S. Supreme Court and/or battles over religious liberty. At this point in time -- as the world awaits votes by the newest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court -- most conservatives are pretty pleased with that first issue. But what about that second concern, in light of this overture at the Post?

President Trump had promised religious groups that he would reverse the Obama administration’s requirement that employers provide birth control to their employees under the Affordable Care Act.
But his Justice Department indicated Monday that it’s not yet giving up a fight with religious schools and nonprofits that are suing over the contraception mandate.
The department has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for an additional 60 days to negotiate with East Texas Baptist University and several other religious groups objecting to a requirement to which they are morally opposed.

To which some people, in this case Rod "Benedict Option" Dreher are saying, "WHAT'S THAT?!"

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Glass houses, religious garb, a crucial Middle East sidebar and, of course, Donald Trump

Glass houses, religious garb, a crucial Middle East sidebar and, of course, Donald Trump

Forget the bromides about how wrong it is to make snap judgements about people based solely on their physical appearance. Truth is, we -- by which I mean virtually every last one of us -- put enormous stock in appearances.

To narrow that generalization down some, I'm referring in particular to the world of religion and religious garb.

Spot a woman wearing a Muslim hijab on Main Street U.S.A. -- not to mention a niqab, or face veil -- and, invariably, we conjure thoughts about what this woman believes and how she practices her faith. Individual perspective colors our thoughts, for sure, but the larger point I'm making is that our minds are largely reactive, so react we will.

Which brings me to the following story that's been wending it way through Israeli and American Jewish news outlets. It is, as you haven't guessed, a story about appearances and religious garb. And perhaps, also, the need for endless content in our 24-7 journalistic environment.

President Donald Trump -- despite the claims of critics that, at the least, he's willing to countenance anti-Semitic displays among core supporters -- has several self-identified Orthodox Jews in his entourage.

Most famously, his daughter, Ivanka, a convert to Judaism, and her husband, Jared Kushner, self-identify as Orthodox.

As does Jason Greenblatt, a long-time attorney for Trump's business organization who is now a presidential special envoy. Greenblatt made his first extensive visit to the Middle East on behalf of the president last week, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Whether or not Greenblatt's effort will bear fruit in bringing Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, is undoubtedly the storyline that's most important here.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

The Ivanka/Jared factor: Who's reporting on their clout and the faith connection?

The Ivanka/Jared factor: Who's reporting on their clout and the faith connection?

I was going through my daily collection of emails from the various media on Friday when I noticed something on the Washington Post’s “Daily 202” email blast about the documents President Trump doesn’t want people to see him sign.

Then there was this. Does anyone else sense a religion ghost here, as your GetReligionistas would put it? Read on:

Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared, both top advisers, also tend to be extremely uneasy with the kinds of socially-divisive executive actions that will offend their 30-something liberal socialite friends in Manhattan, whose cocktail parties they want to continue getting invited to. They killed a draft executive order that would have dramatically expanded the rights of people, businesses and organizations of faith to opt out of laws or activities that violate their religion, such as same-sex wedding ceremonies.

We’ve been writing about the often unbalanced news coverage of the Baronelle Stutzmans and the Elaine Huguenins and the Melissa Kleins of this world –- all of them people who’ve declined to assist at weddings of gay clients because of their religious beliefs. A major reason why a lot of folks voted for President Donald Trump was to put an end to such lawsuits. Are all these folks’ hopes going to be washed down the river thanks to Ivanka and Jared?

Why is this duo all that powerful? They've recently been criticized for not stopping Trump's reversal of Obama's transgender bathroom bill.

Let’s back up a bit. There was a lot going on in early February (Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Superbowl, the National Prayer Breakfast) when all this broke. The Nation magazine described the draft executive order here

A New York Times piece then explained how the order got killed:

WASHINGTON -- The two most influential social liberals in President Trump’s inner circle — daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner -- helped kill a proposed executive order that would have scrapped Obama-era L.G.B.T. protections, according to people familiar with the issue…

Please respect our Commenting Policy