The Huffington Post, which was derided by some political observers when they decided to cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in its entertainment section last July, announced that they are reversing course and will now classify him as being political, following his remarks about Muslims this week. According to Arianna Huffington:
Our decision in July was made because we refused to go along with the idea, based simply on poll numbers, that Trump’s candidacy was actually a serious and good faith effort to present ideas on how best to govern the country. We continue to believe this to be true—and will continue to let it guide our coverage—but much has changed.
Yes, there was certainly no shortage of ugly comments from the beginning, as he kicked off his campaign with outrageous comments about Mexicans. But at first, this over-the-top xenophobia, though disgusting, played as the sour shtick of a washed-up insult comic. Now that Trump, aided by the media, has doubled down on the cruelty and know-nothingness that defined his campaign’s early days, the ‘can you believe he said that?’ novelty has curdled and congealed into something repellent and threatening—laying bare a disturbing aspect of American politics.
We believe that the way we cover the campaign should reflect this shift. And part of that involves never failing to remind our audience who Trump is and what his campaign really represents.
The reversal corrects an editorial decision that made HuffPo a source of ridicule as Trump continued to draw large crowds at campaign events and led virtually every Republican candidate poll since he announced he was running for president, proving that he had far more staying power than Huffington had hoped.