Columns, Opinion

BERMAN: Investigative journalism is this election’s unsung hero

2016’s presidential election will be regarded in textbooks as the most pivotal election since perhaps the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Not only because of the election of the first female president or the election of the first modern non-politician president, but because it brought to the surface the lack of trust in our institutions.

Trump gained popularity by taking the strongman position: only he can fix a “corrupt system.” This corruption, according to Trump, does not only have to do with career politicians and special interests, but the media as well.

Trump has said, “My opinion of the media, it’s very low. I think the media is, frankly, made up of people in many cases, not in all cases, are not good people.”

Why would a man so obsessed with media attention regard the media in such a poor manner? Because “the media” has exposed Trump as a hypocritical, selfish, sexist, individual. This is not my opinion. This is a fact.

The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New York Post and USA TODAY have all performed crucial investigative reporting that have called Trump out on his, as Joe Biden says, “malarkey.” The three negative characteristics I listed above are factually rooted in investigative reporting on Trump’s fundraiser for veterans, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump not paying “his bills” nor federal income tax and the infamous “pussy-gate.”

Trump’s Fundraiser for Veterans

In the beginning of 2016, Trump held a benefit for veterans’ causes in Iowa. He raised $5.6 million and claimed that his contribution to the grand total was $1 million. However, Trump only donated the $1 million after The Washington Post and other media organizations pressured Trump on who the money was donated to. Only after the Post “made inquiries on Twitter” that sought any organization that received this money Trump did Trump donate $1 million to the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation

According to an investigation by The Washington Post into this foundation, which included examinations of 17 years of tax filings and interviews with more than hundreds of individuals or groups listed as donors or beneficiaries, the Trump Foundation collects and spends money in a very unusual manner.

Trump has not given to his own charity since 2008. He essentially “re-gifts” donations to his foundation to other charities, which often are under the impression that it is Trump’s own money.

In literally the most egotistically, selfish action ever performed on Earth, Trump spent $20,000 of money earmarked for charitable purposes to purchase a six-foot-tall painting of himself.

The Post reported that the IRS fined Trump for donating to a campaign group affiliated with Republican Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi.

Now let’s talk about hypocrisy. According to The New York Post, the man who goes nowhere without a mirror, based on my assumption, gave $100,000 to the Citizens United Foundation, the group that won a Supreme Court case that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.

The Washington Post discovered that the Trump Foundation never obtained the certification that New York requires before charities can solicit money from the public. After the article detailing this came out, Eric Schneiderman, the state attorney general of New York, ordered the Trump Foundation to cease raising money in New York.

Trump apparently doesn’t pay bills nor taxes

USA TODAY plastered its front page on June 9 with the following headline: “Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills.” The subtitle screamed, “Among those who say billionaire didn’t pay: dishwashers, painters, waiters.”

According to USA TODAY, Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades. USA TODAY highlighted the following example in its article:

“During the Atlantic City casino boom in the 1980s, Philadelphia cabinet-builder Edward Friel Jr. landed a $400,000 contract to build the bases for slot machines, registration desks, bars and other cabinets at Harrah’s at Trump Plaza.

“The family cabinetry business, founded in the 1940s by Edward’s father, finished its work in 1984 and submitted its final bill to the general contractor for the Trump Organization, the resort’s builder.

“Edward’s son, Paul, who was the firm’s accountant, still remembers the amount of that bill more than 30 years later: $83,600. The reason: the money never came. ‘That began the demise of the Edward J. Friel Company … which has been around since my grandfather,’ he said.”

Furthermore, according to an investigation by The New York Times, Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns. This means that he could have legally avoided paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years. Trump claimed he was smart for doing this; I say he was selfish.

The “Bromance” of Trump and Billy Bush

The Washington Post obtained footage of Trump and Billy Bush speaking incredibly lewdly about women.

Trump said, “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Trump claimed this was “locker room talk.” I claim it further revealed his sexist nature.

There has been investigative reporting on Clinton as well. The New York Times broke the news in March of 2015 that Clinton had exclusively used a private email account.

These news outlets should be commended for the investigations they performed this election cycle. There is even more investigative reporting I did not have enough room to mention, including Trump University, the Khan family and much more.

The media has revealed who Donald Trump really is. Hopefully, that’s represented in the election of her Tuesday.

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