Sherwood's Notebook: Vulgarity and More for 2016 | NBC4 Washington
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Sherwood's Notebook: Vulgarity and More for 2016

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    Where is comedian George Carlin when we need him?

    Well, of course, he died back in 2008.

    His famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine in 1972 was seen at the time as scandalous.

    Well, we’re still not printing those words here, or any of the words Donald Trump was heard using in that vulgarity-strewn video from 2005 that surfaced last week. Go online if you want to read or hear them.

    But, in a new level of coarseness for the media, all the Trump-related vulgarities were printed in full by The New York Times and CNN on their websites. Cable political shows and other outlets aired them unedited in some cases.

    New York Times politics editor Carolyn Ryan explained the decision-making: “It’s a rare thing for us to use this language in our stories, even in quotes, and we discussed it at length. Mr. Trump is the nominee for president of one of our two major parties and the specific language he used was newsworthy and a major part of the story.”

    The Times editor said “to leave out or simply describe [those words] seemed awkward and less than forthright to us, especially given that we would be running a video that showed our readers exactly when was said.”

    Politico also ran the words in total. Even the Wall Street Journal allowed the use of “p——” in a direct quote, but drew a line at the f-word. Across all the media, it was a frenzy of words obliterated or disguised. Truly, it’s a new level in politics. We feel for the parents whose children are trying to do classroom reports on this presidential race.

    ■ Bowser vs. Trump. No one doubts Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser is 100 percent for Hillary Clinton for president.

    So we knew there would be a response after Sunday night’s debate in St. Louis when Trump was asked about African-Americans. Trump doubled down on his view that essentially all African-Americans have been failed by Democrats. He referenced crime and unrest in many communities, leaving out the unrest over police shootings.

    “You look at Charlotte. You look at Baltimore. You look at the evidence that’s taking place in the inner cities — Chicago. You look at Washington, D.C. We have an increase in murder within our cities — the biggest in 45 years. We have a divided nation because of people like [Clinton].”

    Bowser on Monday morning tweeted out a list of facts about our city over the past two years:

    Violent crime down 2 percent.

    Property crime down 9 percent.

    Overall crime down 8 percent.

    Bowser added a few tourism facts (a subtle reference to Trump’s new hotel here):

    Highest hotel occupancy rate in a decade.

    A record 19.3 million domestic visitors, up 4 percent.

    A record $7 billion spent by tourists, up 5.3 percent.

    ■ The Notebook’s take. We were sitting at home when Trump made the “look at Washington, D.C. remark.” We tweeted that yes, we wish people would look at local Washington and see the dramatic changes here over the last 15 years, let alone Bowser’s last two.

    We’re proud to note our tweet was picked up and liked 219 times and had 77 retweets.

    The District’s every misstep or problem is conflated with former Mayor Marion Barry, who died two years ago next month. The city surely has its problems and crooked officials, but this city is far from the depths of years past.

    ■ Virginia GOP turmoil. The national Republican infighting over Trump shows no signs of subsiding. And it just got a little angrier in Virginia. Never mind those Democrats who are working for Hillary Clinton; this is Republicans versus Republicans.

    The national Donald Trump campaign on Monday fired Virginia state co-chair Corey Stewart. You could say Stewart is more pugnacious than Trump himself. He proved it on Monday by holding a protest rally in front of the Capitol Hill offices of the national Republican Party. Stewart is angry that too many Republicans, like Northern Virginia 10th District Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, are running away from Trump.

    Comstock’s campaign told NBC4 that she is focused on serving her constituents and is focused on defeating her Democratic challenger.

    This close to the election, the Trump campaign doesn’t need any more infighting over Trump’s campaign. So it fired Stewart, who also chairs the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

    Stewart was unrepentant, telling NBC4’s Jackie Bensen in a telephone call: “I found out about it through news reports and, frankly, it’s not a big surprise. I stood up to the RNC today. I stood up to the Republican establishment. They threatened to fire me, and they made good on that threat.”

    The Republican Party of Virginia backed the move. “Every day, hundreds of Republicans across Virginia are working hard to elect Donald Trump,” state party chair John Whitbeck in a statement. “We can’t afford any distractions.”

    Virginia this time around is no longer seen as a battleground state. Clinton consistently leads in state polling. Stewart says he believes there are 250,000 voters who still are undecided. But his official role in the campaign is decided. He’s out.

    Stewart is running for governor in the 2017 race next year. More moderate-conservative state Republicans are trying to diminish the hard-right influence of Stewart and others. Whether Trump wins or loses on Nov. 8, the bitterness of the infighting will continue into next year. Who’s happy? All those Virginia Democrats are happy.

    Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.