If a Manafort falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
© Getty Images

LAUREL HILL STATE PARK, PA-If a tree falls in the forest here pretty much no one hears it except for the critters that inhabit the lush woodlands that extend east and south in this stretch of the Allegheny Mountains in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The fall of that tree serves as a metaphor for the news that Paul Manafort has resigned his position as Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE's campaign manager, days after he was layered by a new team. Pretty much no one on Main Street puts much more than a passing thought in his fall, except for the press who cover every pitch and turn of the outsider candidate.

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To them the timing is wrong — it takes the shine off of his two well delivered speeches, as well as his visit to flood ravaged Baton Rouge to access the damage. Something, by the way, that President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMeghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' Trump seeks to distance strong economy from Obama policies in White House report The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate MORE has not even addressed, outside of a press release from the White House noting that disaster relief was on its way.

Instead of placing the value of the Manafort resignation where it belonged — the political class began to speculate that the timing would ruin whatever goodwill Trump had begun to accumulate with the two speeches he gave in Wisconsin and North Carolina this week.

“You guys really need to just move on,” said April, a 35 year-old nurse who was spending the weekend with her husband and two children in the mountains. The Lorraine, Ohio resident said she was still unsure where her vote was going, but she was very sure she was tired of how everything is covered by the Washington and New York Press.

“Manafort was hired to do a job, he did what he was hired to do, now he has moved on. It really is not that big of a deal to me. It certainly won’t determine my vote, and it is the last thing that should be used to drive the news,” April said of the notion that Manafort's departure evaporates any good occuring in the past week.

In interview after interview, the sentiment was essentially the same thing: the micro-speculation of everything that the press covers loses the readers/viewers interest and respect, because voters believe that the important issues are not covered, while vanity speculation is elevated to news coverage.

“And it is skewed to appeal to people who think like they (the press) do. I don’t think that is what the press is supposed to do,” said David, a retired firefighter.

There are so many lessons that people should be learning from this election cycle that continue to be ignored. One of the most important ones is the disconnect between all things Washington and any part of the country 15 minutes in any direction outside of a city.

That disconnect from the political class has, in part, fueled the populist movement that has dominated this cycle where supporters of both Trump and Bernie SandersBernie SandersNevada Democratic debate draws record-breaking 19.7 million viewers 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against 'misogynist trope' MORE felt as though their candidates were covered with more scrutiny than Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Roger Stone gets over three years in prison; Brutal night for Bloomberg Poll: Democrats trail Trump in Wisconsin, lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania MORE.

“Both men may be imperfect, but there are serious questions about her honesty and trustworthiness that carry a paper trail,” said April.

While the press mocks Trump's words and actions, and takes a certain amount of glee from his fall in the polls, some people find that arrogance so grating that it actually draws them to Trump, said April.

As OnMessage founder Brad Todd put it so succinctly last Thursday on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily last week, “Voters take Trump seriously but not literally, while reporters take Trump literally but not seriously,” he said.

So while reporters chase the latest small Trump event and forecast it as his doom, or make fun of his efforts to engage African American voters because there were no black supporters in his audience, people like April and David weigh their decision on Trump or Clinton by the actions the candidates have on their lives.

“Hillary has made the point that her presidency is going to be an extension of President Obama’s,” said David. “Well honestly, that concerns me more. I voted for him twice. The first time because I thought it would be good for our country, the second time with reservation because his leadership was lacking,” he said.

“I don’t want the failed policies that stood by as Syria murdered it’s own people, and has not only destroyed that country but has caused Europe to fracture under the pressure of the massive migration of the Syrian people,” he said.

Those are the kinds of things that impact us. That, and the collapse of the healthcare law, and how we have dealt with social unrest and our education system. Not whether Manafort’s departure means that Trump has stepped on his own speech said David.

Despite the wide lead Clinton currently holds in the polls, it would be foolish to suggest that this race isn’t still competitive.

Which is exactly the way it should be covered.  

Salena Zito is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.


 

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill