Ryan Grim (Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post) and Danny Shea (Editorial Director, The Huffington Post), have announced that because Donald Trump in their eyes is a sideshow, any news about Trump will be banished from the “Politics” section of HuffPo News to the Entertainment section, A Note About Our Coverage Of Donald Trump’s ‘Campaign’:

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-note-about-our-coverage-of-donald-trumps-campaign_55a8fc9ce4b0896514d0fd66

This was a political decision by the higher-ups at HuffPo to tell the electorate how to view a candidate not as part of the editorial process, but as part of the news process. Because HuffPo News has become a powerful force in news coverage, this will have a ripple effect beyond HuffPo readership.

Here’s how HuffPo it pitching the story on its homepage:

HuffPo Donald Trump Politics Entertainment Homepage

Is this a serious news operation?

Doesn’t appear to be.

Sam Stein, Political Editor and White House Correspondent for HuffPo, defends the decision, asserting it’s only a matter of which “vertical” Trump-related news appears under:

https://twitter.com/samsteinhp/status/622065888829775872

That defense, of course, is complete and utter BS. It is a political decision by HuffPo to impose on readers its view of Trump in the most pernicious way — not as part of an explicit and open editorial process but by corrupting HuffPo’s own news process.

In what universe, other than the liberal media bias, is a candidate currently leading national polls and all but guaranteed to be included in the first debate not a political issue?

You can hate Trump’s campaign, but it’s still politics.

There is some criticism of HuffPo, including this Dylan Byers at Politico:

https://twitter.com/DylanByers/status/622066540058284033

Byers further writes, The art of the grandstand:

A quick fact-check: 1. Huffington Post is taking the bait, because they’re continuing to cover Trump and will continue to benefit from the clicks. 2. Trump’s campaign isn’t a sideshow. He’s leading the field, and is therefore a daily preoccupation for other candidates. (Hours after posting its note, Huffington Post sent an email clarifying that “the impact [Trump is] having on the Republican Party and the immigration debate is itself a real thing,” which it will cover “as substance, but anything that tumbles out of his mouth will land on the Entertainment page.”)

One might conclude that Huffington Post’s announcement amounts to the same Trump-style grandstanding they claim to condemn. On a larger level, they seem to miss the point that all politics is theater. Countless statements have tumbled forth from the mouth of candidates — top-tier and third-tier — that were made precisely to rile up the base, bait an opponent, get free play in the media, etc. The Huffington Post politics team has covered these stories, and will almost surely continue to do so — even when they come from candidates who have a less of a shot at their party’s nomination than Trump.

James Warren writes at Poynter.com, Huffington Post wrong to consign Trump to entertainment section:

This is especially dubious in an era where the nexus of entertainment and politics is often quite obvious and growing.

One need only look at the dramatic fragmentation in media and how the Obama White House is trying to find niche audiences anywhere it can find them.

That means not just going on lots of late-night and soft afternoon talk shows. It means doing garage podcasts and giving “exclusive” interviews to YouTube stars.

You might think Trump is a buffoon. But he may have, for the moment at least, touched some nerve of dissatisfaction, perhaps partial explanation of his decent showing in some early Republican polls.

Something of the sort happened long ago with some guys who were actually professional actors and were similarly disparaged. They, too, could have been journalistically segregated long ago as not meeting some arbitrary test of seriousness and legitimacy.

You do remember Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, don’t you?

HuffPo has its defenders, like New York University media professor Jay Rosen:

https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/622056503734833152

I will agree with Rosen on one point, the HuffPo decision reflects the power of the press:

https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/622068846397124608

HuffPo confirms just about everything we have come to believe about liberal media bias.

Is Bernie Sanders a serious presidential candidate? Is a Socialist less of a clown than Trump?

I’m guessing that more Americans agree with Trump’s border security and immigration views than agree with Bernie’s wealth redistribution and anti-capitalist views. But I’m also guessing that the result is reversed in the HuffPo newsroom, and therein lies the rub. Huffpo’s supposed journalists are imposing their political views via the news operation.

And why stop at Trump, if only subjectively serious candidates get covered in the politics section?

What about Linc Chafee? Or Dennis Kucinich when he was in politics?

Or Alan Grayson’s Senate run. Is there a bigger clown in politics than Alan Grayson?

Legal Insurrection, in response to HuffPo’s decision, has decided that from now on HuffPo News coverage will appear under our “Smug Liberal Journalist Clown Car” vertical.