Citizen Trump in Orlando, the Sequel: So WHO were the evangelicals in the room?

The latest news from the campaign trail:

ORLANDO, Fla. — Off-his-rocker Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday addressed a group of 700 generic evangelical pastors with no first or last names, focusing on his problems in Mormon-dominated Utah and saying more quirky things like winning the election may be "the only way I'm going to get to heaven."

OK, I made up that lede.

But my exaggeration is not so far from the truth of how major mainstream media covered The Donald's speech to pastors in Orlando.

Our own tmatt provided a framework yesterday on how to judge coverage of Trump's Florida appearance:

For a fuller understanding of this post, take just a few minutes and read what tmatt wrote in advance, including this:

One more time: The key, for those who care about evangelical issues, is who actually dares to show up at this Florida rally and others similar to it.
Journalists need to stand outside this rally and talk to people. Take names. Look for the names of major churches and organizations on the name tags. If they have to do this after the fact, by telephone, then they should do that.
Hey reporters: Act like you think this is a serious story, because it is. 

So how'd journalists do in heeding tmatt's advice? Um, insert the crickets.

The top of the Washington Post's story:

ORLANDO — Donald Trump urged evangelical Christians to rally behind him in a speech here Thursday, seeking to ease their concerns about the Republican presidential nominee and proclaiming that sending him to the White House is crucial for the future of their movement.
Trump tried to draw a direct distinction between himself and Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, who would have become the nation’s first Mormon president. Echoing some post-2012 analysis suggesting that Romney’s religion led some evangelicals to stay home, Trump said “religion didn’t get out and vote” for the former governor, “whatever the reason.”

How does the Post characterize the audience? They're described as "leaders of evangelical Christian groups, some of whom have privately expressed skepticism about Mormons" and as "a gathering of influential pastors hosted by the American Renewal Project." 

Specific names mentioned? Just two: the American Renewal Project's David Lane and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Of course, that's two more names than Bloomberg bothered to include. The New York Times also names zero actual pastors. 


So once again we have a familiar media theme: We are obsessed with Trump and the evangelicals. But please don't ask us to sweat the details.

After all, if you've seen one evangelical, you've seen 'em all.  


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