In the early 1980s, there was a movie about journalism (a fairly critical one, kind of a backlash to the post-Watergate "All The President's Men" idolatry of newspapers) called "Absence of Malice." There's a line that's long forgotten -- except maybe among the 50,000 or so journalists from my generation who saw it and can still cite this quote 35 years later.

"This is the story," the reporter played by Sally Field says of the investigation that she's working on. "There is no other story."

In 2016, Donald Trump is the story. When I think about the topics I tend to cover here at Attytood -- social justice, a flourishing free press, reducing violence in America -- each would be profoundly affected, to the downside, if Trump becomes America's 45th president, If you care about the country's future, and our aspirations to be an exceptional nation, then there is no other story right now.

And it's creating a moral quandary for a lot of folks -- whether to speak out about Trump, when to speak out, and how. I read a short but fascinating open letter this week from the photojournalist Brandon Stanton, the creator of the hugely popular blog and book entitled "Humans of New York."

He writes in part:

I try my hardest not to be political. I've refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn't want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: 'Maybe the timing is not right.' But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I've come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.

I've watched you retweet racist images. I've watched you retweet racist lies. I've watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I've watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to 'pay the legal fees' of those who commit violence on your behalf. I've watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists' families. I've watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I've watched you compare refugees to 'snakes,' and claim that 'Islam hates us.'

Please read the whole letter (it's not long). I think it sums up the dilemma when it comes to Trump -- and the boundaries -- and limitations -- of objective journalism when it comes to this kind of situation.

Come back tomorrow for a longer discussion on what the mainstream media is doing wrong -- its long-term failure to understand the forces that created Trump, and, more important, what's really behind those forces. (And if you think you already know what I'm going to say about that...you're wrong).

Why come back to this? Because this is the story. There is no other story.