Major media outlets this week encouraged people to speculate on whether President Trump is a racist and even commissioned artists to convey the idea that he is, but still fell short of generating a consensus that Trump is prejudiced against non-whites.
The effort is nearly a week old now. It began Saturday when Trump was criticized for not immediately singling out neo-Nazis and white supremacists for their role in the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
When Trump finally did identify the groups on Monday, the press said he was too slow. Then a day later, Trump again condemned white supremacists, but also said at a press conference that both the white supremacist protesters and counter-protesters were violent, and that there is blame on "both sides."
By Thursday, major magazines were declaring Trump a racist. Or at least, they were suggesting it with the art on their new covers.
The Economist started it off with a story titled "Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president." It was accompanied by a depiction of Trump shouting into a bullhorn in the shape of a Ku Klux Klan hood.
The New Yorker also took on Trump by revealing its new cover: a depiction of Trump on a sailboat, blowing into the sail that is also shaped like a KKK hood. The cover art is titled, "Blowhard."
The same artist who did the New Yorker cover recently revealed another sketch he did of Trump in 2016, which showed a figure of Trump cutting out images of three KKK hoods.
But the pictures merely suggest Trump is a racist without declaring so in words. An Economist editorial accompanying its cover art even declared the opposite: that Trump is "not a white supremacist."
That angered some who wanted the Economist to go much further.
Jodi Jacobson of Rewire wrote that there is enough proof to declare Trump a racist, and rejected the comments many have made that it's too hard to know what Trump really thinks.
"In my opinion, Mr. Trump has shown us who he is and we have consistently refused to believe him," Jacobson wrote. "By upholding the systems of white supremacy that continue to at best disenfranchise and at worst kill people of color, Trump is in fact aligned with the white supremacist movement."
But few others were ready to go that far, despite the ongoing efforts of reporters to find evidence that Trump is a racist. Or, perhaps, because of those efforts.
A New York Times story published Thursday interviewed several of Trump's black friends to ask if they thought Trump was a racist. But most rejected the idea, including people who worked for him and a biracial woman he dated.
"That was not my experience," Kara Young, Trump's former girlfriend, said when asked if Trump is "personally racist."
Only Al Sharpton got close in that story, and Sharpton this week made a point of not declaring Trump to be a racist.
On MSNBC Monday, branding expert Donny Deutsch said Trump "is a racist." He then pressed Sharpton to agree, accused Sharpton of "dancing around it," and asked if Sharpton could "say he is a racist."
"I don't want to put him on a couch and deal with his psychological personal problems," Sharpton said. "I'm dealing with his public policies."
A frustrated Deutsch then goaded Sharpton on by saying, "you can't say that the president is a racist."
Sharpton replied again, "We're talking about the president and his policies."
That exchange seemed to partly explain the media's own decision to dance around the idea of Trump being a racist, and implying it with pictures instead of declaring it with words.
A CNN story on Thursday tried to get close by saying Trump is now "isolated" because members of the U.S. military, business, and political leaders "condemn racism" — heavily implying that Trump is a racist.
CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday tried the same tactic by rejecting Trump's comment that some in Charlottesville were there to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, and then were joined by neo-Nazis.
"The president of the United States is either blind, or blinded by the white," CNN's Anderson Cooper said.
That kind of hinting at Trump's racism, or "dancing around it" as Deutsch might say, continued into Thursday with a Washington Post cartoon that showed Trump "casting a dark shadow" on the country. At the bottom, the author added, "and out come the torches."