Friday, February 24, 2017

The Danger of Trashing the Media

I find it outrageous that Donald Trump’s outmoded ideas, limited-and-exaggerated use of language, and non-policy-specific plans that, a month in, have done nothing but spew out at top speed so that people hardly know what to address and object to first. But his attack on the media is particularly atrocious, untrue, and a slippery slope to actual  dictatorship. The news – major newspapers, cable news networks (except Fox News and right-wing talk radio, of course), broadcast network news divisions, and A-List Internet news sites – are all fake, they’re all lying? And they are “the enemy of the people?” Really? And Trump’s “going to do something about it.” Really! Besides having the obnoxious Sean Spicer ban half of the major media from news briefings, and shame on him for following his master’s directives, what, exactly, is the chief executive going to do to stop the free American press? Maybe his pal Vladimir can show him how to kill publishers, editors, and reporters, as well as knock sites off the Internet. It’s always so helpful to have friends who can help you rule without dissent, especially by “paid, professional protesters.”

Without question, the media has its problems and its faults. Few people read printed newspapers anymore; hundreds of excellent papers have been forced out of business thanks to a combination of low readership and even lower advertising. The online versions of remaining major papers have their own problems – including the fact that readers want them for free instead of paying minor amounts for subscriptions. From coast to coast, news staffs have been decimated, in print and online, because publishers [say they can’t] afford them. The combined pressure of the 24-hour news cycle and diminished news staffs have seriously compromised the optimum functioning of all forms of news outlets. But they fight like hell and work very hard despite these limitations to tell full, truthful stories. About everything. Including Trump.

All news outlets sometimes make mistakes or bad coverage choices (like CNN’s endless coverage of a missing airplane a while back; they spent months waiting to hear pings). But American journalism is honest and truthful and fact-based. I personally know that for a fact because as a p.r. professional I had a lot of media contact for decades. The media not only deserves the freedom and protection provided by the First Amendment, we the people urgently need the information it provides. We would be screwed without it. The press could do a better job in some ways (hiring back proofreaders would be a good start, since even the best reportage is undermined by typos). But if the American people allow themselves to be convinced that journalism is inherently dishonest, that is going to create even more chaos than the president is already deliberately creating.

Donald Trump is worse than inexperienced, uninformed, and a liar by commission and omission. He’s a bad man. He’s self-serving and will say or do anything to try to deflect any kind of criticism and all reportage about him and his staff/advisors' inappropriate and illegal behavior. He doesn’t want examination/investigation of all his Russia-related dealings. He doesn’t want to explain concrete solutions for the problems he cites, because he doesn’t have any. And since he doesn’t have President Obama to kick around anymore, he had to find a new “enemy” that his base can focus on. He doesn’t care what the rest of us think or feel or believe, because he’s already dismissed us as over-rated (in our numbers) and phony – because protesters are basically mercenaries. So the media was a perfect choice for his political vitriol. It reminds me of Richard Pryor’s great comedic line about talking to his wife about his marital indiscretions: “Who you gonna believe: me or your lyin’ eyes?”

I’m gonna believe my “lyin’ eyes” instead of my demented, dishonest, truly incredible president. I trust the media. I don’t trust him. I don’t believe him. I truly hope the media will soon unearth all the Russia-related dirt that should legitimately impeach and remove Donald Trump. I wish ICE would deport him. He’s a true danger to national security.

No comments: