On November 15, I made the following comment on the Internet:
The most chilling fact about Trump’s latest overt display of racism and vulgarity? It has already all but disappeared from the media’s attention. As, of course, is the case after all of Trump’s other racist, misogynist, and just plain cruel and slanderous tweets and words. The media’s continuing get-out-of jail pass is contributing to the coarsening and degradation of American society. For most of the media, every day is ground hog day for Trump.
This gross flaw in media coverage is graphically in displayed minute by minute on CNN and MSNBC. Not just Fox, but CNN and MSNBC. Tune in any program today where a network celebrity newsperson presides over a panel of talking heads. See how often Trump’s assault on the black female reporters gets mentioned. And his previous words calling women bimbos or a dog, demeaning John McCain, praising the Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, talking about Hispanic migrants the way Hitler talked about the Jews, etc., etc? Fuhgedaboutit.
But it’s not just the silence. Just about every program will have a Trump talking-head apologist who will deliver a full-throated apologia of Trump—without the slightest reference to any of those words that show him to be an overt racist, xenophobic, misogynist, vulgar bully who wages war on common human decency. Why are the media allowed to get away with this willful blindness toward Trump’s transgressions, hour after hour, day after day?
Why don’t CNN and MSNBC do this: have a collection of Trump’s utterances scrolling on the screen while one of his apologists is talking? Of course, the apologist would be free to discuss any of Trump’s words as they are scrolling by. I nominate Rick Santorum as the test case for this procedure. He has to be the pluperfect example of someone who confuses his sanctimonious hypocrisy with being a good Christian.
The Story Continues
On November 16, Daniel Dale published the following in the Washington Post. Dale is the Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star who fact-checks just about every word Trump writes or speaks:
I felt the headline grossly misstated what the article was all about. Here is what I considered the essence of Dales’ analysis:
- “…with some notable exceptions…I don’t think U.S. media outlets have been persistent enough in fighting a daily battle for truth itself.”
- “…Trump’s serial dishonesty was a central feature of his campaign. But his avalanche of deception was being treated as a sideshow to the real news rather than as the news itself — relegated to reporters’ Twitter feeds rather than featured in the headlines where it belonged.”
With that provocation, I commented:
I had two gut reactions to this article: 1. Exhilaration that a prominent journalist has agreed with my previously stated position on an important issue 2. My disgust at the appalling way the Washington Post treated the article.
Dealing with #2 first: The headline is one of the most misleading headlines ever written. The article is not about Trump telling the same lies all the time. It’s about “his avalanche of deception…being treated as a sideshow to the real news rather than as the news itself — relegated to reporters’ Twitter feeds rather than featured in the headlines where it belonged.” And how this “troubling failure” is “so urgent because Trump is getting worse and worse.”
The media have become enablers of the Trumpist campaign to make lying a way of life.
As to #1: Two days ago I commented on Sherrilyn Ifill’s write-up on Trump’s attacking black women: (What followed was a shortened version of the opening paragraphs of this article). I added:
When was the last time Anderson Cooper or Chuck Todd or Wolfe Blitzer mentioned Trump’s praise of neo-Nazi demonstrators, calling Megyn Kelly a bimbo or Omarosa a dog, insulting a U.S. female Representative’s intelligence, calling a Senator Pocahontas, demeaning McCain’s military service, or using an ethnic slur to insult a federal judge?
CNN and MSNBC’s daily whitewashing of Trump’s record is a disgrace.