erik lundegaard

Saturday January 11, 2020

Training-Wheels Trump

This is dead on. It's one of the many ways legit news orgs are failing us and our democracy. I also know that once they get a Democrat back in the White House the press will be all over their ass about the details of their plans to make the lives of Americans better. It‘ll be a smart person trying to do good, and the press will be off to the side with hands on hips and a cynical look in their eyes. But with Trump they just look on helplessly. They straighten their ties and try to parse out what feels legitimate about what he’s saying—what feels presidential—and it's not much, and of course they‘re not paying attention to everything else—all the ways he’s a complete catastrophe, whch is most of the ways. Here's a small thing but a large thing. It's indicative of who Trump is. At a rally the other day, he called out a representative of the U.S. House and misrepresented his stances. Then he insulted his physical appearance. This is how The New York Times dealt with the story—and the only way they dealt with that story. It's the seventh graf of a story headlined: “At First Rally of Election Year, Trump Boasts About Strike on Iranian General” with the subhed: “The president, addressing supporters in Ohio, said that he had killed a ‘bloodthirsty terror’ and slammed Democrats for seeking to restrain his power to make war”:

Mr. Trump also singled out Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, offering a parody version of the congressman supposedly preferring to talk about taking out a terrorist instead of actually doing so. “You little pencil neck,” Mr. Trump then said derisively, as if addressing Mr. Schiff.

Trump constantly does this. He constantly demeans others by insulting their looks, or by inventing mocking nicknames for them, like he's a third-grade bully during recess. It's one of his main characteristics, and obvious as far back as 2015 and 2016, but the legit press barely touches on it. I think they think it's beneath their dignity. It is, but it's the president of the United States saying it, meaning it's a huge, huge story. It should be the headline: Not what the insult is (that just gives it more air), but the fact that he's making the insult. The president of the United States. 

The legit press has to do a better job at this. I hope it's a constant discussion in the offices of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and NPR. 

Posted at 04:11 PM on Saturday January 11, 2020 in category Media  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard