By Jason Taylor
Like peas and carrots, Donald Trump and Twitter are inseparable. And not in a good way. Trump was back at tweet-storming the media, creating new hashtags for CNN, and letting the world know that he is just being “ MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL” by the continued use of Twitter in order to get his agenda to America. Only problem, not a lot of policy talk, just mostly gossip. All of this on our July the 4th holiday weekend no less, while taking a break from his 33rd day at one of his golf courses since taking office 23 weeks ago.
Many media outlets, including, but not only, CNN and MSNBC, have editorial points-of-view that clearly oppose President Trump. While they will not report something that is demonstrably untrue (“fake news” is generally a misnomer), they slant what they report and how they report it in ways designed to reflect poorly on the President. They also omit or downplay facts that might potentially engender doubt regarding their preferred interpretations of events.
But so what? Trump certainly knew CNN’s and MSNBC’s predispositions before he got elected, so why get upset now? Sure, he was treated with kid gloves by liberal-leaning TV networks during Republican primary season, being asked nary a tough question, but that was not because they liked him. It was because he was expected to be a sure loser in the general election so that giving him free, unfettered airtime was a way to undermine Republican prospects while also boosting ratings. (Fox, not CNN or MSNBC, most challenged Trump prior to his winning the nomination.) With Trump now president, there is no reason to expect liberal outlets to behave any differently than they have.
Moreover, Trump’s attacks against the media are incredibly ineffective. His tweets range from whiny to boorish, and they just make him look foolish. His personal attacks on media personalities are pointless; they make the attacked person look heroic while undermining the presidential bully pulpit. Trump also provides the liberal media with heaps of material with which to work in opposing him; fighting battles that don’t matter, asserting facts that aren’t true, and engaging in behavior that invites ridicule.
Even when the President has a valid point, his message is so imprecise and distractingly offensive that it is worse than ineffectual.
I remember when Republican pundits mocked Obama for requesting some dijon mustard on his hamburger. The very next day, Obama tweeted a profane attack on the looks, competence and overall intelligence of the reporters who took issue with his condiment selection. Oh, wait. No. That never happened, because Obama was a statesman, who understood that he is expected to rise above the fray and represent all Americans with care and grace.
We all know that Trump has some unfortunate issues with his temperament and maturity. He may be too old to learn and change. But what disturbs me even more about this whole story and the many past similar ones is all the people defending and validating his abhorrent behavior. Look at how, speaking of the whole White House power structure, Sarah Huckabee Sanders came out with both guns blazing, not only defending Trump but pushing back at the notion that his behavior is even fair to criticize. Or the far too many politicians who say they do not approve and then turn around to support Trump. We cannot progress until 100% of us agree that this sort of behavior is unacceptable and that there are consequences.
As shocking and un-presidential as Trump’s behavior is, it is also not surprising. He has done this his entire life and is unlikely to change at his age. While I see several in the Republican leadership talking about how inappropriate his tweets are, they ultimately fall short of outright condemnation. That approximately 40% of Americans have no real problem with his behavior is disheartening. I see no end to this. As a country, we are deeply divided and the divide will only grow deeper. I worry for our nation and for our children’s future. We desperately need strong leadership and a vision and I see none on the horizon.
Of all the many atrocious things that Donald Trump has done, probably the most toxic are his unleashing of so much anger and hate. Now it’s OK, in some quarters, to be as vile and nasty as you want and no consequences! Feels good! Even Congress is having trouble maintaining civility now and has to remind themselves to “act nice”. This is beyond a slippery slope — it is now a mudslide, and the recent attack on Mika and Joe is just the latest example of what is practically a daily occurrence. Yes, it’s a distraction from more important things, yes it’s an indication of Trump’s instability and yes, it’s scary as hell since no one seems to know what to do about it.