The Trouble With Trump And Press Hostility
He could just notice that the press is a reflection of himself.
Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see another report of President Trump engaging in a hostile verbal exchange of words with members of the press. He says that the press is dishonest. Sure I can see where the press can be less than honest. He says that the press does not treat him fairly. Sure, I can see where that might happen, too. And he says that the press has been hostile to him. Well, yeah. The press is hostile to him.
It’s easy for Trump to see the source of the hostility and paint it bright red for his followers. I know that are people who genuinely admire Donald Trump. They really think he’s doing a great job. They think he’s serving the country rather well. I may disagree with those people, but they are entitled to their views, and I’m not hostile to them. I respect them. I think that they are reasonable people and that they have expressed what they consider to be a sound basis for their opinions. I can see both sides here. I won’t say that they’re wrong. I will say that I disagree with them and that’s enough. I won’t unfriend them or block them on social media just because they support Trump. I believe in civilized political discourse.
But that hostility. Trump is a fountain of hostility. He expects gratitude for his service in the pandemic when it’s plain to see that he downplayed the coronavirus and suggested it was a plot by the Democrats to destroy his chances of re-election. He’s beginning to sound like he’s never been Employee of the Month. He’s never been recognized for outstanding achievement as a CEO. He has not been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yet. He didn’t get a Golden Globe for his surreality show, The Apprentice. He’s like Jim Carrey complaining that he’s still waiting for his Oscar.
So when I think of Trump and his complaints about the hostility that he feels from the press, I am reminded of this clip:
That clip is the source of my first impression of Trump. Bully. Arsehole. Idiot. I’ve been bullied in school and when I see him doing that, well, I can tell you that I’ve been generous in the above description of the man. I will never forget that clip.
And when I see Trump disparage a reporter in a White House press briefing or any encounter with the press, I reflect on this person we call “our President”. When I see him expelling a reporter from a press briefing for asking a question (that’s what reporters do), I see a government official intent on bending a free press to his will. I see a man who is ignorant of the 1st Amendment. I see a man who thinks of himself as royalty who has wondered “What happened to the aristocracy, and wait, why aren’t they protecting me?”
I want to be clear here. I don’t hate Trump. I don’t know him, what he’s like in person, or how he would act alone in a room with me. I don’t know if he’s really just a nice guy, or if he has some deep character flaws. And since he has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, he’s an actor. I sometimes wonder if he ever breaks character. Is the man we see on camera the same man that his family knows and loves?
So it came as no surprise to me that someone at a town hall, hosted by FOX, finally had the courage to ask Trump a simple question:
“President Trump, my husband and I think you, your family and your staff for your great dedication to our country. We pray for you every day,” Ms Perkins said.
“The question I have is about your manner of presentation. Why do you use descriptive words that could be classified as bullying, and why do you not directly answer the questions asked by the press, but instead speak of past successes and generally ramble?
“USA needs you! Please let go of those behaviours that are turning people away from you. Please hold on to your wonderful attributes that make you our great leader and let go of other characteristics that do not serve you.”
That question was reported by the UK Independent in an article titled, “Trump supporter tells president to stop ‘bullying’ and answer questions directly during Fox News town hall”. How refreshing. How nice it is to see someone who admires Trump, actually daring to question him on his behavior. I’m so tired of seeing this blind loyalty to the man. He’s just a man. He’s nobody’s hero. He has frailties just like everyone else. He’s human. He will not save the country without our help.
Just as a side note to anyone who has questioned my support of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, I am not loyal to him. I am loyal to the policies that he promotes. I want better public policy outcomes. You know, so that people aren’t working 30 years only to find that their 401k has been nickeled and dimed to death due to Wall Street after the GOP finally privatizes Social Security. I’m so done with identity politics. I’ve had the trial version and found it wanting.
So if Trump wants to understand better the hostility he has faced from the press and the American people, he only needs to look at how he was elected. He wasn’t elected. He lost the popular vote by 3 million to Hillary Clinton. Now she’s slime, but she still managed a better showing, and Trump still won. How did he win?
Voter purges. Closed polling places in poor neighborhoods with very little notice. People don’t have enough time to vote. Lost ballots. Voter ID laws. Voter intimidation. Inaccurate polling that led people to believe that Hillary was winning. Closet Trumpers. The Electoral College. And on and on. There is even some evidence to suggest that Trump and his allies stole the election in 2016. Just ask the folks who made the movie, “Slay The Dragon”. Or ask investigative reporter, Greg Palast.
And now we’re in a pandemic and we’re not even sure if we’re going to have an election in November. Heck, If I knew that a pandemic was coming to my country, and I was a president who depends on a low turnout to win, I might just sit on that intelligence and wait for 6 weeks. Then after I can see that things got rolling, I’d start to act. And by November, the pandemic is still running strong. Oh, too late. Looks like I won again. Cool.
Of course, the above paragraph is just speculation and insinuation. Trump wouldn’t really do that. Especially when he could plainly see that South Korea jumped on it and nailed a test in 2 weeks. They had it well under control from the start. “If they can do that, I can do better,” right Trump? South Korea saw its apex on March 10th. Where are we? Still looking for the apex.
So I guess I’d have to agree with Trump. The hostility towards him is totally unjustified. Trump is just a man, doing the best that he can. He’s doing the best that he can with what he has. We should be happy with him, right?
For the people I know who believe in and support Trump, I would love to see evidence that Trump is doing good for the country. I’m not trying to disparage you. I’m simply stating a point of view that I’ve not seen that evidence. Not yet. I really don’t see the good in Trump. As Fox Mulder might say, “I want to believe”. So try me. Tell me something good about Trump that contradicts the hostility he’s received.