My most loyal reader and commenter of all, my Aunt Donna said it best about POTUS 45, in response to my last column about his committing treason on live television:
“I don’t want to hear or read another word of his. I’m beginning to think he’s suffering from early stage dementia.”
I’m pretty much in the same place on that right now, but obviously that’s a pipe dream for the time being. However, it’s also not uncommon for the obnoxiously ubiquitous to eventually disappear from the public consciousness (remember Tonya Harding? In 1994 she was on TV every second of every day).
Of course, we’re on the total end of the spectrum right now, as the media continues to cover Trump rallies wall to wall, and treats every single @realdonaldtrump tweet as OMG!!! SO HUGE! BREAKING NEWS! STOP EVERYTHING!!!
Well, the time is long past to break the vicious cycle of addiction, and we’re going to go into how and why. It goes without saying that this philosophy should have been implemented in the early 2016, and the only reason we’re in this mess right now is because the mainstream media took the exact opposite approach, but hey, let’s end the sunk costs and just move to trying to salvage what’s left of our democracy; before it’s too late.
Let’s run through the multitude of reasons why the media needs to cease the practice of covering Trump rallies yesterday.
You’re going to get someone seriously hurt, maybe even killed
I say this as a member of the media, and therefore a designated “enemy of the people.” I am currently subhuman garbage at worst, a second class citizen at best to the #MAGA portion of these United States. When I see a Trump or Make America Great Again hat or flag, I basically see a confederate flag, a swastika, Pepe the Frog avatar or that red X that Q Anon uses to self-identify.
All I see is a hate symbol, and one that is overtly hostile to me and my people. Don’t take my word for it though.
MSNBC host Katy Tur shared with her viewers yesterday some of the threatening and vile comments (“I hope you get raped and you get killed”) that she has received. Trump’s inflammatory anti-media rhetoric is the primary fuel to this fire.
Or the case of Jim Acosta last week- please heed his warning! We’re about a year after Charlottesville, when a Trump supporting Nazi (one of the “very fine people” attending that rally) ran over and killed Heather Heyer with his car.
As unbelievably tragic as this was, we kind of also saw it coming when the Ku Klux Klan celebrated the Trump electoral college victory like the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl.
This is making a mockery of the notion of fairness and balance
Whatever happened to the notion of equal time for political candidates? CNN and MSNBC (obviously, we know what side FOX is always on) are taking a side here by giving Trump, the biggest attention whore this country has ever seen, exactly what he wants. They gave more time to him in 2016 than all other candidates, in both parties, combined.
They gave more air time to his empty podium while they waited for him to talk than they did to an overwhelming majority of the other candidates. A significant portion of the electorate can’t discern the difference between negative publicity and basic general publicity, so if they keep covering Trump rallies, nothing more but exercises in stirring up hate and exercising the muscles of fascism, they’re going to ensure victory in 2020.
You’re in an Abusive Relationship that you Keep Enabling
At the very least, the media is like an obsessed woman with a horrifying bad boy complex- “what did he mean there? Why does he send these mixed signals?” “What can we do to get a clearer read on him?”
To put it more bluntly, it’s an abusive co-dependent relationship. Trump needs constant publicity and attention. The primary purpose of his rallies is to feed his fragile ego. He needs the media to cover them. The media need him and the controversy he creates for ratings. They thrive on conflict driven narrative, and a divisive public figure will always provide that.
While that’s grotesque enough in itself, you also have the element of Trump bashing the media constantly, and the media incessantly talking about themselves getting battered by him.
Guess who has the power to end this toxic dynamic?
Yeah, that’s right. Time to raise up, mainstream media.
Stop with the “he’s the President” Defense
Yes, he is the President, and therefore tweets are in fact public statements issued from the office of the President, but here’s the kicker- he doesn’t respect the office like previous POTUSes did. He doesn’t have the dignity, and he, unlike all previous presidents, regularly desecrates the bedrock institutions that are vital to our democracy.
When you cover his erratic and repugnant behavior as you would any other president, you are thereby normalizing it.
It’s a violation of The Simpsons Halloween Special Rule
You can stop this by simply cutting off the oxygen he needs to survive.
Musical Clip from The Simpsons S07E06 – first aired on October 29, 1995. Paul Anka and Lisa Simpsons sing “Just Don’t look” in the first segment of the Helloween Episode”Treehouse of Horror VI” named “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores”!
There Isn’t Any News Value at All; It’s the Same Material
All Trump rallies are nothing but a collection of his greatest misses and over and over and over again:
“the fake news, such horrible people the enemy of he people, the fake news,”
“Hillary’s emails,” “electoral college victory, even though it’s harder for Republicans”
“witch hunt,” “Russia- NO COLLUSION!” “build the wall,” “drain the swamp.”
As Homer Simpson, who literally voted for Obama would say:
What Us Regular Citizens Can Do to Combat It
It’s pretty simple- when you’re watching a news show and they show footage from Trump rallies and do their so-called “analysis” of it, turn the channel. Then tweet at the show’s account, the host’s account and the network’s PR telling them exactly what you did and why.
We’ve Already Seen Our Actions Inspire Results on this Exact Issue
The Newseum, an institution that is supposed to be on our side here as any, was actually selling “Fake News” t-shirts, next to MAGA caps. They even put up “an exhibit” on fake news. However, we spoke up, and said we need to boycott the Newseum, they listened and stop selling this ridiculous merchandise that it’s in horrible taste.
Let’s apply the same pressure to the news business.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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