The fact that Donald Trump’s Georgia RICO trial will almost certainly be broadcast on live TV should scare the living hell out of him.
He won’t be able to control the narrative, and he won’t be able to hide from the bright light of facts.
Currently, Trump can get away with anything he wants on social media and in the press. Depending on the day of the week or the time of day, according to him Joe Biden is either “Sleepy Joe” or “Crooked Joe.”
On the one hand, Trump claims that Biden doesn’t rise from bed before noon and spends little time in the Oval Office. On the other hand, Trump claims Biden is a crime lord who never sleeps — a supervillain looting and pillaging at will, while only owning a modest house in the boondocks of Delaware.
Trump himself never spent much time in the Oval Office. That’s a documented fact. He also lives in multiple homes and has his own private jet — but I digress.
As the summer grinds to a close and we eagerly look forward to weather below triple digits, the presidential campaign season will begin to heat up. And Donald Trump doesn’t want you looking under his hood.
Facing 91 felony charges in four different jurisdictions, Trump currently clings tenaciously to the Republican throne. According to polls that no one questions — but everyone should — he also remains in a dead heat with Biden in the race to claim the White House in 2024. The two biggest questions about all this nonsense remain:
- How can Donald Trump remain so popular when he’s obviously such a grifter?
- Why doesn’t everyone understand that Biden is better than Trump?
But before you consider those two questions, please consider this superseding question: Why does the press continue to report on this nonsense? (People on both the right and the left ask this one, by the way.)
The answer? The human population of this planet is delusional.
Just ask your pets.
Human beings believe we’re the apex predator and at the top of the food chain. But you won’t convince your dog or cat of that. We provide them free food, housing and health care for a lifetime, and we clean up their waste.
I heard my dogs talking the other day — they know they’re really in charge. At any rate, your family pet is doing better than most homeless human beings on the planet.
As always, it is a matter of perspective.
Why does the press keep reporting all the dumbest nonsense about Trump? Perhaps the human population of this planet is delusional.
And perspective is what’s sorely lacking in American politics, as is context. The polls are disturbing not only for what they say, but for the fact that we continue to report on them as if they were gospel. Some of the polls we’ve seen are nothing more than wishful thinking. Who’s paying for them, and how are they being conducted? It turns out, as the New Republic recently reported, that Trump’s former pollster helped cook the books.
Of course we live in a time when our politics have little relationship to reality, and our reality is as cartoonish as it could possibly be. If things were any more warped, we might see dogs and cats on the ballot. The villains seem to have sprung from the pages of cheap graphic novels that make pulp fiction look like Shakespeare. All that’s missing is someone dropping an anvil on someone’s head — even odds that if that happens, Marjorie Taylor Greene will be involved in some fashion.
The Democrats continue to wonder why they can’t get their message out — even as they refuse to put their message out. Meanwhile, on the Republican side far too much oxygen is consumed by reporting on the frivolous lies of Donald J. Trump. Whatever he says, we print — and he never shuts up.
The Biden administration has the best intentions, along with some demonstrable results. But all Donald Trump has to do is lie about his weight during a criminal arraignment and we happily cover that instead of the facts. We fell for it again. Problem is, we keep spouting nonsense and people keep eagerly consuming it. It’s garbage in, garbage out — in an unending cycle of crap of which Trump is the master.
Anderson Cooper, in a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine, discussed the challenges of covering Trump. He said there was a “steep learning curve in figuring out how to deal with a candidate who is completely willing to lie.”
With respect to Cooper, maybe that’s just his problem. He also said there was “only so much you can do about it from a reporting standpoint.” I would say he’s missing the point.
Reporting on Trump’s many criminal indictments warrants our time and dedication. But when we report on how much he claims to weigh, that takes up valuable airtime we could spend on the real crimes — or on better things. I submit that the only learning curve you need to overcome in covering Trump is the one that allows you to identify bullshit when you see it. On that, Cooper may be right — many of us just cannot do it.
Cooper also misses something else. In expressing concern about overly partisan content dominating the media, he adds, “It is easy to look at another time and think it was so much better.” He doesn’t believe in the good old days.
He’s right about that. There was no “golden age” of journalism. Newsrooms were different 50 years ago, and largely populated of white men. But they were also, for the most part, experienced white men. There were also a few experienced women and minorities, but their representation in the newsrooms of yesterday was extremely limited. Today our newsrooms are far more diverse, but we lack the experience that existed half a century ago.
That’s the real problem. So with respect to Anderson Cooper, who is the product of wealth and privilege, I’ll take him and other network reporters more seriously after they spend a few years covering local politics, the statehouse, school board meetings and high school sports.
We spend too much time covering the easiest and most cartoonish of stories, apparently because we don’t even understand that anything better exists. Editors, producers and managers who do know the difference prefer the clickbait that’s easier to digest and is nothing more than fast food for the brain.
Reporters got a rare chance to talk to Biden this weekend. They asked him about Burning Man.
As President Biden stepped out of church in Rehoboth Beach this week, he stopped and, in highly uncharacteristic fashion, took a moment to speak with the traveling press pool. With the war in Ukraine and mounting climate disasters around the world; with economic troubles, a potential impeachment inquiry and the prospect of a government shutdown, what did we ask the president?
“Have you heard the Burning Man news? Any reaction to that?” one reporter asked.
Another reporter asked whether Biden was “homeless” because his house in Delaware is being renovated. Seriously? Burning Man got flooded and the president is homeless even though he lives in . . . wait for it . . . the White House? Riveting stuff.
Biden is often criticized for not speaking to the press. I’m one of those who scream it the loudest. He doesn’t hold press conferences, he’s never visited the Brady Briefing Room and he doesn’t even do chopper-talk like his predecessor, who loved to hold court in a variety of venues. Biden has been an absentee president more than any other I’ve covered since Ronald Reagan — and Reagan was roundly criticized by the press for his refusal to interact with us.
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If the quality of our understanding of what’s really important is as obtuse as it seemed this past weekend, I can understand why Biden doesn’t want to engage with us. It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation, given the “Romper Room” mentality that predominates among the White House press corps.
Still, that’s no excuse. The Democrats moan about all the attention lavished on Trump, yet they never try to compete with his dominance of the news cycle. They don’t get it. We don’t get it. Donald Trump is still getting it and will continue to dominate the news — not just because of his indictments but because he’s a big fat guy who can’t even tell the truth about what it says on the bathroom scale.
Millions of people don’t believe Biden is a good choice for president, and it’s mostly because he doesn’t pound his message into the electorate at anywhere near the frequency that Trump does. Because of that lack of interaction, some people are convinced Biden is senile. If he doesn’t talk to us, the vacuum will be filled with something — and usually that will be misinformation.
Never mind that Biden is only three years older than Trump, is in far better physical shape and isn’t facing 91 felony charges. According to Trump, of course, Biden is a sleepy crime lord who should be in prison.
If Biden is indicted, I’ll cover it. If there’s any real evidence produced against him, I’ll report it. Otherwise, and even if that were to happen, he needs to get in front of the cameras more often.
In the meantime, can we quit falling for Donald Trump’s bullshit? He is indicted. In four different courts! He was impeached — twice! He is a continuing menace to democracy and decency. If you’re going to cover him as a reporter, you need to remember that — and get over the easy clickbait stories about nothing.
Those in my profession need to knuckle down and do real work. As the rebel commander told Luke Skywalker when he was attacking the Death Star, “Stay on target.”
The best way to do that, for everyone, will be to watch Trump’s live-streamed trial in Georgia, when and if that finally happens. It will be a showdown: reality vs. delusion. We can only hope reality wins.
This next year and a half will be the crucible in which the United States is either reborn or dies.
And seeing what Donald Trump and Joe Biden are really all about will be the key.
from Brian Karem on Biden, Trump and America
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