Thursday, March 08, 2018

Put Trump Tweets On Bottom of Page 17 If Cover Them, You Must

How should the media cover Trump?  He is the president so what he does should be covered.  And Trump has taken great advantage of that rule-of-thumb.  His every tweet is news, the more outrageous the better.

My suggestion:  Set up a "Trump Tweet" section in the back pages (say page 17, though for papers like the Anchorage Daily News, not every every edition has 17 pages.  That just means no Tweet coverage that day..  They'd be there no comment. The section is just so the reader who wants to know, can go there.  And also to maintain a record of his fickleness, his contradictions, and his breaches of decorum and law.

This removal of the tweets from the front page, takes away what I'm sure is one of his goals - to be on the front page every day and to divert attention from the more significant misconduct his administration is committing.  This diminishes his ability to set the daily agenda.

There are lots of tricks we have to learn how to handle a president who disregards decency, truth, and the social norms that make a civil society possible.  In many ways, Trump's tweets have offered a window into what he's really thinking, which I suspect is not radically different from what officials in in previous administrations were thinking - particularly in regard to race, gender, and the economically disadvantaged.  Trump's tweets remind us of the truths about people in power we'd rather not know.

How we get rid of this president, I'm not sure.  Since the Republicans are in the majority in both houses, and since they have this ability to look the other way on his racism and sexism and stupidism, (though apparently not his tariffs), we have to depend on Mueller's investigation.  But what happens when he's got everything ready?  Can he prosecute the president like any other person?  I thought that was why we have impeachment.

This is different from Watergate.  First, Democrats were in charge of the House and Senate.  Second, the House Judiciary Committee did the investigation, not a special prosecutor, as the evidence began to mount, and the tide turned.  But there has been so much evidence of Trump's wrong doings - his pussy grabbing tape, his incitement of racists and sexists, the Trump university scamming of students, all the women who have accused him of sexual abuse, his using the White House for financial gain.  Any one of these would have pulled down past presidents. Will the Republican House ever take an impeachment seriously?

It's one thing for the people who elected Trump to get burned for their stupidity and willful ignorance.  But the rest of us are just as screwed.  Trump's directly or indirectly giving Putin exactly what he wants:  the weakening of the US on the world stage, the deterioration of Western alliances and cooperation.  All of these make it easier for Russia to get away with whatever Putin wants to do on the world stage.

The mid-term election is just a few days less than nine months away.  Long enough to have a baby or do severed damage to the United States.  And since the Republicans are dead set against abortion, we're likely to have to wait the whole nine months before serious action will be taken to get Trump out of the presidency.  Unless Mueller has evidence that is so compelling that 20 Republicans in the House and 10 in the Senate are persuaded to join the Democrats to free us of this malignancy in the White House.

[Yes, this is a departure from my normal posts, but I learned early on blogging that 'neutrality' is not the goal of journalism.  Neutrality in the face of clear cut malfeasance is no different from not intervening to stop an assault.  Trump's presidency is the greatest crisis in my lifetime (and I lived through the civil rights movement, Vietnam, Watergate).  Staying neutral is a political act that supports Trump's vandalism against democracy.]

It's a gray, wet day today.  Maybe that colored this post.

But things will get better.  Be polite and respectful with the people you disagree with.  Acknowledge their pain, their legitimate complaints.  Counter their arguments with facts, but don't make it personal.  

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