Three Glimmers Of Hope

To a great degree the press gave us President Donald Trump with its coverage of the 2016 campaign. Since the election it has become the necessary sunlight to disinfect the disease that is his administration. While not isolated to them, three recent incidents have shown that the press is doing so and in the process have drawn a new line in the sand. Let’s explore.

A plethora of journalists, many of them published in America’s three leading newspapers, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have done a great job of bringing Trump’s sins to the public’s attention. The three recent events I want to focus on today all occurred on television. One involved a print journalist, another in my opinion the only real journalist on a right wing media machine and the third works for an editorially left leaning television news organization. (Note: editorially the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal is certainly right leaning but their straight news people are simply that.)

A few Sundays ago Chris Wallace did everything humanly possible to get Presidential Senior Advisor Stephen Miller to answer his question on Fox News Sunday. Jeff Mason of Reuters did the same with President Trump during a press conference following Trump’s meeting with the President of Finland. Last Sunday NBC’s Chuck Todd hammered Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson for not answering a simple and straight forward question on Meet the Press.

Miller, Trump and Johnson all avoided answering direct questions instead filibustering with lies and long debunked conspiracies. This is whataboutism taken to its highest level. Often the media lets them get away with it and that only gets their talking points out. I’m glad to see this coming to a stop. I certainly believe in airing both sides of a disagreement but false equivalency is another thing. It’s the old Daniel Patrick Moynihan line of you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

We have a judicial system that features trials as a method of getting to the truth. Lawyers pride themselves on their skillful questioning of witnesses to get at what they hope is the truth via discrediting the stories with continued and probing questions. Attorneys are not running up against the clock of commercial breaks. Judges, not the questioned, control the courtrooms. Did you ever wonder how often Trump or one of his apologists would simply hear the judge instruct, “The witness will answer the question”?

Trump and his enablers have a finite number of plays they run when the get caught doing wrong. One of them is what I will call the joker defense. Among others Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Representative Jim Jordan are falling back on the Trump was just joking gambit to explain why he openly invited China (with whom he is actively negotiating a trade deal) to interfere in the 2020 election. This was in “response” to a question about Ukrainegate. It strikes me that there should be a natural synergy between our two countries. Both Presidents attained their public notoriety as reality TV stars; Ukraine’s Zelensky is a comedian and Trump is a joke.

The media is the public’s information source. I’m glad to see it is doing its job to make sure the information is accurate and not just that it sells.

Trump will be remembered as an American scallywag, Stephen Miller will simply be forgotten; Senator Johnson you and your fellow Trump sycophants can either be remembered as part of the solution and salvation or be as irrelevant as Miller. Former two-term Senators don’t make for long enduring American history figures.

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